Warm sunny days can be great for growing crops, but can wreak havoc on livestock without careful attention. Just like plants, the heat can overcome animals who are not properly hydrated, but more can than leaving water out can go into keeping your animals healthy.
A normal animal will need 2 gallons of water per 100 pounds per hour when temperatures start to get above 80 degrees. Be careful to refill water sources regularly, whether or not they are empty, as warm, stagnant water is a breeding ground for unwanted organisms. Watering vessels also need to be cleaned regularly, as warm days can cause algae to grow on the walls of said containers.
Proper circulation is also a must, as trapped air can actually become hotter than the circulating air outside your animal's living quarters. Leaving windows and skylights open--or creating them when necessary--will help animals feel comfortable and stay healthy. Also make sure they have enough room to move away from each other, as a crowded her or flock can overheat from being too crowded.
When possible, make shade available in your pastures, such as trees, foliage and simple shelters, so animals who have had too much of the sun can take a break. Misting fixtures are also a plus, as livestock can gather around the gentle sprays of water to add to their heat relief.
If your animal begins to behave strangely or erratically, be sure to contact your vet as soon as possible as heat-related illnesses can swiftly lead to long-term injuries and debilitations. And if you are concerned a neighbor's animals may be languishing in the heat without proper care, it is appropriate to contact the Lewis County Humane Officer at (360) 470-3371.