Summer officially begins on June 21. But hot temperatures can hit anytime. As a rancher and farmer, you need to be prepared and stay well informed to provide the best possible livestock care.
Studies show that once higher temperatures arrive, a cow’s daily water needs also rise by about 5-6 gallons per day. During hot and humid days, cows may need up to 50 percent more water.
Are you providing a constant and consistent supply of fresh drinking water to your livestock?
Nelson Manufacturing offers eight different styles of automatic livestock waterers. Approved by the U.S Government, these stainless steel bowls supply clean running water to your livestock all year long. You can select the best option for your budget and your herd.
Why is fresh water so critical? In a word: dehydration. About 60 percent of a cow’s total body weight is water. A water loss of five percent or more can cause dehydration.
Cows can easily become dehydrated due to rising temperatures, extra exertion, high humidity, or illness. Dairy cows are particularly susceptible to dehydration because they lose a great deal of water producing milk each day.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of dehydration will allow you to provide the best care for your cattle:
- Look at your cow’s eyes. There shouldn’t be any space between the eyelid and the eyeball. Dehydrated cows have sunken eyes. In fact, the more sunken looking the eye, the more dehydrated the cow.
- Pinch a fold of your cow’s skin on the neck. The skin will spring to normal position in a well-hydrated cow. However, if a cow is dehydrated, the skin will stay folded or tented for several seconds, or, in more severe cases, indefinitely.
- Check your cow’s mouth and nose. Are his mucous membranes dry?
- Observe your cow. Is he acting listless or irritable? He may be dehydrated.
If you suspect mild dehydration, use a stomach pump or gravity flow system to pump 5-10 gallons of water into your cow. You may also wish to add electrolytes to the water to help your cow more quickly regain strength and energy. Continue treating your cow each day until all traces of dehydration are gone.
However, if you suspect more serious dehydration, call your veterinarian immediately. Severe dehydration can easily kill cows and your vet may have to administer intravenous fluids.
In addition to dehydration, cows can also suffer from heat stress. The best way to avoid this problem is to head it off at the pass. Provide plenty of shade in feeding and watering areas, install sprinklers in your holding pens, feed your cattle twice a day to lower heat production, and install plenty of automatic waterers.
Nelson Manufacturing livestock waterers are the ideal way to ensure your cattle always have fresh water. You can install our waterers in three convenient ways: on a concrete pad, in concrete pipe or directly to the walls of your stall. Call us today at 1-888-844-6606 to learn how we can help you provide the best livestock care possible.