As the summer months approach, producers may begin to notice the impact of rising temperatures on their animals. Heat stress can result in various health issues, such as decreased breeding efficiency, lower milk production, dehydration, heat exhaustion, compromised immune systems and unhealthy weight gains. It is crucial to keep animals cool during hot weather to maintain their health and profitability.
Here are some tips to help you keep your livestock cool this summer:
- Provide shade: Provide adequate shade for your livestock by using shade cloth, trees, or other structures that block direct sunlight. The shade should be well-ventilated to allow for airflow.
- Provide plenty of water: Ensure that your livestock have access to plenty of clean water to keep them hydrated. You can install automatic waterers or provide water through troughs. Make sure that each water source is clean and contaminant-free, as any excrement found in watering tanks will prevent your livestock from consuming it. Operators can keep their water cool by making sure all water lines are covered by grass in the fence rows.
- Install misting systems: Misting systems can be installed in livestock housing areas to help cool the air and provide some relief to the animals. The misting system should be ventilated to avoid humidity build-up.
- Use fans: Fans can be installed in livestock housing areas to promote air movement and reduce the temperature. Maximize air flow by making sure all fans are working properly to move air throughout the building, or open sides of the building to provide access to pasture with shade or an outdoor pen.
- Adjust feeding times: Feed your livestock during the cooler parts of the day to avoid feeding them during the hottest parts of the day.
- Manage pests: Manage pests such as flies, mosquitoes, and other insects that can cause stress to your livestock. Use traps, baits and sprays from Starbar® products to minimize their impact.
- Keep housing areas clean: Regularly clean livestock housing areas to remove manure and other waste materials that can produce heat and odor. Proper ventilation can also help remove heat and odors. Dry bedding will decrease fly gatherings by providing fewer damp conditions for them to gather and lay eggs.
By following these tips, you can help keep your livestock cool during the summer heat and reduce the risk of heat stress and other health problems.