A lightning strike has killed 49 cattle in the western province of Zambia.
The cows were grazing under a tree when the lightning struck. Ironically, the tree wasn’t hit.
Zambia is currently witnessing weird weather phenomena. After an airplane was hit by dramatic hail last week, a lightning strike killed 49 cows.
According to the farmer, the cows were protecting themselves under a tree, when the bolt struck killing more than half of his herd (91 cows).
Strangely, the meat did not turn black, which is sometimes (usually?) the case.
The dead cattle were inspected by officials. They are not safe for human consumption (although I think we do eat some).
There is no perfect way to protect the cattle against lightnings as those aren’t predictable.
Farming in the western part of Zambia has been pretty hard this year and many farmers in the region relied on those oxen for preparing next season, cultivating their fields, transportation and ploughing.
How to Protect Your Cattle During a Thunderstorm?
1) Know The Weather
Find out when thunderstorms are most likely in your region and thus make sure you follow weather forecasts and set up an automatic alert system.
2) Create a Three-Sided Shelter and Install a Lightning Rod on your Property
A lightning rod can reduce the risk of lightning striking cattle or a building directly. A three-sided shelter gives cattle a better alternative for safety and keeps them protected and dry in a storm. With a good shelter, cattle may in fact be safer outdoors than they would be inside.
3) Keep your Pasture and Barnyards Clear
Remove debris — especially metal debris — on a regular basis as they can attract lightning or become airborne in heavy winds.
4) Ensure Good Drainage and Elevation
Ideally, keep cattle on higher ground, so there’s less danger of flash flooding during a storm. In addition, ensure proper drainage on pastures and fields where cattle graze against hoof problems and infections.
Build mounds so cattle can instinctively move higher when floods threaten.
5) Anticipate possible Dangers After a Thunderstorm
Have plenty of food and veterinary supplies on hand in case cattle are injured during a storm. Be prepared to cut off electricity if needed. Protect your herd’s water supply as contamination can seep in due to pesticides and other hazards. [Lusaka Times]