Tips to Reduce and Handle Heat Stress in Livestock
St. Joseph, MO – Warmer temperatures are quickly approaching, and that means livestock producers should start considering how to help their animals handle the heat. Heat stress is almost inevitable, but some management practices can be implemented to help animals better cope with rising temperatures.
- Bunching in the shade
- Salivating excessively
- Foaming around the mouth
- Trembling or lack of coordination
- Reduced feed intake and weight gain
- Poor breeding efficiency
- Lower milk production
- Increased disease susceptibility
- Death in severe cases
- Shade: Temperature can be lowered by providing areas where animals can get out of direct sunlight.
- Improved ventilation: Providing fans or allowing for adequate air movement helps alleviate heat stress.
- Clean, cool drinking water: Water is necessary to keep the animal’s body temperature within normal limits. Providing cool water will also help cool the animal’s core.
- Wetting: Gradually wetting an animal with cool water from sprinklers or hoses is an effective way to cool an animal suffering from heat stress. Wetting the ground can also cool the area where animals lay and reduce the effects of heat stress.
- Timing of feeding: By moving the animal’s feeding time to late afternoon or evening will allow rumen fermentation (which creates heat) to take place during cooler temperatures.