Suffering through one of the hottest summers in recent records is no easy chore when you have animals to protect. Any time livestock bodies start to get overheated, they go into stress.
In addition to immediate threats, stress can also weakened animals’ immune systems. Follow these steps to keep your animals safe.
Quantity and availability aren’t the only factors to think about when checking waters. Temperatures need to be as cool as possible.
Make sure you change the water often. With lower immune systems, animals don’t have the same ability to fight bacteria in the water.
Make sure to add electrolytes as an alternative option to plain water. Do not put the electrolyte packets in as their only source of hydration. It does taste salty, and if it is the only option the animals may end up drinking less.
Make sure they have access to plenty of shade. Supplemental shade can be as simple as shade cloths attached to trees or buildings, sheets or even trampolines.
Water and food should be in the shade as well. Not only will this keep it cooler, but this placement will also to bring animals out of the heat.
Make sure air can move through the entire area. Barns are helpful for shade, but outbuildings won’t help with heat levels unless air can flow through. Use fans where you can.
Trampolines and shade cloths work well because all sides remain open.
As heat stresses and lowers their immune system, make sure you pay attention to your animals for the onset of any medical issues.
Immediately evaluate any animal that:
- doesn’t stay with the group
- won’t eat
- appears especially lethargic
- stumbles around
- appears in poor condition
Overheated animals will not have the normal strength to fight any such ailments. Make sure salt and mineral licks are available. Check for parasites often, and keep feeding and grazing areas clean.
These are important general practices when keeping livestock. But in high heat, the practices become critical.
If one of your animals is slow to stand, or appears to not stand well, take them into air conditioning for 30 minutes to see if they improve. If they do, you will need to follow protocol from your vet to treat heat stroke.