Livestock appreciate shelter from bad weather
- Livestock can usually cope fairly well with either rain or wind or cold temperatures.
- When two or more of these conditions occur together, livestock can quickly become chilled.
- If they get so cold that they shiver, their requirement for feed increases hugely, and if they don’t get extra feed they soon lose weight.
What livestock need shelter most?
- The animals that really need shelter are the old and the young, the newly-shorn and the fine-skinned, those in thin body condition and those that are not well.
- This is true whatever the species - horses, ponies, cattle, sheep, deer, goats or alpacas.
- Goats are particularly susceptible to cold because they have little fat under the skin and their coat is not waterproof.
- Tethered goats should always have access to a weatherproof shelter with solid roof and walls.
- Goats are not the tough hardy creatures many people take them for!
- View our range of Goat Paddock Shelters
- Horses need shelter from cold wet windy weather.
- Horses usually appreciate a cover in winter, especially thoroughbred types.
- Covers should be waterproof and fitted correctly so that they don’t chafe.
- The horse’s skin and body condition under the cover should be checked frequently.
- View our range of Relocatable Horse Shelters Click Here
Newborns need shelter
- Newborn animals are very vulnerable to bad weather.
- Rain, wind and cold temperatures together make a lethal combination.
- Providing pregnant livestock with good shelter around the time of birth is like taking out an insurance policy.
- With effective shelter, the odds of the newborns surviving are improved hugely.
- Relatively small newborn animals (eg twins, triplets) are especially vulnerable to cold conditions.
- It is very important that ewes, cows and does that are likely to have two or more offspring have plenty of feed and good shelter as their due date approaches.
- Lamb covers can provide useful protection from wet windy weather.
Shorn sheep need shelter
- Newly-shorn sheep need good feed for at least 6 weeks after shearing, and in bad weather they need shelter.
- Shearing with blades can help prevent cold stress, because it leaves a short length of wool to provide some insulation.
Shade in summer too!
- Another benefit of Livestock Shelters or trees in and around paddocks is that they can offer stock shade from the sun.
- Shade can provide welcome relief when it is hot.
- Shade also helps prevent skin damage when there is a risk of facial eczema
- Wind shelter evergreen belts are best oriented north-south. Deciduous should be east-west for best summer shade.
Paddock Shelter Buildings
- Because an effective shelter belt of trees and shrubs takes years to establish, you can put up temporary shelter, especially in paddocks where there are very young animals or newly shorn animals.
- Outpost Livestock Shelters or larger Horse Shelters are relocatable so you can move them around your paddock
- Position your Outpost Paddock Shelter so its back wall is protecting your animals from the prevailing wind.
- View our range of Livestock Shelters Click Here
Shelter - when and what to plant?
- Winter is a good time to plant trees and shrubs to provide effective shelter and shade for years to come.
- There are many types of shelter plants to choose from like flax or native bush, or conifers like macrocarpa and pine.
- You might like fast-growing species like gum trees, or species that can be harvested for firewood.
- You may need both dense low shrubs and trees to provide long-term shelter at stock level, and taller trees to slow the wind.
- Fallen branches from macrocarpa trees have been associated with abortion in cows that browsed on the foliage.
Ineffective shelter belts
- Many so-called shelter belts are ‘dysfunctional’.
- They often have so many gaps at stock level that they are not effective windbreaks.
- They might be sited on poorly drained ground so that the lee side becomes muddy with use.
- Short belts may be ineffective, and shelter may need to be continuous on at least two sides of the paddock.
- You will need to fence both sides of the trees.