In 2008, 53 cows were struck dead by lightning in Katosi, Mukono district. That is the highest number of cattle killed by lightning in Uganda in recent years. However, lightning has been striking cattle on a smaller scale, across the country.
In Uruguay, lightning struck 52 cows in 2009 and in Scotland in 2010 at farm, it struck 16 cows. Overall, lightning is an act of natural fury that control and prediction may not be easy. However, if some measures are taken, the impact of this fury can be reduced.
According to researchers, cattle are sitting ducks for lightning because they are moist. The fact that most of the time, rain finds cattle in the open fields makes them more vulnerable. There are several things that you can do in order to lessen lightning incidences.
– It is important that you do not allow the cattle to either sit or stand under trees during thunder storms. Trees are known lightning conductors and as long as there are animals under the trees, the chance of being struck by lightning is high. The cattle in Katosi were killed while sheltering under the tress during a thunderstorm.
– Do not let your animals move too close to the metallic wires within the fence. Lightning is known to use these wires as conductors and as long as the cows are nearby, they will get struck.
– Do not let animals into water paddles during thunderstorms. Like it happened with the case in Scotland, the cows were killed because lightning was conducted in a paddle of water which had the animals.
– You need to have a covered structure for the animals where they can shelter whenever it rains. If you have the means, you should also have lightning arresters on your farm, located at different areas of the farm, depending on the size of the farm. Each of the complete systems costs around sh750,000. For large-scale herders, this cannot be a problem, since a single adult cow cost about sh750,000.