Angus cattle in wintertime
Even though the Angus breed is known for its resistance to low temperatures, the animals need special care during winter, both in terms of food, as well as the provision of shelter and hygiene conditions.
In wintertime, only grazing on pastures does not suffice to provide all cattle’s nutritional needs during this season. For this reason, supplementation of protein and minerals is a must, according to the growth stage of the cattle or pregnancy stage.
Winter nutrition needs of Angus Cattle are influenced by:
- age: young cattle require additional calories, protein, energy and more to grow strong and realise a proper weight gain than older cattle do since they have reached their maximum growth potential.
- pregnancy stage of the cows or heifers: the nutritional requirements for them increases significantly in the last three months of pregnancy.
- lactation stage: when they are still nursing calves, cows need nutritional supplements.
Taking into account the above-mentioned factors, it is recommended to schedule calving according to the grass growing season, so that the lactation is increasing, thus ensuring optimal calf development. (March)
This reduces the nutritional need of the herd during the winter since there will not be pregnant cows and heifers during this time of year.
Other Angus cattle care tips for wintertime:
- Supplement nutritionally the fodder by protein and mineral feed to ensure the required energy level at low temperatures.
- Group cattle according to age for winter grazing and remove underweight animals from the rest of herd to supplement their diets
- Provides suitable shelter for small calves (under 3 months)
- Assure cattle’s access to water at all times, using cow-proof water-tank floats
- To help cattle maintain health and body condition during winter, vaccinations should be up to date, parasite populations assessed, and cattle dewormed and deloused, if necessary.
- Provide the feeding area with a rocked pad to allow animals to gather without sinking in the mud. This will keep your animals clean.
- Let cattle free access to an open stall, where they can shelter from snow, rain or strong winds. The animals need to have dry fur so that it properly functions as a thermal insulator.
- Also important is a dry straw bed, where the cattle will be grouped for rest.
- More careful supervision is indicated especially during periods of very low temperatures.
By providing these food and shelter conditions to your Angus cattle, the animals will leave the winter in very good condition, recovery costs will be avoided and the farm will benefit from efficient and profitable management.