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Farmers Warned to Take Special Care of Livestock During Heatwave

23 February 2015

AUSTRALIA - Livestock owners are reminded to take special care of their stock over the next few days of high temperatures as animals suffer from the heat as well.

Deputy State Controller, Agriculture and Animal Services, Roger Paskin said shade, shelter and plenty of cool water are the keys to keeping livestock healthy during the current hot weather spell.

“We need to remember that animals get hot too, but don’t have the ability to control their immediate environment like we humans do. Animals need shade and shelter to protect them from the sun and wind,” he says.

Dr Paskin added that it is very important that animals have an abundant supply of cool, fresh water to help them cool their bodies down in extreme temperatures.

“They need a supply of cool water close to shaded areas where they’ll seek comfort out of the hot sun – as animals drink up to double the amount of water in hot weather,” he said.

“Keep water troughs clean - especially when moving stock into a new paddock as evaporation can cause trough water to become very saline and undrinkable. And if possible don’t let animals access dams as dams can be boggy and animals accessing the water may get stuck”.

Dr Paskin said it was important for farmers who have livestock that these animals should be checked daily to ensure they are coping with the heat, as heat stress can be fatal for animals.

“The first signs of heat stress are sweating, panting, and drooling. They may be restless and bellowing. If you are not living at the property ask a neighbour to check the animals. Stock movements should be minimised both on-farm and off-farm,” he said.

“If stock need to be moved it should be done during the night or the cooler part of the day for example early in the morning. Livestock transporters should have contingency plans in place to handle unexpected breakdowns.

“Poultry are also very susceptible to heat and if they are kept in a shed that is not fitted with an effective cooling system. Poultry sheds can be cooled effectively by wetting the shed or hanging wet hessian in breezeways. Birds too need access to plenty of cool water.”

“The important thing to remember during these periods of very high temperatures is that you should seek advice from your local vet if any of your livestock or pets are exhibiting signs of heat stress and are not responding to home care methods.”

Visit for more information and advice on extreme heat.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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