Heat stress has short- and long-term negative effects on animal welfare and health, feeding behavior, growth performance and productivity. Cost-effective solutions are needed to this problem.
For animal metabolism, especially in summer, when the appropriate temperature and humidity level is exceeded, cattle, poultry and pigs face with heat stress. Heat stress is becoming a major concern for high yielding animals in all parts of the world. Heat stress may cause negative effects on animal welfare and health, feeding behavior, growth performance and productivity.
The ideal temperature for dairy cows is 10°C. For example, at 20 °C and high humidity conditions, animals that attempt to dissipate the heat and reduce metabolic temperature experience responses such as reduced feed intake and increased blood flow to the skin. These responses impair gut health and growth, as well as increase mortality, thereby affecting livestock welfare and productivity.
The first example of performance loss due to heat stress is the loss of milk. Cows experiencing heat stress may lose around 4 to 6 liters of milk. In the long-term, heat-stressed mothers are less likely to have fertility, their offspring have lower birth immune function, are more vulnerable to disease, and are less productive during the first lactation period. Another long-term problem is related to overall health. Poor foot health, lameness, and even an increase in laminitis can occur during and after heat stress.
The decline in performance and profitability requires livestock production industries to seek different ways to address the problem. On-farm management solutions, including adequate ventilation, lower stocking densities, cooling options, and giving more water can be beneficial to combat the effects of heat stress. However, another factor that farmers have to pay attention to is costs. For this reason, the solutions produced by the feed additive industry are remarkable in terms of health, performance and costs.