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 Floods

  • 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

□ Medications

□ 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.


  • Animal disposal.

□ Record any animal deaths.

□ Check with your state or local authorities for proper disposal methods for animal carcasses.

  • Prevent illness

. □ 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 MOU-2010-HSEMD-004. June 2010.