* * *
Not so unbelievable
Cattle CAN die in places like Viet Nam when temperatures drop
well below what they are used to just like humans used to a warm
clime can get hypothermia from a sudden drop in temperatures.
This is why immigrants from hot climates such as India and
Africa can be seen bundled up in what we consider shirt-sleeve
weather. In Viet Nam, sudden drop in temps to -4 can actually be
much colder when wind chill is factored in. So it is certainly
believable that the Vietnamese cattle died from the "unusual"
cold there. - C. Peter Davis, Wpg. MB
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Regards the cattle deaths in Vietnam.
Dennis is perfectly correct to say that some cattle survive
-55F. But, there are so many factors to consider. First, what
breed were these cattle? All breeds cannot survive temps like
that. My Aberdeen Angus could not, I know that for certain. My
neighbour's longhorns and highland cattle, maybe.
Secondly, in Vietnam the cattle are left to
graze all winter and some farmers I am sure cannot afford
supplemental feed so gamble with the weather in this regard. It
has been snowing in these regions and quite simply cattle will
die if snow and ice cover the grazing and supplemental feed is
not provided or not enough is provided especially considering
the colder it is the more they need to eat to stay warm hence,
what happened in Mongolia last year.. Even if they are providing
supplemental feed what quality is it? And... is the supplemental
feed grain, silage, straw? Cold stressed cattle need high energy
grain to survive. All big influences.
My other guess has to do with water. In
these temps any water supply provided will be frozen. Cattle do
eat snow but, not if it has an ice crust on it and cattle will
and can only eat so much if they do not have sufficient water.
What body condition are the animals in? Are they thin or fat?
Makes a huge difference. It matters little how extreme the
temperature is, if it is even just a degree or a few below
freezing for a spell the above contributing circumstances make
all the difference.
Therefore, to me, it is not difficult to
believe the situation in Vietnam and a general sweeping
statement that he knows some cattle can survive -55F means very
little frankly. - Helena
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As concerns the freezing
cattle in Viet Nam. It occures to me that these maybe are not
cattle that we might see here, but rather more like water
buffaloes. Those I've seen (admittedly only at zoos) are
hairless and skinny. Quite probably far more adapted to a
tropical climate and thus more vulnerable to cold.
A similar situation occured in
South America with many thousands of dead tropical fish choking
the rivers. Sure in Minnesota, fish live through the winter
under the ice. But, of course, they are evolved to their
environment. There were big fish kills off Florida this year,
attributed to cold. You don't see those in Maine, 'cause those
species have evolved to their surroundings as well.
Then there were those bird
deaths - in the southern states, as I remember. Could be that
durring the recent warm stretches the birds forgot how to
migrate, properly. I know that some geese stay put in Canada
now (and make a mess with their dropping, I hear).
The sudden cold has caught out
a lot of slackers and humans are not immune. Witness all the
hugger-mugger in the UK, New York and the Southeast. Last year,
my 10 year old banana tree was DOA.
For What It's Worth,
- Steve Campbell
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Have you considered what the
Vietnamese consider "cattle" are likely water buffalo, not the
sort of "cattle" we have in Vermont or elsewhere in the US.
Their cattle are also not used to that kind of cold because they
live in the tropics and probably can't handle cold like a
Just a thought. - Sharon
* * *
The cattle in
Viet Nam likely did not "freeze" to death, that is true.
However, animals become adapted to a particular climate. A
sudden change, up or down can shock an animal. Animals,
especially ruminants can shock badly. It is quite common for
cattle to die of shock. One type of shock is shipping fever.
Cattle can die from the stress of being shipped by truck or
rail. One must periodically unload the animals and give them a
bit of a respite. The sudden cold could have very well caused
these animal deaths.
- Benjamin Napier
* * *
Robert. I raised cattle in the inter mountain region of central
Nevada. My cattle were Beefmaster, a combination of Shorthorn,
Hereford, and Brahma. Brahma cattle were selected because of
their ability to endure the heat, and humidity, while Hereford
are renowned for their ability to withstand very cold
conditions. The coldest I saw was 30 degrees below zero F., and
all the herd did fine.
I am sure the
breed in all South Asia is Brahma. They are well adapted to the
hot humid conditions encountered in this region of the world. I
would not be surprised if the shock of this cold weather did
them in. There may be other causes, but it is no coincidence
that the freezing temperatures were a factor.
- Dean Yale
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Hi Robert, I can guarantee
that Vietnamese cattle (water buffalo by and large) and American
servicemen who were in Vietnam (e.g. me), acclimated to the
warmth. I suffered hypothermia after several days of hot humid
weather, followed by rain and near freezing conditions.
If it can happen to a Minnesota boy like me it can happen to
cattle bred for the tropical Vietnam climate!
- Nelson Skinner
* * *
Hi Robert, I'm no expert, but I was formerly married to a
farmer/rancher. As I recall, the digestive system in cattle
operates largely on the principle of fermentation. Fermentation
can only take place in a proper range of temperatures.
I'm guessing that the cattle died perhaps from a lack of feed,
or from a lack of proper temperatures for their digestive
process to take place, or a combination of both.
Lack of water could also have
contributed to their deaths. If no one comes to break the ice on
top of a water sources, that could make things worse.
- Laura Davis