Major heat causing problems for livestock

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 15, 2019

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With several heat advisories that have happened over the week, locals may need to check on their livestock.

Covington County Extension Office director Chuck Simon said animals can suffer during the heat of the day.

“This heat is definitely getting the livestock,” Simon said. “You just know you are going to lose your production from them. They just can’t move around as much. They might move around early in the morning, but hopefully during the day, they have a place where they can get out of the heat.”

With the recent rain cooling things off, Simon said that the crops he has seen are looking to be O.K., except for corn.

“We have been getting off and on rain for a couple of weeks,” Simon said. “I haven’t really gotten out and looked at anything close, but from the road, they seem to be doing fine. The corn crop was affected most by the recent drought that we had. By the time the heat came in, it was completely done. Pastures are suffering from the heat, as well. If they get water then they are doing O.K., but the heat is really oppressive to the growth.”

Local chicken house owner Chris Meade said heat is a huge stressor when it comes to raising chickens.

“Heat is going to be a stressor on any animal,” Meade said. “When we get these heat events, it places stress on the equipment, as well. There is more of a risk of equipment failure when that stress is put on the equipment. When you have that risk, it increases your chances of mortality. As the birds get bigger, they produce more heat per bird. The houses are developed to accommodate those birds, but when the heat comes in, it is definitely a factor.”

Mead said when it comes to making sure they are cool, there a couple things chicken house owners can do.

“Usually chicken house owners have fans based on the square footage,” Mead said. “The airflow of the fans are moving across the birds. Chickens don’t sweat. So, the airflow over the birds will keep them cool. Owners can also get cool cells and the sizes of them are also based on the square footage. It is basically just water running over pads and then air is being pulled those.”

Recently, the temperature has been recording at more than 110 degrees in Covington County.