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cows huddled

Dealing with the Florida “Cold”

Though freezing weather isn’t a common occurrence here, it does happen. Here are a few tips on dealing with livestock in colder weather.

At the onset of cooler weather, animals feel more frisky and energetic. If riding a horse, be prepared that they may feel the need to kick up their heels some. Try riding them in a pen first to get it out of their system. Also, cattle may be more difficult to handle as they will want to run more.

In the event of some frozen water troughs, you could try the internet favorite – the salt water jug. Before temps drop low enough to freeze your water troughs, fill a jug or bottle 2/3 the way with a salt water solution. The theory is that the salt water solution will not freeze, unless in extreme cold. The jug should float around preventing some ice formation. If it still freezes over, the jug can be dunked or removed allowing livestock access to water, or an easier access point for you to begin breaking ice.

With a freeze, many warm season pasture grasses will die. Because of this dead foliage, it is an excellent opportunity to burn pastures. Burning pastures is a good way to quickly recycle dead growth into available nutrients. Timing is an important part of burning pastures, too soon and early growing weeds will take advantage, while too late could damage growing forage. Contact your local Florida Forest Service office for more information on the permits required to burn pastures.

Most livestock are completely equipped to handle the cold temperatures we have here in Florida. Their hides are thicker and produce more insulating hair during this time. And, if necessary, they will huddle together and stay warm throughout the night. Some short haired dogs living outside by themselves may enjoy some protection from the wind.