With scorching temperatures in the forecast, producers are reminded to look for signs of heat stress in their livestock.

Extension Coordinator with Alberta Farm Animal Care, Melissa Moggy, says this time of year, beef cattle are out to pasture where farmers might not see them everyday.

"They might not have easy access to shade and depending on where we are in the province, if we haven't had a lot of rain, there might not be a great deal of water if we have a natural source instead of a man-made source for water. We need to keep that in mind when we're giving access for water."

Moggy says heat stress in beef cattle occurs when the animals aren't able to normalize their temperature.

"The big things we look for is open mouth panting with their tongue protruding. Another thing we'll notice is they have laboured breathing, so you'll sometimes see that their again panting, and you'll see their stomach is being forced in and out to help push out the hot air."

She adds another sign of heat stress is drooling, or frothing, at the mouth.

Swine and sheep are also susceptible to heat stress, Moggy says.

"That's one of the reasons we often shear sheep this time of year is that we don't them to have that heavy wool on them during these heavy months because they can often get heat stress."

Alberta Farm Animal Care says it's important to provide livestock shade and lots of water.

Some other tips they suggest are to avoid handling animals in the heat, feeding at dusk and dawn, and wetting the ground in part of the pen.

 

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