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Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Death in Cattle Part 1: Provide High-Quality Forage

With heatwaves and dying cattle making headlines recently, you may be wondering what steps can be taken to help reduce the possibility of your cattle passing away from becoming overheated. In this three-part series, we will explore some of the ways that you can help your cattle stay healthy when the heat reaches uncomfortable and unsafe highs.

The first way that you can help to protect your cattle for becoming overheated is to provide them with high-quality forage. This is because high-quality forages generate less heat during the digestion process. Since metabolism and heat of digestion are the two things that affect the cow’s heat the most, creating less heat during the digestion process will help your cattle to better regulate their own temperature. 

To eat at optimum levels, your cattle should be fed at least two hours after the peak ambient temperature. This way, when they generate heat from digestion, it will not take place during the hottest time of the day. Since cattle do not typically care to eat or move around much when it is hot, they will likely be cooperative with this feeding arrangement.  

Regardless of the time of day that you feed your cattle, it is essential to continually monitor them for heat-related stress and to take the necessary steps to address this stress if it occurs. 

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