When the summer months come around and temperatures start rising, it’s essential to keep our domestic goats cool.
Goats will suffer from heat exhaustion and overheating if not given proper care.
There is no way to control the weather, but we still want our goats to be safe, which leads many goat owners to wonder how hot is too hot for a goat?
If a goat’s body temperature goes over 105° degrees Fahrenheit (41° C), they are at risk for serious health issues. Goats tolerate heat better than most other livestock but will suffer from heat exhaustion when it gets too hot. For the most part, goats can tolerate weather temperatures over 100° degrees Fahrenheit (38° C).
This varies slightly based on hair length and breed, though.
Providing proper care for our goat herds is important whether they are kept as pets, meat goats, or dairy goats.
Can Goats Overheat In High Temperatures?
In general, goats are fairly heat-tolerant.
Hot weather is usually fine for our herds, but extreme heat may cause them to overheat and suffer from heat exhaustion.
For this reason, it is vital to know the signs of heat stress and take action to prevent them from suffering in extreme heat.
The heat tolerance varies for goats by breed.
Some breeds have shorter hair and loose skin, which helps keep them cool in extended heat.
These traits are all factors in heat tolerance in goats.
Generally, it is best to only get short-haired goats if you live in an area with extreme heat.
They have adaptations for heat tolerance you won’t see in goats better suited for colder climates.
There are easy ways to keep your goats from suffering heat effects.
Knowing the symptoms of heat shock and heat stroke will help you act quickly.
Goats cannot release heat through sweating during intense heat as we do.
This means taking extra precautions when the heat of summer hits.
What Happens When A Goat Gets Too Hot?
If you are experiencing a heat advisory or heat wave, your herd is at risk of heat shock and overheating.
Knowing heat stroke symptoms will help you act quickly and get your goat to a cooler place, so their temperature returns to a healthy range.
Darker-colored goats and those with long hair are breeds of goats more susceptible to dangerous increases in body temperature during high temperatures.
Goats experience everything from mild heat stress to more life-threatening symptoms when they get too hot.
Here are some of the most common heat stroke symptoms to look out for when the temperatures get very high:
- Continuous panting
- Rapid breathing
- Inability to stand
- Elevated rectal temperature
Further Reading: What do lethargy and shaking mean in goats
How To Keep Goats Cool When It Gets Hot
Knowing the dangers of heat stroke is enough to get any goat owner nervous if they live in a hot area.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep your goats cool when temperatures are on the rise.
Providing a shade structure or other source of excellent shade for goats is a great way to keep them cool.
The heat of the sun tends to raise body temperatures much quicker than if you are in natural shade.
Invest in a movable shade structure like this to provide relief for a hot animal.
Movable structures are great because you’ll have the option of rotating them to cooler areas, so your beloved herd of goats gets the most refuge from the hot heat and burning sun throughout the day.
There is also the option for shade cloth like this to hang on existing structures for more shelter options.
It also helps to have plenty of shade trees.
Showing on a farm has many benefits, and it will make a world of difference for your goats when it gets too hot outside.
Consider keeping the goat pen near a canopy of trees to provide your herd with the benefit of shade.
We’re sure they will appreciate having the refuge.
Keep Checking and Refilling Water
Goats require constant access to clean water.
During these hot days, they will need more fresh water than ever.
Many goat owners will put ice cubes to cool water down.
Fresh water is imperative for keeping goats cool.
The heat will likely dehydrate them, especially during extended periods of extreme heat.
Keep the water trough full and check it periodically throughout the day.
To keep the water cool, add ice throughout the day.
Chances are it will melt quickly in the heat, but it will make the drinking water much cooler and more refreshing than warm water.
Consider adding more water troughs for the hot summer months, so your goats never run out.
Dehydration has detrimental effects on goats.
Avoid this at all costs by providing constant access to water.
Further reading: Can a goat drink too much water?
Take Temperatures During Extreme Heat
If you have taken all other actions towards keeping your goats safe during hot temperatures, including plenty of shade and constant access to water, there is still something else to do.
Taking temperatures periodically for your goat herd on extremely hot days may make the difference between life and death.
It may seem like a bit of a chore to take the temperatures on all of your goats multiple times throughout the day, but it is better than having them suffer and experience heat stroke.
A normal body temperature for a goat is 101.5-103.5° degrees Fahrenheit (39.7° C).
This is the healthy range where your goats are not at risk for health issues.
However, if their body temperature goes over 105° degrees Fahrenheit (41° C), they are at risk for heat stroke, overheating, and even death.
Symptoms occurring when your goat’s rectal temperature reaches this high point are sometimes irreversible.
This means your goat may never be the same again.
For this reason, it is essential to check the temperatures of the entire herd on hot days.
This way, if one of the goat’s rectal temperatures is inching out of the healthy range, you’ll be able to take action to cool them off by either bringing them inside or bathing them in cool water to bring their temperature down.
Further reading: What can you wash your goat with?
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