Animals: Livestock Preparedness
During an emergency, the time you have to protect or evacuate livestock will be limited. Here are some questions to consider in your advance planning:
Do you know where you could take your livestock?
Identify a safe location to take your livestock. Inform friends and neighbors of your evacuation plans and post detailed instructions in several places in case you are unable to evacuate them yourself.
Make arrangements in advance to have your livestock trailered in an emergency. If you do not have a trailer, have several people on standby to help.
Because of their size and transportation needs, owners of horses need to take additional steps:
- Keep a seven day supply of hay and feed in the barn
- Have a breakable halter and lead for each horse
- Make sure you can access a trailer
- Create a first aid kit for your animal
- Know where to quickly retrieve medical records including vaccination and Coggins test results
- Have photos of you and your horse together to help identify it
Livestock Trailer Safety:
- Have the appropriate size vehicle available for towing
- Make sure the hitch is properly secured
- Take the time to connect the safety chain correctly to the vehicle frame
- Do the brakes and lights work?
- Is your trailer properly registered?
- Is the trailer free from debris and safe?
Are all your livestock identified?
Halters should include the animal’s name, your name and phone number, and a secondary number. Should you consider a tattoo or ear tags?
If evacuation isn’t necessary can you shelter in place?
Be sure you have adequate supplies of food and water. Also consider methods of providing water and food should you be without electricity. Maine livestock owners have lost power for as long as three weeks in recent years.
Hazards to consider and prepare for:
If your home or barn loses electricity, consider the other losses:
- Electric fences will no longer function
- Loss of ability to pump water
- May not have operational heating or cooling systems
To best plan for these hazards:
- Purchase and maintain a generator adequate to provide necessary back-up power
- Consider storing water, even in garbage buckets lined with plastic bags
- Make sure fencing is adequate without electricity
- Keep flashlights handy
After a Disaster:
- Assess all of your structures to ensure safety. Document (and photograph, if possible) any damages.
- Make sure your fencing is intact
- Make sure water and feed is not contaminated
Now that you are prepared, help others in your community.
Get involved in with your County Animal Response Team (CART). CART teams are part of the County Emergency Management Agency. These teams of trained volunteers who provide critical assistance in animal rescue and provide sheltering of both pets and livestock.
For More Information
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Livestock
- Maine Bureau of Agriculture: Division of Animal and Plant Health
- USDA: Animal Health