Animals raised outdoors on pasture have a couple of strategies to keep cool. Shade is an obvious requirement on any farm raising animals humanely. Beef cattle, especially those with black hides, seek the shade and low lying moist areas during the heat of the day. Hogs don’t have sweat glands so when temperatures rise, you’ll find them wallowing in water. Not only does the water provide evaporative cooling but the mud protects hogs from sunburn. Our sheep producer(s) raise a specific breed of sheep that has hair rather than wool, precisely because it thrives better in the heat.
This time of year, you’ll see most animals outdoors grazing pastures and eating feed in the early morning and evening hours. Extreme heat presents a challenge to ensuring good meat quality and producer profitability. When animals stop eating due to heat stress, they lose weight. This slows production and can end up reducing intramuscular marbling. That’s why it’s critical to maintain wooded areas and provide plenty of water.
This video of wallowing hogs was taken at Dwight Hall’s farm in Beualaville. Check out these happy hogs keeping cool!