July 20, 2012
Keeping Livestock Cool in the Heat
During this extreme heat, it is important to take extra steps to keep livestock as cool and comfortable as possible. The University of Minnesota Extension offers some tips to help.
- Provide extra water for consumption
- Water consumption should be the first priority for water use, before sprinkling
- Clean water tanks often to encourage intake
- Install sprinklers
- Wet the ground more so than wetting the animals - It is best to wet the ground before the peak heat of the day
- Set up sprinklers to cover ground and/or animals (ideally about 20 square feet) per head
- The combination of wind movement and sprinkling is ideal
- Intensify fly control around bunks and laying areas
- Do not increase feed offerings aggressively (perhaps maintain intake for 3 days before increasing)
- If feeding once a day, feed after 4 p.m. If feeding twice a day, feed 30 percent of total offering before 7 a.m., and 70 percent of total offering after 4 p.m.
- Apply dry bedding in high areas (where winds may increase cooling) or near shades
- Abstain from moving livestock unless absolutely necessary
- Ensure airflow through pens
- This could include removing obstructions such as bales, wagons, trailers, etc.
- Cut weeds around pens to improve airflow
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture recommends contacting your county emergency management director if you need assistance locating emergency water supplies for livestock.
Producers dealing with animal mortalities associated with any catastrophic heat event can contact the Minnesota Board of Animal Health for information, advice, and tips. Carcasses from domestic animals must be disposed of as soon as possible after death, usually within 48 to 72 hours.
Please visit the Board of Animal Health website to find a representative in your area or call 651-296-2942.
For more information on heat stress in livestock and how to minimize risk to animals, visit: