For us, summertime means backyard barbecues, vacations, or maybe enjoying the air conditioning, but our barnyard animals are dependent on us to keep them comfortable during the hottest months of the year. Three warm weather threats to our animals include heat stress, parasites, and flying insect pests, but by being proactive, we can help to reduce or avoid all three.
No matter the type of barnyard animal you have, providing clean, cool water and plenty of shade is the most important thing you can do to prevent heat stress. As for internal parasites, supplementing with a natural dewormer, such as our WormGuard on a regular basis can keep their numbers in check. Sprinkling StallGuard or MosquitoDie on animal droppings and/or bedding will halt these pests’ reproductive cycles in their tracks.
Here is some additional information for keeping your barnyard animals happy and healthy this summer:
If your chickens stay in a coop, you will want to ensure it has adequate ventilation. Also avoid overcrowding coops as this can increase the chances of heat stress in birds. In extremely warm or humid climates, fans can be used to provide added ventilation, and misters will help keep chickens cooler when they’re outdoors.
Additionally, providing a dirt area which can be watered down will allow your chickens to cool themselves off as needed.
Inadequate water consumption in goats can increase the risk of urinary calculi (stones), especially during hot weather. But offering free choice sea salt can help to increase their water intake and reduce the likelihood of this happening.
It’s a good idea to shear long-haired goats in the spring before summer heat sets in. However, never completely shear them in summer as having some hair will prevent sunburn. Certain goat breeds such as Angoras have a decreased ability to deal with heat stress compared to other breeds, so extra care may be needed to keep them comfortable in summer.
Believe it or not, wool can protect sheep from extreme heat as well as extreme cold. According to research, allowing sheep to have a one-inch fleece will keep them more comfortable than completely shorn sheep. Spring shearing will allow your sheep to have adequate wool growth by the time the hot summer months set in.
Llamas & Alpacas
These two animals also need yearly shearing in warm or humid climates as they are less able to deal with heat stress than other types of livestock. Using fans and misters is also a good idea with llamas alpacas, as is supplementing with sea salt and/or electrolytes. Kiddie pools and sprinklers are another idea, as most llamas and alpacas love to cool off with water. Just avoid wetting down their back, especially when full-fleeced, as this will insulate them instead of cooling them off.