Farmers Advised to Take Heat Precautions20 December 2012
AUSTRALIA - Livestock owners in South Australia are being urged to ensure they take special care of their livestock during summer’s extreme heat, as statewide temperatures are forecast in many areas to rise to the low 40s (degrees centigrade) before Christmas.
Chief Veterinary Officer, Rob Rahaley, said shelter and ample cool water were the ingredients for successfully keeping stock healthy during extremes of temperature.
“It sounds obvious but is nevertheless worth repeating: animals need shelter and, where possible, shade to protect them from searing sun and wind,” Dr Rahaley said.
“They also need good supplies of cool water because animals can drink up to double their normal intake during hot weather.
“Keep troughs large and clean especially when moving stock into a fresh paddock as evaporation may make trough water become saline and undrinkable. Feeder pipes should be buried to help temperature control and to prevent breakages. In hot weather, troughs should be inspected daily to ensure they are working correctly.
“Also, keep animals away from dams which can become boggy and a death trap for any stock seeking water.
“During hot weather, livestock should be checked daily to ensure they’re coping with the heat. Like humans, heat stress can be fatal for animals. The first signs of heat stress may include panting and drooling and stock may also be restless and start bellowing.”
Dr Rahaley said that livestock owners who were not living on their properties – or were away on holiday – should ask neighbours to check regularly on their animals and water troughs.
“Stock movements during hot weather should be minimised – both on-farm and off-farm,” he said. “If there is no way of avoiding stock movements, then it should be carried out during night or maybe early morning, when it’s relatively cooler.
“Transporters of livestock should also have in place contingency plans to handle unexpected breakdowns, especially during hot weather.
“Poultry also are very susceptible to heat and if they’re kept in a shed that isn’t fitted with an effective cooling system, then the shed should be cooled by wetting the shed or hanging wet hessian in breezeways. Birds too will need access to plenty of cool water.”
ThePigSite News Desk