May 21, 2024

5 Practices to Cool Livestock in Summer Heat

1. Shade

"I am always amazed by the number of people who ask, 'Do animals really need shade?'" states Dr. David Fernandez, University of Arkansas (Pine Bluff) cooperative Extension program livestock specialist. Animals get hot outside just as humans do.

Do you know how dark clothing absorbs more of the sun's rays? The same effect applies to animals – darker animals absorb more heat. Remember that some animals with light-color hair hide dark skin underneath, so they can become warmer much faster than you think.

2. Cool water

The key to keeping your animals comfortable could be as simple as where you place your water tank. Build a shade over the tank or place it under an already available shade to keep the water as cool as possible.

3. Work animals when temps are lower

Movement and digestion generate heat internally, which can have as significant of an impact on heat stress as external radiation. Therefore, producers should work livestock in cooler parts of the day if possible.

4. Airflow

We know that a little bit of air movement on a very hot day can work wonders. Erect fans to make those still, miserable days much more manageable for livestock. Bonus: Add spray misters to the fans or sprinklers.

5. Sprinklers

For livestock that stay outdoors, sprinkler systems are a great, practical option for reducing external heat in pastures or feedlots. Please make sure to adjust hoses so that animals' legs stay untangled and equipment functioning.

Even when you have many of these strategies in practice, stay on the lookout for signs of heat stress: panting/breathing with an open mouth, excessive sweating in horses or Brahman cattle, trembling, stumbling, or disorientation. However, these tips go a long way to help livestock stay relaxed, cool, and productive during the intense heat of summer. Source: University of Arkansas

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