Posts Tagged ‘Livestock Care’

Livestock Care: Dehydration in Livestock

Livestock Care

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.

Raising Livestock: Livestock Births

Raising Livestock

Spring has sprung and for ranchers and farmers, that means calving season is on its way. No matter what size operation you run, no matter what livestock you raise, planning ahead for the season is critical.

The best-laid plans sometimes go awry, so meticulous preparation is the key. Your hard work now is sure to save you time, money, and perhaps even animal’s lives once calving season arrives Toronto.

Nelson Manufacturing wishes you a prosperous and healthy calving season. Following please find our recommendations and tips for making this season your most successful yet.

  • Inspect and, if needed, repair your working areas and stalls. Make sure your calving spaces are clean, secure, and properly lit. As backup, install fresh batteries in your flashlights. As the date approaches, stock the areas with plenty of fresh food for your animals.
  • Review the gestation periods for your specific livestock. You can find a quick guide from the Farmer’s Almanac. Knowing this information will prevent any births from catching you by surprise.
  • Continue to provide the highest quality food to your pregnant livestock. While good nutrition is important throughout the gestation period, it’s especially critical toward the end of the pregnancy. Make certain your livestock have easy access to clean food and water at all times. Nelson Manufacturing’s automatic livestock waterers and horse waterers guarantee your animals will always have fresh water.
  • Find a veterinarian you can trust. Keep your vet advised of your birthing schedule and make sure he or she will be available when needed.
  • Schedule extra hands if you’ll need them. Keep your workers in the loop so they’ll be on call to help you.
  • Stock up on supplies. Make sure you have plenty of buckets, gloves, roll cotton or paper towels, scoops, squeeze bottles, and disinfectant. You won’t have time to run out and buy something you forgot once calving begins in earnest. As Santa would have it, “Make a list and check it twice.”
  • Prepare ahead for emergencies. Not every birth will be easy. Stock up on oxycontin, betadine, epinephrine, and other recommended medicines. If you’ve never experienced a high-risk pregnancy or breech birth, ask your vet for information about how to properly administer medications.
  • Consider feeding your livestock in the evening. Research has shown if you feed your animals in the late afternoon or evening you can actually reduce the chances of nighttime births. Make it easier on yourself. Try to avoid nighttime calving.
  • Purchase enough ear tags to properly identify your newborn livestock.

We hope you’ve found our suggestions helpful. Please log in and share tips and techniques you’d recommend for other livestock owners.

Raising Livestock: Keeping your livestock cool this summer

Keeping livestock cool in the summertime is vitally important, not only for the sake of comfort but also to prevent heat stress. If heat stress sets in, livestock productivity and/or performance decreases while the chances of heat stroke increase. What’s more, heat stress is very difficult to combat once it begins, so preventative measures are of the utmost importance. Follow the steps below to stay ahead of heat stress and keep livestock cool and happy all summer long.

Cold, fresh water

Water. It’s the single most important thing for livestock in hot weather. But stagnant, sun-warmed water from traditional tanks not only poses health risks from built-up bacteria and debris, it doesn’t cool the animals down and doesn’t entice them to drink. Instead of traditional waterers, automatic livestock waterers like the ones we manufacture here at Nelson provide a constant supply of cold, fresh water that cools the animals from the inside out and keeps them drinking through the hot summer months.

Please note: You may want to add electrolytes to your livestock’s water supply from time to time. Not only are electrolytes extremely conducive to hydration, but many of them have flavorings that further entice your stock to drink.


Along with water, shade is the most important provision in summertime. Always ensure that your livestock – be they horses, cattle, pigs, goats, alpacas, or chickens – have easy and adequate access to shade. Ideally, shade is provided by open-air sheds that allow a nice breeze to pass through, but if all you have is a traditional barn, open any and all windows and vents and be sure to amply stock it with fans (below).


Stock any indoor environments with utility fans from your local farm supply store. For cattle and other large animals, only large utility fans possess the size and power needed for adequate cooling. For chickens and smaller livestock, smaller consumer-grade fans will work, but be sure they face the livestock directly and seem to be doing their job (if you see panting and/or wing-flapping, upgrade to a higher-power fan). With chickens and other winged stock, be sure that the fans are set at a safe enough distance that the animals won’t catch feathers in the blades (mounting fans on the ceiling is often a good choice).

Please note: Never – under ANY circumstance – subject your livestock to air conditioning. Air conditioning is an enormous health hazard to livestock, for not only can it chill them, but it disrupts natural bio-patterns and can leave the animals with zero defenses when they are exposed to heat. Let your stock adjust naturally to the season, while doing your best to keep them comfortable.

Spraying systems

Large livestock operations will run misting systems through their barns and facilities to keep stock cool. For smaller operations, single mist-ers mounted on fans are often quite effective. Sprinklers also work quite well for outdoor pastures – just make sure they’re situated so that animals can’t step on them or get tangled up in hoses.
Please note: You may be inclined to let your stock have access to ponds or wet areas during the summer months, but this is not advisable. First of all, all kinds of health risks lurk in wet areas – anything from disease-causing bacteria to snapping turtles and snakes! Furthermore, standing in water can lead to infected hooves, and if livestock defecate in the pond or wet area, it can contaminate the ground water supply. Keep your livestock away from bodies of water, and let them enjoy sprinklers instead!



For stock that can be haltered, pamper them with nice, cool baths (especially after workouts). Baths can be so cooling, however, that you have to be careful not to send your animals into temperature shock. Always start by hosing down the legs, cooling them before moving up to the body and the areas closest to the heart (hose the chest last). Be sure to let the animal stand until dry – if turned out wet many animals will roll on the ground to dry themselves, but this coats them with a layer of dirt that collects heat and, of course, makes them dirty all over again.

Signs of heat stress

Take the above precautions and you shouldn’t have to worry about heat stress, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always be on the lookout. For horses and other animals with sweat glands, watch for profuse sweating in periods of inactivity. For animals such as cattle and hogs who don’t sweat, look for open-mouth breathing and panting. In all animals, be especially watchful for signs of incoordination, disorientation, and trembling. If these symptoms set in, heat stroke is just around the corner and you need to cool the animal down immediately with a cold bath and/or ice packs.

By and large, precautionary measures are enough to prevent against heat stress. Take the right steps at the start of summer, and you and your livestock will be able to enjoy the summer weather all season long.

Are Your Livestock Drinking Enough Water?

Sheep Waterer

Water is essential to the life of all livestock and is important to continually replenish. Water aids in the digestion of feed, milk production, performance and body function which is key to maintaining healthy animals. Below is a shortlist of gallons per day your livestock should be drinking. Hot and cold seasonal temps will increase each animal’s daily intake.

Livestock and Average Gallons Per Day

Dairy Cattle:  15-30

Dry and Bred Cows: 6-15

Growing Cattle:  4-15

Nursing Cows: 11-18

Bulls: 7-19

Sheep and Goats: 1/2 – 4

Horses: 10-12

Alpaca and Llamas: 2-5

Whitetail Deer: 3/4 – 1 1/2 (3-6 quarts)

Automatic Livestock Waterers

Calculate how much your livestock are drinking with Nelson’s automatic livestock waterer with water consumption meter. Nelson’s automatic livestock waterer’s provide a constant stream of fresh water and are temperature controlled to eliminate freezing during the winter.