People worry about their animals during the winter, but livestock health is as much of a concern in summer as it is in winter.
Summer, along with its oppressive heat and humidity, has arrived. Some of the best stuff on the homestead happens in summer (like the arrival of ducklings and a garden that’s starting to produce), but summer comes with struggles as well.
Plenty of Cold Water for Livestock
I hope you all are drinking more water during the summer heat, but don’t forget that your animals need that extra H20 as well. Animals that produce by-products (like milk and eggs) need plenty water more than most. If you notice a reduction in egg or milk production, that might be the reason.
Ice ice baby! We put ice cubes in the goat’s water and they love it. The same goes for the chickens. Another “cool” trick I learned was to put ceramic tiles (I got them free on craigslist) in the freezer and pull a few out throughout the day to put in with the poultry. They love standing on the tiles to cool themselves down. This is especially popular with the quail.
Make Sure Shade is Available
Shade for your livestock is also super important during the summer. You don’t want to be standing out in the blazing sun and neither do your animals. I love that our animal areas have tree shade, but during scorchers I’ve been known to set up sun umbrellas for them.
Keep an Eye on Overall Health
Know what’s normal! If your animal seems “off” in any way, make sure to give it a quick checkup. Here’s the normal vitals for your reference…
Rectal Temp: 101.5-103.5ºF
Resting Heart Rate: 70-80 beats per minute
Resting Respiratory Rate: 10-30 breaths per minute (20-40 for kids)
Check out 9 Ways to Keep Goats Cool on Extremely Hot Days by Farm Fit Living for more ways to help your goats get through the summer heat.
Rectal Temp: 103.3-104ºF
Resting Heart Rate: 130-200 beats per minute (handling of the rabbit may increase it)
Resting Respiratory Rate: 30-60 breaths per minute
Check out The Top 7 Ways to Keep your Rabbits Cool in Summer by The Cape Coop for more ways to help your rabbits get through the summer heat.
Chickens, Ducks & Quail
Rectal Temp: 104-109.4ºF
Resting Heart Rate: 250-300 beats per minute (slightly more with quail)
Resting Respiratory Rate: 12-28 breaths per minute (15-32 for quail)
Check out 7 Ways To Keep Your Chickens Cool During Summer by The Happy Chicken Coop for more ways to help your chickens and other poultry get through the summer heat.
It’s wise to have electrolytes on hand. I’ve got a few homemade recipes as well as some options that work in an emergency situation. This will help you keep your livestock healthy and hydrated all summer long.