Winter can be a season of extremes. The weather can rapidly turn from calm, serene and beautiful to dangerous and destructive, often in the blink of an eye. Freezing temperatures, high winds, and snow can all pose a threat to humans, animals, and buildings alike.
If you own livestock that spend long periods of time outdoors, like sheep, the weather and the climate is a factor that must be taken into consideration. Winter can prove harmful to both the animals and their surroundings, so steps must be taken to mitigate any potential damage. Let’s look at whether sheep enclosures need to be upgraded for the winter months, and how to go about doing so. Keep reading to find out more.
What Kind Of Sheep Enclosure Do You Have?
The potential damage your sheep enclosure could sustain over winter will depend on the type of material it is made out of.
Sheep are often less likely to escape from or break their enclosures, so livestock owners often opt for wood when building fences to keep in sheep. Unfortunately, wood can suffer a lot of damage if it is not properly maintained over the winter. The increased moisture in the winter months can cause the wood to rot, while swings in temperature can cause it to warp. If there are any hanging branches over your fence, these can become laden with snow and fall, causing damage to your enclosure.
What’s more, increased moisture in the ground can cause soil to shift, dislodging your fence’s foundations. If there were to be high winds or storm, parts of your enclosure could come loose and blow away, allowing livestock to escape or even potentially injuring them.
Metal fences are commonly used for livestock enclosures because of their strength and durability. However, the moisture in the air over winter and freezing temperatures can strip back the protective layer on metal fencing and cause it to rust.
Unlike cows or horses, there are a number of different enclosure options you can choose from when building one for sheep. Visit McVeigh Parker (https://mcveighparker.com/) and check out what they’ve got on offer.
How To Prevent This Damage From Happening
External structures like livestock enclosures must be constantly supervised and maintained to ensure they stay in good working order. In winter, this is even more important. By being vigilant and keeping a close eye on your sheep enclosure, you will be able to prevent serious damage from taking place.
For wooden fencing, you should regularly inspect for signs of rot and degradation. Keeping your fence clean and free from dirt will help keep it in good order. Clear away any snow or fallen leaves from on top and from the base of your fence, as this can be a primary cause of rot. Trim away any overhanging branches wherever possible, and regularly check if any fence posts have been loose or dislodged.
With metal fences, you need to watch out for signs of rusting. If you spot any rusty patches, these can be scrubbed away to stop the degradation spreading. Keep your metal fencing clean and clear away any build up of snow or debris to help prevent rust from forming.
You can even opt to paint your fencing, be it wooden or metal, with special paint that works to prevent moisture from getting through. This is an extremely effective way of reducing the damage that can be caused by moisture, such as rot, mould, or rust.
Should You Upgrade Your Enclosure?
When it comes to deciding whether or not to upgrade your closure, you’ll need to consider a number of different factors. If you have wooden fencing or lightweight wire fencing, you want to think about upgrading to a metal enclosure to offer more security and stability over the harsher winter months.
However, metal fencing can be more expensive than wooden fencing. You’ll need to weigh up how much time you are likely to spend repairing wooden fencing over winter and calculate whether the extra expense of metal fencing would be worth your while.
Wooden fencing will generally need to be replaced at a faster rate than metal fencing anyway, so it could be a good idea to upgrade your enclosure and it may save you money in the long run.
When it comes to keeping livestock, ensuring the animals are safe and secure is an absolute priority. Winter can bring harsh weather conditions which can degrade, damage, or even destroy sheep enclosures. Follow this guide to keep your enclosure in good condition and to figure out whether or not to upgrade.