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Keeping Farm Animals Protected and Cool From Heat All Season Long


June 16, 2021

Summer is fast approaching. For you, it means spending those hot days at the pool or the beach, reapplying sunscreen whenever possible, and feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin. For animals, however, the summer heat is a totally different story.

Cooling livestock animals is important for both their physical and mental health. From ventilation to establishing a shaded area to always having access to clean water, these summer cooling tips can help keep your animals comfortable and spirited this summer.

Dog With HorseBattling Extreme Heat

During the sweltering summer months, there are few solutions to keep your flock of chickens, rabbits, and other livestock cool and happy. Livestock animals like cows, pigs, sheep, and goats have different body temperature requirements than humans. Just because you feel fine, does not mean your farm family feels the same.

Cooling animals during summer months can be challenging as each of them can have different temperatures and needs.

A great way to figure out what you are up against is to stroll your property both early in the morning and late at night to experience the hot weather for yourself. Identify what you need to do to make the other animals cool.

Consider using the following methods to keep your animals happy in the heat.

Monitoring the Hot Weather

Keeping track of the fluctuations in temperature is your first line of defense. Invest in a thermometer to measure the ambient temperature for an accurate and up-to-date read. Being able to check the current conditions directly on your smartphone is a useful improvement over old-fashioned weather stations.

Drinking Water

Cow Drinking Water

Animals need clean drinking water just like humans do. It is a vital part of their well being and handling the heat. No matter if it is sheep, horses, pigs, or cattle, once you have identified your livestock and their needs, you can take them to drink from a water fountain or cool off in a nearby water hole.

Make sure to bring plenty of fresh cool water and ice for them to drink. Water intake is part of a healthy lifestyle.

When there are particularly high temperatures, pay attention to the water levels because it might not only get quickly consumed by your livestock but it might evaporate with the heat, too. The watering troughs can be placed in the shade to keep the water temperature slightly cooler. Remember to conduct frequent clean water checks, especially during the hottest part of the day.

Behlen 2 x 2 x 6 ft. Stock Tank 169 Gallon

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Heat Stress

Heat stress from hot weather can be fatal and occurs when our bodies become unable to regulate our own temperature due to extreme heat. Sometimes it is not solely the heat, it can be the humidity, too.

Animals are even more at risk to the perils of heat stress because they have fewer sweat glands than humans, making them prone to overheating. It is up to you to help your warm-blooded animals beat the summer heat.

Visible signs associated with heat stress in animals include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Bright red gums
  • Excessive water consumption
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Collapse or seizure

Ventilation

There is nothing like the comfort of fresh air on one of those extremely hot days. Ventilation is another critical component of keeping livestock happy, cool, and healthy.

The balance of temperature and air ventilation for animals like sheep, horses, pigs, goats, cows, and even poultry can be mitigated with a bit of understanding and planning. There should be some air flow in farm buildings especially as the temperatures increase.

Fans and Air Conditioning

Cows Cooling Off In Heat

Air conditioners, ceiling fans, and portable fans are great ways to keep air circulating in the barn and avoid stagnant hot air. Fanning the air allows some of the heat to escape. You could even opt for sprays or misters to amp up your cooling power.

Fans

24" Orbital Portable Barrel Fan

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Overcrowding

Proper ventilation starts with a smart enclosure design. Space is nice and plays a big part in ventilation. We can all appreciate a little elbow room. Overcrowding farm buildings in summer is a recipe for disaster.

Your cool zone should include lots of uncrowded and spacious areas where the animals can go to get some breathing room. Sick, old, or injured animals might not fare well in a cramped, overcrowded environment in addition to the heat.

Shade

Shade not only keeps the livestock species hidden from direct sunlight but it also reduces the temperature of the area. If you do not have a barn to use for shade, there are other ways to keep livestock cool.

It is important to provide shade since animals like cattle or horses need a place to get out of the sun, to not only to protect them from overheating, but also to keep them comfortable.

Shade items

Shade Fabric Clips, Black, 10 pk.

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Plants

Open Sunny Field

Trees or plants that provide a lot of shade can really make a big difference for your farm animals. Shaded areas help your animals find relief on even the hottest days.

Decrease sun exposure time with roofing materials or some type of shade cloth. If it is clear that it is too hot for your livestock, then it would be wise to move them to the coolest part that offers the best sun protection.

Keep your farm cool in hot weather with frozen water bottles, pool noodles, and kiddie pools. You may use a spray bottle to mist them or better yet, try a hose.

Trees

Bareroot Apple Tree

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Stay Cool This Season

Boy Running With Dog

If it is too hot for you, it is definitely too hot for your animals. When it comes to hot weather and high humidity, keep your livestock hydrated and covered with plenty of shade.

Cover livestock with shade structures in the sun to keep them cool. Do not forget to provide adequate ventilation for livestock to keep the fresh air flowing. Be sure that every animal always has access to clean water.

You have got a tough job on your hands when it comes to keeping your animal friends safe this summer but with the right tools and practices, you can make a difference. Making sure your animals are comfortable and cool should be your number one priority this season.

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