Preventing livestock heat stress as temperatures rise

The current heat wave could present additional challenges to livestock producers.

Spring is turning into summer and temperatures are on the rise. Iowa State Veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Kaisand has some tips to help keep livestock cool during the current heat wave and all summer long.

“When we see these first heat waves, it’s very important that producers check their animals regularly and make sure that they are monitoring the animals for signs of heat stress,” Dr. Kaisand said. “That can be signs of panting, slobbering, trembling, loosing coordination, but make sure you’re checking them regularly to prevent them from getting to that point.”

It may seem like common sense, but the key to keeping the animals healthy during a heat wave is water, shade, and a breeze.

“So, some obvious things you can make sure the animals have plenty of water, make sure you are checking their environment for shade, making sure, if you can, provide adequate ventilation, fans, misters,” Dr. Kaisand said.

Also, producers may want to look at changing the feeding schedule of their animals. For example, feeding them early in the morning or late at night. Having a time for the animals to digest their food when it is not so hot out is another great way to prevent the risk of heat stress.

According to Dr. Kaisand, these practices for managing heat stress are universal across all species. You do not need to make special considerations for different animals on a diverse operation.