Create a Hurricane Plan for Your Cattle

Any true Florida farmer knows the dangers of hurricane season. Did you know that livestock losses can account for millions of dollars in damage each year due to hurricanes? When hurricanes hit, humans aren’t the only ones they affect. Our animals, especially cattle, are also at risk. 

That’s why it’s so important to have a solid plan to protect your cattle when a storm is headed your way.

  • Create a Safe Shelter
    Make sure your structures are stable and can withstand high winds. If you don’t have a permanent shelter, temporary options like portable livestock panels can be useful in creating a safe space.
  • Stock Up on Supplies
    You’ll also need to prepare enough supplies for both you and your cattle to last at least a week. Stock up on hay, grain, and any special feed your cattle might need. Make sure you have enough water stored, as hurricanes can contaminate water sources. It’s also a good idea to have a basic first aid kit on hand for any injuries that might occur.
  • Reinforce Fences and Gates
    Fences and gates can get damaged during a hurricane, potentially allowing cattle to escape and become lost or injured. Inspect your fencing and gates in advance and reinforce any weak spots. Electric fences should be turned off during the storm to prevent accidents.
  • Plan for Evacuation
    Have an evacuation plan ready, including a list of places you can take your cattle if necessary. Make sure you have transportation arranged, whether that’s a livestock trailer or another means of moving your cattle. Practice loading and unloading your cattle to ensure they’re comfortable with the process.
  • Plan for Leaving Livestock Behind
    Sometimes, evacuating your cattle isn’t an option. Move them to higher ground if possible, but avoid low-lying areas prone to flooding. Remove any debris or equipment they might trip over.
  • Identification
    Use waterproof tags with your contact details and place them on your cattle. If you want to be extra cautious, consider microchipping them. This way, if they get lost during the storm, they’ll have a better chance of being returned to you.

Don’t forget to keep a list of emergency contacts, including your vet, local animal shelters, and Extension offices. 

Hurricanes are unpredictable, but your preparedness doesn’t have to be. 

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