Heat stress in livestock

Haely Leiding, University of Minnesota- Extension Assistant

Knowing the signs of heat stress is important in order to take care of your animals

Although the summer months have been cool so far, we can still be ready for the heat that is bound to come with a Minnesota summer.

Heat stress is very hard on livestock when there is a combination of high humidity and low wind speed. Heat stress affects all animals differently depending on their body condition, coat cover and color, and disposition.



Knowing the signs of heat stress is important in order to take care of your animals. There are many signs of heat stress: Animals bunching in the shade, slobbering or excessive salivation, foaming around the mouth, panting or open mouth breathing, lack of coordination, and trembling.

If animals suffer from heat stress it can affect them in different ways like reduced feed intake, reduced weight gain, poor breeding efficiency, lower milk production, increased disease susceptibility, changes in behavior, or even death.



At 90 degrees fahrenheit animals consume almost twice as much water as they do at 70 degrees fahrenheit. When the temperature rises, animals also lose more water through evaporation and sweating.

To manage heat stress it is important to provide an option that is right for your animals or set up. Some management options include providing shade, ventilation and air flow, clean and cool water, cool water drench, and sprinklers or hoses.

If you are interested in learning more about heat stress in livestock, feel free to reach out to University of Minnesota- Extension Educator, Michael Cruse at (507) 725-5807 or mjcruse@umn.edu.

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