Although goats can tolerate heat, hot weather can still be a stressful time for your goats. The continuous and extreme heat can distress your goats. There are some goat breeds that is more tolerant to heat. Goats with loose skin and floppy ears are more heat tolerant that other goats, while Angora goat has lower tolerance to heat since it covered with thick coat.
To adapt with the heat, the horn in Angora helps to dissipate the heat by making the heat flow from the body. To help your goats to stay comfortable in hot weather, you have to keep your goats in good condition and provide their needs. Here we will discuss 5 cool tips to take care of healthy goats during hot weather.
1. Provide Enough Water
Water is essential for temperature control and electrolyte balance, especially in hot weather. You need to always provide your goat with fresh and clean water during hot weather. Place the water container in the shade, since algae can grow rapidly in the water that receives direct sunlight. Drinking water that contains algae can give your goat health problem. You need to scrub the container when you refill the water to lessen the growth of algae.
You can also put ice blocks into your goat water to cool the water and make sure that your goat gets enough water in extreme heat. Change the water at least 2 times a day, goat doesn’t want to drink water that contaminated with urine and manure. Make sure that your water is free from pesticides and other toxic substances. Also make sure that your goat drink enough water. Inadequate water consumption in hot weather can cause dehydration and higher possibility for the goat to develop urinary calculi. Urinary calculi occur when the stones form in urinary tract and block the urethra result in urination problems.
- Provide Shade
Although goat is an outdoor animal, it still need a shaded area to protect it from the heat. During heat waves, your goat rests in the shelter most of the day. That’s why you need to provide your goat with a proper shelter that can protect it from the heat and sun light. Make sure that the shelter has good ventilation. Goat sleep low to the ground and can breathe ammonia fumes from the shelter ground. Under the summer heat, the ammonia builds up more quickly. If you can smell ammonia from 8 inches above the floor of your shelter, you have to clean your shelter to get rid of it. Summer heat also escalate some health problems in goat, such as skin sores, mastitis, respiratory and foot problems.
You can also provide shade in your goat’s pasture, such as trees, run in shed, tarps, open barn, or any structures that can provide shady areas to rest. Lying down in a shade can give your goat additional relief from the heat so it can continue to tolerate the heat. Make sure that the shade area is large enough if you have many goats, since goats usually take a rest at the same time. You can also provide fan to give your goat cooling air flow or to increase the ventilation inside the shelter or water sprinklers as misting to add the humidity.
- Trim Your Goat’s Hair
The next 5 cool tips to take care of healthy goats during hot weather is to trim your goat’s hair. You need to trim your goat’s hair before the summer heat strike in, especially if your goat has long hair. Shorter hair can be more comfortable for goat during the hot weather. You can use electric clippers to trim the goat’s coat. If you are new to using electric clippers, start with a small area until you get the hang on it. You can also let someone who already have experience to teach you how to do it. Don’t trim near the goat’s eyes, ears, or sensitive area if you still don’t know how to use clippers safely. Measure the right length to trim your goat’s coat. Don’t trim it too short if the hot weather in your area is short and quickly cool down.
- Let The Goat Rest
Hot weather is not a good time to work your goat. You may need to re-arrange the time for your goat’s work to morning hours. Your goat can also tolerate the work better in cooler time. If possible, avoid transporting goat during the hot weather. If you need to transport goat in hot weather, you have to give extra attention to it, since the goat is more vulnerable to stress when transported especially in hot weather. Try to minimize the transport time and stop periodically to check your goat. Make sure that you provide your goat enough space, water, and food during the transport. Provide proper ventilation and prevent the heat to build up inside the vehicle by keep moving. Don’t try to transport a pregnant goat in late gestation period since it can be stressful and can harm both the mother and the baby inside the mother goat.
- Watch for Any Signs of Distress
Extremely hot weather can also stress your goat that can lead to heat stroke. Watch for any change in your goat, such as not eating or grazing, lethargic, not keeping with the herd, acting loopy, stumbling, walking in circles, can’t stop panting, or even can’t get up. If your goat has any of the sign mentioned before, it may need your help to battle the heat. If you can measure your goat’s temperature, beware if your goat has rectal temperatures over 105 degrees F. Act quickly if you find any warning signs of heat stress, bring your goat to cooler location to bring the body temperature down, frequently offer small amounts of water or you can also spray your goat with a hose. If you spray your goat with a hose, start from their legs, so you don’t surprise them with the sudden change of temperature. You may also need to keep electrolytes in your place, especially during the hot weather. You can buy electrolytes in the farm store.