CALDWELL, Idaho — Triple-digit temperatures are just around the corner for Idaho, and McIntyre Family Farms in Caldwell is working on preventive measures to reduce heat stress in livestock.
“We have very temperature-sensitive birds and livestock. Since we’re right here next to the meat chickens, we used water to cool them off so when it gets really hot in the afternoon, we can turn these on that’s behind me and will get them as close as we can without getting water on them and let the breeze blow through the water, and that really reduces the temperatures around them," Loren McIntyre said.
At one of the pastures, there are some tents built up over the years that work as chicken coops with food and water.
"When it gets hotter and we have more birds in, we can move them (tents) twice a day," McIntyre said.
McIntyre said they build shade covers to keep their other livestock safe.
“Another very temperature-sensitive animal that we raise a lot of is pigs. We spend a lot of money in situated water lines, buried waterlines right close to them so depending which way is the wind blowing, we can turn them on and cool them off," he said.
According to the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, several risk factors can put cattle at risk of heat stress, including poor health, treatment for pneumonia, and a darker hide.
“With the cattle, we like to the keep the pastures as cool as we can by keeping them fairly moist but not too wet, and we do the same thing where we can set up water for them," McIntyre said.
McIntyre says he is concerned but prepared for what's ahead.
“We have a generator that would run our freezer, run our wells to continue to have water because, without that, they won’t last very long at all. So, we’re trying to get everything possible to phase whatever happens here," McIntyre said.