HobbyFarms.com


Your E-mail:
Hobby Farms - Current Issue
Hobby Farm Home Magazine
Urban Farm Magazine

Printer Friendly

Prepare Livestock for Hurricanes

Set your plan now for disaster preparedness and emergency livestock evacuation to keep you and your livestock safe this hurricane season.

By Rachael Brugger, Associate Web Editor

June 25, 2010

Hurricane-displaced cow
Courtesy FEMA/ Jocelyn Augustino
This Texas cow was displaced by the 2008 Hurricane Ike. To ensure the safety of your livestock during hurricane season, assemble a disaster-preparedness kit.

There's a good chance hurricanes will hit hard during the 2010 hurricane season, which lasts June through November, according to predictions made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Farmers living in the North Atlantic and around the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico should already have livestock disaster preparedness procedures in place in case a hurricane strikes. If not, now is the time to do so.

Lack of emergency and evacuation plans and lack of livestock identification are two of the most commonly handled problems when it comes to livestock disaster preparedness, says Joe Paschal, a livestock specialist at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Making emergency decisions ahead of time will ease the transition when a hurricane reaches land.

“Decide which animals you can take or have shipped out of the danger area and which will remain, how they will be left and who will care for them,” he says.

Livestock Evacuation 
Some livestock owners will decide to pack horses or show livestock in a trailer to hit the road if the need to evacuate should arise. In this case, livestock should be familiarized with their mode of transportation and should be halter-broken before the hurricane hits, says Kristi Henderson, DVM, assistant director of scientific activities with the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“Expecting livestock to easily load onto a trailer if they have never done so may be delusional, even under the best scenarios in some cases,” she says. “Waiting until disaster conditions to introduce animals to a trailer may result in safety risks to animals as well as the owners, thus worsening an already bad situation.”

Staying Put During Hurricanes
Other livestock owners have no choice but to leave their livestock on the farm to ride out the hurricane. Paschal recommends keeping smaller animals such as poultry, pigs and rabbits in a sturdy barn or garage while putting larger livestock in a large pasture with protection from wind, rising water and debris.

“I realize that it seems heartless to put horses, livestock and exotic animals out into the wind and rain, but if they have a wind block (brush or tree line) and are on high ground free of overhead lines, they will have room to move to avoid most wind-blown debris,” Paschal says.

Disaster Preparation Essentials
Regardless of how you proceed with your livestock, make sure all animals have updated vaccinations, including those needed for the evacuation location, and are properly identified. An external visible form of identification, such as a brand, ear tag or tattoo, is ideal, says Paschal, but microchips or ear and lip tattoos will also help.

“[These] will all aid animal rescuers to reunite your animals with you, and in a worse-case scenario, provide you with closure and perhaps indemnification if they are dead,” he says. 

Also assemble a livestock disaster-preparedness kit and place it in a water-tight container in an easy-to-access location. Paschal recommends using a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a top. Inside, keep your name, contact information, numbers and descriptions of your livestock remaining on the farm, medical information and the location of your feed and water supplies.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has a complete list of items to include in your livestock disaster-preparedness kit specific to the types of animals on your farm. 

Finally, make sure the entire family knows how to carry out the disaster plan, Henderson cautions. “This is vital to help ensure the most efficient use of time and resources a family spends on the many steps needed to protect their animals and themselves during and after a disaster.”

 

 Give us your opinion on
Prepare Livestock for Hurricanes

Submit a Comment
Reader Comments
Interesting
R, Knight, NC
Posted: 10/6/2012 12:36:41 AM
Interesting article
Amy, Sophia, NC
Posted: 12/29/2010 10:33:32 AM
We don't have to worry about hurricanes here,just earthquakes,fires etc. So, I have a 72 hour emergency kit packed for all the pets and horses. The dogs are in their own back packs complete with food, water and extra leashes and collars.I have also made a kit up for each horse with extra halters,leads and emergency meds with a first aid kit on wheels.Don't forget your own 72 hr kit.
Barbara, Highland, UT
Posted: 7/26/2010 12:51:55 PM
Awesome. I'm moving to a hurricane zone. This may well prove to be a great read for me : )
John, Scottsdale, AZ
Posted: 7/5/2010 2:12:54 PM
View Current Comments

Name:
Address:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email:

Product Spotlight
>
Hobby Farm Rewards 
Member Login »

facebook


Information on over 200 horse breeds