Warmer temperatures are quickly approaching, and that means 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.
All mammals regulate their internal body temperature involuntarily. Heat stress occurs when the animal’s ability to self-regulate and lower core body temperature is overwhelmed and the animal’s performance and/or health is compromised.
Signs of heat stress:
- Bunching in the shade
- Excessive salivation
- Foam around the mouth
- Lack of coordination or trembling
Effects of heat stress:
- Reduced feed intake and weight gain
- Poor breeding efficiency
- Lower milk production
- Increased disease susceptibility
- Death in severe cases
Being proactive is the best approach to helping animals deal with heat stress. Having a solid management plan in place to combat heat stress could play a crucial role in an operation’s ability to maintain animal performance during periods of increased heat. Some management options include:
- 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 core 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.
It is nothing new that BioZyme® is committed to improving the well-being of animals through nutrition. To help our customers better manage heat stress within their herds, we have developed two products that specifically address heat abatement; VitaFerm® HEAT® and Vita Charge® Climate Control Gel. These products contain an extract that helps livestock handle heat stress by lowering core body temperature in a safe, fast, and natural way. Not to mention, the Amaferm® advantage found in both these products is research-proven to lower body temperature.