Extreme cold

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Source: National Farm Animal Care Council, Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle Section 1.1.2

Although cattle can generally tolerate colder temperatures if acclimatized, wet cattle (especially newborn calves), cattle in poor body condition, and cattle fed inadequate energy are less able to cope with cold temperatures (3). Cattle require additional feed resources during cold weather (8).

Signs that cattle are not coping well with extreme cold (hypothermia) include:

  • shivering (cattle may stop shivering if hypothermia worsens)
  • low core body temperature (less than 35 °C or 96 °F)
  • cold mouth
  • inability to get up
  • no suckling reflex (in calves)
  • frostbite (especially newborn calves).

REQUIREMENTS

Provide additional feed to meet animals’ increased energy requirements when facing cold stress.

RECOMMENDED PRACTICES

  1. provide bedding to insulate against bare ground and to reduce mud and manure build-up on hides, which can increase heat loss (3).

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