With record breaking temperatures hitting many parts of the U.S. this week, anyone with livestock has probably been anxiously watching them to make sure they are surviving the heat. So, here are a few tips:
- WATER! Keep cool water available at all times! Dehydration is the main killer in hot weather. If you find an animal unable to stand, pinch its skin, and if it is not as elastic as usual, it could be dehydrated. Offer it water immediately.
- Keep the water trough or bucket in the shade so that it does not get heated up by the sun. In addition to keeping animals hydrated, drinking water can also help cool them down if it is cooler than the air temperature.
- Keep an especially close eye on older animals or those who might be slowed down by a heavy parasite load or other illness. If they are not particularly energetic, they may not make enough trips to the water trough and wind up getting dehydrated.
- Make sure animals have access to shade.
- Don’t leave animals in buildings that get hot. This is especially a problem with metal barns. Whenever temperatures are greater than 90 degrees on our farm, we make sure no one is in the barn because the temperature in there is always much higher.
- If you have pigs, make sure they have a mud hole. Because they don’t sweat, they need to have an external source of cooling off, and mud seems to be their favorite. We’ve offered ours a sprinkler in the past, but they never ventured into it. They love laying in the pond however!