Pair Breeds with EnvironmentOne of the best ways to ensure that your livestock can handle the heat well is by focusing on breeds that are tolerant to hot temperatures. Of course, living in the Midwest means that we also get cool temps in the winter, so they’ll have to acclimate to both. Do your research before purchasing livestock and make sure that they will do well in your area. You can also touch base with local farmers to learn what breeds work well around here.
Keep Water Around
While some symptoms can be due to the extreme temperatures, others are actually just due to dehydration. Make sure that your livestock have plenty of access to water - especially cool and fresh water. You’ll also want to make sure that there is enough space for your animals to be drinking at once, since dominant animals may block others from drinking.
Provide Shady SheltersIf they are left to direct sunlight, it can be much harder on your livestock than necessary. In fact, direct sunlight can increase the risk of heatstroke by 2 to 3 degrees. Proper amounts of shade let your herd get out of the sun and can help reduce the risk of heat stroke. You don’t have to make the shady areas elaborate, simple shade structures or a place with large, mature trees can suffice perfectly.
Watch Air CirculationAir circulation can be just as important as shade. When animals are inside a building, you can put fans indoors to help blow cool air at your livestock, but you’ll also want ventilation so that the heat doesn’t build up to a dangerous level.
Provide Ways to Cool OffThere are many ways to accomplish this, but the most popular are misting, water pools, and mud wallows. You don’t want to use cold water because it will slow cooling down and can increase the effects of heatstroke.
Serve Dinner LaterDid you know that digestion actually produces heat? No small amount either! By feeding in the evening, you can shift the heat production to a cooler time of the day, as well as free them up from activity during the hottest time of the day. Instead, they can lay around during the heat of the day and focus on staying cool. Studies have shown that heat production from feed intake will peak four to six hours after they eat.
Don’t Handle Them When It’s HotFinally, when it’s especially hot outside, you’ll want to limit your handling of them. Muscle movement can lead to increased body temps, which is exactly what you want to avoid during warm temps. The only good reason to move them would be if it provides better shade and water for them.
best livestock feed at the Lake of the Ozarks. We provide great prices, and can even help you access the specific brands that your cattle are used to. In fact, last year we started providing MFA feeds! Come out to the best farm store at the Lake of the Ozarks to learn more.