AS the temperature rocketed yesterday, many of us were able to take refuge in airconditioned offices with a ready supply of cool liquid to drink, but what about local livestock and other animals?
Turpentine Park horse trainer Robbie Price at Cambewarra said keeping his animals hydrated was the key to battling the hot weather.
“The horses tend to cope better with the heat than we do,” he said.
“But we are watchful, we keep them hydrated, make sure they are drinking plenty of fluid.
“And of course when we know the weather forecasts and if it is going to be really hot like yesterday we don’t overwork them.
“In that case less work is better.”
While keeping fluid up to the horses was important Mr Price said a watchful eye to see the horses were actually drinking was also necessary.
“Some drink well, others play with their water and get carried away with it and don’t drink or knock their water buckets over,” he said.
“On the really hot days we constantly check to ensure the horses have water and are taking in fluid. Like us they need to be hydrated.
“Sometimes they won’t drink so we can give them a saline drip which contains salts – it’s like us having a Gatorade.”
And while Mr Price has an inviting big dam next to his stables he said he won’t swim his horses in the heat of the day.
“We will swim them early in the morning when it is cooler but in the heat of the day it’s like us going to the pool and swimming laps, they are still working in the water and will often come out from a swim hotter,” he said.
“We do other things like hosing down their yards to help keep them cool.”
Brundee dairy farmer Bob Herne said the heat really affects the cattle with yesterday’s extreme temperatures “taking it out of the animals”.
“The heat really affects them and each cow will drop in milk production up to as much as four litres per cow in some cases,” he said.
“And it can take them up to 10 days to recover from that drop.
“We give the cows as much water as we can and put them in paddocks to provide as much shade as we can.”
Keeping water up to them can be a challenge with a herd of 650 cows, with each animal drinking 60-70 litres of water a day.
“We take precautions like trying to keep them close to the dairy so they don’t have to walk too far and we don’t rush them when bringing them home to milk,” he said.
“When they come into the yards to be milked we have sprinklers activated which also helps to cool them down.”
And as a member of one of many professions that work outside in the heat, what is their plan of attack.
“Get as much done as early as you can and then get out of the heat and drink plenty of fluids,” he said.