This summer has certainly been a hot one. You’ve probably been spending as much time as you can indoors in the air conditioning but your farm animals don’t have that choice. They spend all day in the sun and although they’re made for being outdoors, it can still take its toll. It’s not hard to make them comfortable during this heat wave, though.
First, you should know the signs that your animals are getting too hot.
Some livestock are more susceptible to heat stroke than others. For example, goats and sheep endure high temperature very well while pigs and cattle are just the opposite. These animals, however, don’t have sweat glands to help you see that they’re too warm, nor do they pant like a dog does to cool off. (Horses do sweat, though!)
Some of the first signs you may see are that their mouth is open slightly or their nose is wet. Chickens spread their wings out when they get hot. The next few symptoms are similar to humans who are overheated; lethargy, disorientation, trembling, lack of appetite, and more.
If your animals should ever get to this stage, bring them in from the heat or under shelter, give them cool water (add electrolytes if you have them), and spray them down with a hose to cool them down. Give them plenty of time to recover before letting them back into the heat and keep an eye on them for a few days.
There are ways to prevent your livestock from overheating, though, and we hope you never have to deal with a dehydrated animal.
The first step to keeping your farm animals hydrated and cool is to provide them with fresh, cool water. Of course, this is something that you should focus on at all time but it’s especially important in the hotter months for your animals to have access to plenty of water. Put out extra troughs or consider an automatic waterer. You can even freeze blocks into ice to have an automatic chiller and replenisher in one.
You should also provide plenty of shade for your animals. Like we said before, they can’t just go inside and chill on the couch when they get too hot. Trees are the best shade for animals like these but if there isn’t room for a forested area or you would like to keep the pasture open, be sure that the barn or stable has enough ventilation and doesn’t become too hot inside. Add livestock fans and windows to provide some cool air blowing throughout the building.
One thing your animals will love is a cool treat. We mentioned the ice blocks but you can also freeze or at least chill your livestock’s favorite fruit, veggie, or grain to make it a refreshing snack.
The most important thing to remember during these hot months is that your animals will need at least a little bit of your help. Provide them with the things that will make them the most comfortable in the heat of the day. And make sure they’re safe and secure in their pasture with one of our wooden or vinyl fences.