Four Tips on How to Identify and Prevent Heat Stress
July 1, 2021
Cows that suffer from heat stress will have reduced feed intake, rumination time, will not lay down and can be panting. This leads to rumen acidosis, a decline in milk production, mastitis, and hoof problems. Long term it will also result in reproduction problems. Four animal health tips to identify and prevent heat stress:
Cool your cows and supply fresh water. On hot days, the needed water intake of a cow can increase 50%. So fresh water supply is very important, also for calves. Cool your cows with a good, ventilated location or a sprinkler system. When you use water to cool your cows it is important to also use fans to stimulate evaporative cooling. Using water alone could increase humidity levels and have a negative effect.
Adjust your ration. Do not feed during the hottest times of the day but during the evening or feed two times a day. To avoid a drop in rumen pH, the feed should contain a buffer to hold the acidity in the rumen.
Continue with measures also after hot days. Create optimal lying comfort and keep the stalls clean for a positive effect on lying behavior and to avoid infections.
Ear temperature and eating behavior are perfect parameters to identify heat stress in an early stage. The Nutrition module of CowManager provides alerts when heat stress is expected. This way, heat stress can be prevented by improving your heat abatement strategy.
A consequence for dairy farmers, with cows that suffer from heat stress is production loss, more sick cows, higher medical costs and on the longer-term reproduction problems.
For more information on monitoring heat stress, read this article: Heat Stress Monitoring with the CowManager Activity System
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