Caring for Show Animals in Summer

It’s not just the summer heat. Humidity and a lack of ventilation can take a toll on show animals
in summer. Here are some tips that can help you recognize and avoid problems during the hot
weather months:

  • Some of the adverse affects of excessive heat are:

– Poor growth performance
– Depressed immune system
– Infertility in bulls, rams, bucks, boars and other intact male animals
– Loss of bloom or body condition
– Reduction of feed intake, which contributes to all of the above.

  • Animals eat to meet energy requirements. As temperatures increase, energy requirements decrease. So the best way to keep animals on feed during the heat of summer is by reducing their body temperatures. This can be done in a number of ways:

– A fan, or some type of air movement to cool the animals
– A mister and fan that blows water-cooled air across the body surface
– Feeding at the coolest times of day (early in the morning, or evening)
– Always feed fibrous feedstuffs (hay, etc.) to ruminants in the evening. Fiber generates more heat during digestion than do non-fibrous feeds
– Fat generates less incremental heat and actually works to keep animals cooler during periods of heat stress. As feed intake decreases, you may try to compensate by using soybean oil, corn oil or some type of fat. This will improve growth rates and help retain bloom and freshness
– Sheep and goats shed excess heat much the way dogs do (through their mouths, by panting).   Hogs, however, do not perspire or pant. Hogs rely on air moving across their bodies to remove heat. It’s important to keep fans and/or misters on showpigs during high temperature or high humidity
– Certain ingredients may help with cooling during heat stress. Fat, for instance, creates less heat when digested. Research has shown that TASCO® is an ingredient that helps lower body temperatures during heat stress. It is included in all HONOR® and Show Chow® beef feeds, lamb feeds, HONOR® Champion Drive Topdress, and in HONOR® Powerfill
– Keep drinking water cool to help lower body temperatures. At the very least, keep water out of direct sunlight. Remember that feed intake is directly linked to water intake. So if water intake is reduced for whatever reason (temperature, freshness, cleanliness or availability) feed intake and growth performance will be adversely affected.

We hope these tips will help you avoid problems before they happen. Have a happy and successful
summer!

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