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Cold temperatures brutal for humans and livestock

Last Updated Feb 10, 2021 at 4:08 pm MDT

Cattle look out from a pen at the Thorlakson Feedyards near Airdrie, Alta., Thursday, May 28, 2020, amid a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY (660NEWS) — The frigid temperatures are keeping farmers busy as they work to care for their livestock.

Alberta Farm Animal Care’s (AFAC) Dr. Melissa Moggy recommends making sure they have bedding, access to clean water, lots of feed and shelter.

She says it is also important for farmers to watch for signs of cold stress.

“If possible, you can take a body temperature and if their temperature is low, we know that they’re going through cold stress. If we touch their skin and it’s cold that is a sign, another thing we can do is usually with calves is you can put your hands in their mouth, and it should be warm. And if it’s cold, then it’s most likely cold stress,” Moggy said.

While cattle are climatized to the weather, they still need extra care when it gets this cold.

Dr. Moggy says they require shelter whether it is a snow fence, trees or a structure.

“If the animals don’t have access to clean, available water they’re not going to eat. It is directly related to their food intake, and we again need to keep supporting that increase metabolic rate to keep their temperatures up,” she said.

Cattle in this region are well-conditioned for the weather as they grow an extra winter coat during the colder months.

Farmers with questions about cold stress and livestock welfare can call AFAC’s ALERT Line.