The summer season can be tricky for farm owners, and farm animals. The weather and the heat can play a part in the overall productivity rate of the farm, animals, and farmers. There is a potential for a variety of agricultural products to suffer the consequences of extreme weather conditions, like dehydrated land, however, the most important factor to consider is the livelihood and well-being of the livestock across the farm.
It is important as the farmers to be extra careful, and take extra precautions when looking after your livestock each day. From keeping your animals cool to making sure you are providing plenty of water to maintain hydration. We have listed the ways in which you can look out of each and every animal on your farm, from cows to horses, and sheep.
Signs of Heat Stress Include:
- Loss of Consciousness
- High Respiratory Rate
- High Increase in Water Intake
- More Saliva
- Loss of Appetite
Keeping Your Pigs Cool
Believe it or not, pigs are most likely to be affected by heat stress and sunburn. The best way to avoid this is to not allow your pigs exposure to the sun and the heat if you can avoid it, the cooler you leave your pigs to begin with, the easier it will be to maintain this. After all, it’s much more difficult to try to cool down a heat stressed animal.
If your pigs are outside, make sure they have plenty of mud and water to keep them cool on the hot summer days as well as ensuring they have plenty of straw and bedding for them to be able to have a lie down and relax on. Avoid transporting your pigs on the hot days if possible as pigs do not have the ability to sweat, therefore you may see them panting heavily, laying in mud to keep cool, and increasing their water intake.
Check out reputable agricultural retailers online such for the best products for taking care of your pigs through summer, including the best animal feeds.
Protecting Your Dairy Cows
Keep an eye on your cows through the hot weather, they can easily overheat so the best way to ensure you keep your cattle cool is to provide plenty of shade for your cows to hide under, the more shade they have to begin with, the less likely you’ll need to take care of a heat stressed cow. Additionally, ensuring your cows are placed close to the dairy will mean they have less distance to travel each day.
Top Tip: Count your cows’ breaths to make sure they’re not heat stressed. If their breathing rate is over 60, you need to take action in cooling them down as soon as possible.
Protecting Your Horses
Signs of heat stress in your horse include:
- Excessive sweating
- Reduced Appetite
You should look to reduce the level of exercise your horse does on the hotter days of the year, ensuring lots of water and shade is provided. Additionally, there is extra loss of salts and minerals during the hotter days, therefore electrolytes can be added to their feed to replace this. Cooling your horse down with water is another effective way to keep your horse cool, just be sure to dry off your heat stressed horse after hosing them down as the water can insulate the horse hair and cause the heat to stay trapped.