Tips for Mitigating Heat Stress in Calves
By Alyssa Dietrich, Calf and Heifer Specialist
When summer rolls around thoughts of the beach, family barbeques, and fireworks usually do too, but something else that should be top-of-mind is the increased risk of heat stress in calves. Rising temperatures can propose significant consequences on growth and health, as calves undergoing heat stress are expending their energy to stay cool.
While in the heat of summer, it is important to be aware of what you can do as a caregiver to help mitigate heat stress in your calves. Providing your calves with a cool, dry environment, and ensuring they are hydrated will go a long way in preventing heat stress.
Provide calves with plenty of water
With increasing summer temperatures, calves are going to drink more water. Ensuring calves have an abundant water supply should be the primary concern in preventing heat stress. Take a proactive approach when feeding electrolytes to ensure your calves stay hydrated. If you notice signs of sickness, feed electrolytes as soon as possible. It is never too early to provide electrolytes, and it will allow you to get ahead of dehydration.
Limit the amount of sun calves are exposed to
It is important to limit the amount of sun calves are exposed to. Hutches can become very hot during the summer months, so it is imperative to provide additional shade for calves who are housed in them. Calves in barns require plenty of air movement for them stay cool. Use fans inside barns to keep the barn cool and dry, thus preventing calves from undergoing heat stress.
While heat stress is a common occurrence in the summer, it is something you can mitigate. Identifying signs of heat stress early on and implementing management practices to diminish its occurrence can help ensure your calves stay healthy and growing.