As Australian summer approaches, it's important to keep an eye on the feeding habits of your livestock. From pigs to cattle, all animals can suffer under high heat. The discomfort they feel often leads them to eat less, which can be a big problem for farmers—especially those raising dairy cows, pregnant stock or other animals for whom staying well fed is a necessity. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your livestock nourished during the summer heat. Here are three options to consider.
Increase the Nutrients in the Feed
Surprisingly, the trick to keeping livestock well-nourished has nothing to do with the quantity of food they eat. Rather, it's about the quantity of nutrients they take in. As a result, if your animals are refusing to eat much, you can easily keep them well nourished by increasing the nutrient density of the feed they are consuming. For example, if they're eating half as much as they usually do, their feed should contain double the nutrients. There are many ways to increase the nutrient levels of your stock feed; some of the most common include switching to a better type of grain or using additives and extra vitamins.
Reduce Protein and Fibre
While increasing most nutrients will lead to healthier livestock in the summer, there are a few that you may want to reduce: protein and fibre. That's because the metabolic process that digests and excretes protein and fibres can generate a lot of heat, increasing levels of heat stress. Reducing them slightly can help keep the body temperature of your livestock down and encourage them to eat more. However, be aware that you may need to use additives to compensate for these changes. Reducing fibre without replacing it with a supplement of some kind, for example, could lead to constipation.
Get More Liquid Into Them
Getting your livestock to drink more liquid is a good way of increasing their food intake, as many animals will only consume the right amount of feed if they have enough water to balance it out. Increased water intake will also help to lower their core body temperature, keeping their appetites healthy. Examine your drinker management plan and water quality to ensure your animals are getting plenty of access to fresh water each day. You may also want to consider feeding certain livestock a liquid diet, as some animals find liquid feed more appetising in the summer months.
For more information, contact your local stock feed supplier.