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Feeding Livestock After a Flood

By   /  September 16, 2013  /  1 Comment

This isn’t the article we’d planned for this week, but the flooding in Colorado means that some of our fellow producers need some information NOW! Here’s what we all need to know when disaster strikes.

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A flooded pasture near Loveland, Colorado

A flooded pasture near Loveland, Colorado

Livestock producers in the flooded areas of Colorado are going to be facing some challenges feeding their livestock in the near future and maybe this winter and into the spring. Since this is something that impacts all graziers from time to time, I searched the web for the clearest, most pertinent information from a variety of sources experience with flood damage. I’m hoping that most of you will never need to use this information, but do save this article if you’re located in places where flooding occurs from time to time.

Here are the top three tips:

  • Wear a dust mask (N-95 or higher) or work in a filtered cab to protect yourself from the harmful effects of silt dust. I’ve already noticed an amazing amount of dust in our area as some areas begin to dry out.
  • Store flood damaged crops separately from the rest of your feed. This makes it easier to dispose of it and to switch feeds if you find that the flooded feed causes problems for your livestock.
  • Get assistance from your veterinarian to nip health problems in the bud. Flood waters and silt can carry pathogens and contaminants. You may need to administer additional vaccinations to protect animals.

Maintaining Livestock Health After a Flood

This information comes to us from Mississippi State University Extension. In one quick page you’ll find tips on protecting animals from pneumonia, foot rot, and other post-flood diseases, pasture hazards, and caring for Dairy Cows.

Salvaging Crops After Flooding –
Recovery of Alfalfa, Irrigated Pastures and Hay

This fact sheet from the University of Florida provides information on the following:

  • Impacts of growth stage, temperature submersion and silt on alfalfa and it’s recovery
  • Ladino clover and grass species recovery
  • Reseeding Tips
  • Ensiling perennial species conventional upright or temporary trench silos
  • What to do with unharvested, flood damaged hay fields


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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

1 Comment

  1. Chip Hines says:

    My dad said that if you must feed moldy or musty feed, always do so on the ground in the open to allow moving air to dissipate the harmful particles. Feeding in bunks, boxes and stalls force the animals to breathe the harmful spores and such.

    Chip Hines

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