If you own or work on a farm, you know that the changing seasons can have a very significant impact on your day-to-day life. Fall can be a pretty busy time of year, what with ordering winter supplies, breeding schedules, and all of the other endless chores. Another thing to add to your to-do list? Checking on your older animals. Read on as a local Westminster, MD vet offers some tips on autumn care for senior farm animals.
Although not all farm animals get to live their full natural lifespans, many make it well into their golden years. Aging cows, donkeys, pigs, horses, and other animals can develop many of the same health issues as older people. Arthritis is a common one. Adding extra bedding can go a long way towards keeping your senior buddies comfortable. Make sure there is proper traction on slippery surfaces. Adding extra sawdust can reduce the chances of dangerous slips and falls. This is also a good time to schedule hoof trims.
Older animals don’t have the stamina of their younger counterparts. They can also sometimes get bullied at feeding troughs. Consider housing your retirees together. Put them in spots that offer easy access to paddocks or pastures. Provide at least a three-sided shelter in outdoor areas.
Proper ventilation can have a drastic impact on not only the condition of your animals, but also the condition of your barn. If air is too stagnant, moisture can build up. This in turn can cause mold issues, which nobody wants. However, older animals may get chilly in drafty areas. Find the happy medium.
Don’t forget about your senior barn kitties! Fluffy and Mittens should be current on vaccines and parasite control. They’ll also need warm, comfy spots to snuggle up in on those chilly nights. Many barn kitties find comfy spots in tack rooms or on hay bales, but you can also help out by offering cat-houses. Storage totes with holes cut into the sides and blankets or newspapers added are an easy DIY option.
If you’re taking in older animals as rescues, then you’re truly doing something kind and wonderful. Fall can be a great time to sponsor charity events and help raise funds for their care. Consider hosting an event, such as a hay ride or even a small fair.
Do you have questions about caring for older animals? Contact us, your local Westminster, MD animal clinic, today!