Do You Have a Plan for Your Livestock Should Disaster Strike?

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The 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1. Here in Southeastern North Carolina, we have been affected by many tropical storms and hurricanes over the years including Matthew and Florence which caused major flooding in the area. Any disaster, whether it’s a flood, hurricane, tornado or earthquake, can catch you off guard and leave you in danger. It’s important to have a plan in place ahead of severe weather to protect your animals and livestock. Before another disaster strikes, livestock farmers should take several steps to be prepared.

These steps include:

  • Establish an Emergency Plan
  • Secure equipment: place large equipment in covered area or tie down
  • Clear debris from drainage ditches
  • Remove dead or damaged trees
  • Keep livestock barns, gates and fencing in good repair
  • Prepare farm vehicles and machinery: gasoline and oil
  • Take farm inventory of livestock and equipment
  • Regularly review insurance polices
  • Secure animals: move to secure pastures or higher locations. Never leave livestock in closed barn.
  • Make sure your animals are current on all vaccinations.
  • Purchase additional feed, hay and water supplies several days before a hurricane. These items might not be available after the storm.
  • Stock up on basic veterinary supplies and have restraint equipment for restraining injured animals that need veterinary assistance.
  • Livestock identification: Permanent is best
  • Livestock Emergency Kits

How best to protect your livestock and farm animals in extreme weather will depend on the size of your herds, what type of animals you have and how extreme the weather actually gets.

Providing the basics – food, water, and shelter will go a long way to keeping them safe. Do not put yourself at risk by checking on livestock during an emergency, but check on them immediately after the storm or disaster has passed. However, you should be prepared for the worst. If animals are injured, be ready to render first aid. Most owners can deal with minor injuries. If animals are more severely injured call your veterinarian. Young animals are more susceptible to stress than older animals and may need more care.

With the right preparation you can protect your livestock from injury should a disaster occur.

For more information, please contact James Hartsfield, Extension Area Small Farm Agent, at 910-592-7161, by e-mail at James_Hartsfield@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

Hurricane in the sky