Floods can impact animal health as well as human health. Make plans for your livestock and horses in the event you will need to evacuate your farm.
Before a Flood
Maintain an inventory
- Keep a current list of all animals on your farm.
- Include their location and any records of vaccinations, testing, and ownership.
Have identification for all animals
- Make sure animals have some form of permanent identification (e.g., ear tags, tattoos).
- Ensure animals are properly vaccinated before exposure to floodwaters.
- Prepare an evacuation kit.
- Handling equipment (e.g., halters, nose leads)
- Water, feed, and buckets
- Tools and supplies needed for manure cleanup
- Safety and emergency items for your vehicles and trailers
- Gas powered generators
Make evacuation arrangements
- Determine possible evacuation areas – higher elevation, alternate production facilities (e.g., temporary milking parlors).
- Determine several routes to these locations.
- Identify alternate water or power sources.
- Locate and prearrange feed and water delivery, needed equipment (e.g., milking) and services (e.g., milk pickup).
- Have well maintained backup generators for livestock production operations.
- Make transport arrangements (e.g., trucks, trailers) with experienced handlers and drivers.
- Condition animals to being loaded and transported.
Ensure a safe environment
- Assess the stability and safety of barns and other structures.
- Remove dead trees or objects from fields or livestock areas that may serve as potential debris during a flood situation.
During a Flood
Be aware animal behavior may change before, during and even after a disaster
- If you must evacuate, ensure your family’s safety first
- If there is time - move or evacuate livestock and horses to higher ground.
AVOID leaving animals behind
- If there is no other alternative, keep gates or buildings open so they can escape high water.
- Provide access to safe free-choice food source, clean water and the safest living areas possible.
- Do not rely on automatic watering systems, because power may be lost.
- Establish escape routes to safe locations (higher elevation).
- Place your contact number and the name and number of your veterinarian on the building.
After a Flood
Assess your animals and building structures
- Survey damage to your barns and other structures; assess the stability and safety.
- Examine your animals closely; contact your veterinarian if you observe injuries or signs of illness.
Return animals only after the threat has passed and the safety of buildings or the area has been assessed
- Release animals in a safe and enclosed area until familiarity of the surroundings can occur.
Provide non-contaminated feed or water
- Provide clean, uncontaminated water.
- Do not feed flood damaged or moldy feed or hay.
- Do not use any feed or forage that may have been contaminated by chemical or pesticides.
- Record any animal deaths.
- Check with your state or local authorities for proper disposal methods for animal carcasses.
- Keep animals away from flood waters which may contain harmful bacteria or chemicals.
- Monitor animals daily for signs of illness
Development of this educational material was by the Center for Food Security and Public Health with funding from the Multi-State Partnership for Security in Agriculture, June 2010. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey.