Keeping Cattle Safe During Thunder Storms
Cattle in a thunder storm are in a very vulnerable position. In many cases, they may be the tallest point in a field, which puts them at risk of lightning strikes. In addition, thunder can scare cattle, causing panic and, potentially, even injuries.
While many smaller animals will seek shelter in a storm, cattle might not always do so. Worse, cattle may sometimes try to seek shelter under a tree, one of the most dangerous spots during a thunder and lightning storm.
What to Do With Cattle During a Thunder Storm
There are several ways to keep your cattle safe, even during storms:
1) Know the weather.
Find out when thunder storms are most likely in your region. For much of the country, they are most common in the spring and summer. Make sure you follow weather forecasts and set up an automatic alert system on your mobile device or computer so you'll be alerted in case a thunder storm system moves into your area or a weather advisory is issued.
2) Create a three-sided shelter and install a lightning rod on your property.
A lightning rod can reduce the risk of lightning striking cattle or a building directly. A three-sided shelter gives cattle a better alternative for safety and keeps them protected and dry in a storm. With a good shelter, cattle may in fact be safer outdoors than they would be inside.
3) Keep your pasture and barnyards clear.
Remove debris, especially metal debris, on a regular basis. Not only can it attract lightning, but any debris can also become airborne in heavy winds and can pose a risk to any cattle nearby.
4) Ensure good drainage and elevation.
Ideally, keep cattle on higher ground, so there's less danger of flash flooding during a storm. In addition, ensure proper drainage on pastures and fields where cattle graze, since waterlogged grasses and areas can cause additional dangers and illnesses, including hoof problems and infections.
If you cannot offer your cattle higher ground, build mounds so cattle can instinctively move higher when floods threaten.
5) Anticipate possible dangers after a thunder storm.
Have plenty of food and veterinary supplies on hand in case cattle are injured during a storm. Be prepared to cut off electricity if needed and take measure to protect your herd's water supply. During a storm, contamination can seep in due to pesticides and other hazards.
Since 1988, ArrowQuip has been providing livestock handling solutions and products. We're proud to offer portable handling systems, squeeze chutes, and other systems. Contact us if you'd like to stock up before a storm so you can transport your cattle to safety if needed.