Livestock heat stress a real danger in searing sun

By Tessa Mills

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This summer is definitely a hot and sunny one. But although people enjoy the long sunny days, the heat is not always so pleasant for animals.

Farmers have to be especially aware of heat stress issues that may develop as a result of high temperatures. Heat stress in livestock can become a significant issue if basic on-farm management is not up to scratch.

Top of the list is ensuring a plentiful supply of drinking water. Troughs need to be large enough to ensure all animals have easy access. If a large number of animals are held together, multiple troughs should be available. Providing shade also significantly improves conditions. Trees are one of the best options because of the heat the leaf canopy absorbs.

Letting livestock into forestry blocks can also offer a good solution. Ideally animals should be handled and transported either early or late in the day.

The symptoms of heat stress include panting, increased water consumption, loss of appetite and increased salivation. Aside from the obvious welfare element, which compels most people to take proper care of animals, stressed animals have significantly lower productivity.

Make minor changes and watch for heat stress symptoms so you can avoid negative effects.

- Hamilton News

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