Areas of Alberta, especially in the north, are contending with deep snow. This is posing an additional challenge for livestock owners, says Alberta Veterinary Medical Association registrar Duane Landals.
It becomes a problem for producers who rely on swath grazing or bank grass and pasture grazing for their horses or cattle throughout the winter. The amount of snow in these areas makes it impossible for that feed to be available and Landals advises producers to pay close attention to their livestock to make sure there is enough feed to replace the natural pastures.
“The cold snap and large amounts of snow makes it really difficult to know how your horse is doing unless you get a hold of it and feel its ribs. They look nice and round and they’ll have big furry hair coats but they might be doing not as well as you think. Even though people might not know how to body condition score, they certainly can get a sense of how well their animals are doing by checking their ribs and feel the bones along the back,” says Landals.
He says snow plowing may be the only answer for some.
“It’s going to become much more difficult to take feed from the stack and get it to the livestock. Smaller tractors or small equipment can’t do the job so it might be important for people to consider contingency plans to ensure that enough feed can be put out for livestock.”