When it comes to finding a shelter for your horses and livestock animals, it’s best to keep it simple. While it’s important to keep them sheltered and protected, it’s most beneficial to provide animals with the ability to move freely in and out of a structure that offers sufficient ventilation and cross breeze. Learn more about the best livestock shelter options for healthy and happy horses at home.
Why a Barn Isn’t Always the Best Shelter Option
When you picture a home for your horses, you probably expect they’ll need a large barn or enclosed stable to retreat to for sleep and shelter. And while these units are great for sheltering livestock after hours, they’re not adequate to keep animals out of the heat and sun during the daytime. In fact, constantly confining your horse in a stall such as this can be detrimental to their physical and mental health.
Barns can easily become stuffy and unsanitary. Low ventilation exposes horses to dust and bacteria from their feces, feed, and bedding which leads to mucus and respiratory inflammation. Such confinement can have a negative impact on your equine’s colon and intestinal health because of their limited mobility much of the day. Even confining ponies can cause negative effects during growth and development, increase the risk of injury, decrease performance, and more.
Even if your animals spend a lot of time outside their barn or stall, an expensive barn or enclosed structure isn’t always necessary. Horses, for example, naturally enjoy wide open spaces, and they tolerate both heat and cold fairly well. In fact, equine expert Nancy Ambrosiano explains, “Horses conserve body heat efficiently and, therefore, need less shelter than we think they do.” (Source: The Horse) These animals typically just take shelter from strong winds or for shade.
No matter the size of your livestock farm, the same basic principles apply to running a successful operation. You need the right tools and solutions to care for animals, store feed and heavy equipment, and to provide the proper environment to grow crops. While there are a number of farm shelters for sale, it’s important to research and invest in the right cattle shade structures and multi-use sheds in order to protect your animals, crops, and equipment.
The Importance of Cattle Shade Structures
From horses to cows, sheep to goats, livestock can be adversely affected by the elements in every season. In the blazing heat or harsh winter wind, it is crucial to provide your animals with proper shelter for their wellbeing and performance. Just like protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays, you must do the same for your animals.
The impacts of heat: Did you know animals can get sunburns, too? Cattle shade structures are crucial to shielding animals from sun exposure that can even lead to skin infections. Aside from skin protection, proper sheltering can keep an animal’s temperature in check, preventing overheating and other health issues that can lead to more serious illness.
Wind exposure: Wind chills can have a profound impact on body temperatures in livestock during winter cold snaps. Cattle shade structures provide a respite from harsh winds, which will in turn keep animals safer...
Caring for horses or other livestock? Find out why a livestock shelter is crucial to maintaining animal and horse health, particularly in the summer season.
How Hot Weather Affects Horse Health
Horses cool off just like humans do – by sweating. Yes, it's true! Horses have sweat glands much like humans. Just like us, horses sweat when they generate energy. Unlike (many of) us, however, horses spend most of their time creating energy outside, which in turn generates heat. Since horses spend so much of their time generating heat outside, you can imagine why it's important that they be able to cool down easily and quickly.
So if horses spend their time generating heat, how does the hot summer weather affect their health?
Without an easy way to cool down, horses can overheat which can be detrimental to their health. In fact, when horses cannot effectively cool off, they begin to show signs of overheating through dark urine, reduction in skin elasticity, lethargic behavior, high body temperature, and other indicators. Once they display such symptoms or reach internal temperatures of 105 degrees are higher, it's important to cool your horse off immediately. If not taken care of, the risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or even death greatly increases.
Preventing an Overheated Horse with On-Site Shade...
Taking great care of your horse is important all year long. However, when the seasons start to change, their needs often do as well. Taking some time to learn how to care for a horse in the fall will ensure your equine friend gets the TLC it needs before the harsh winter weather arrives.
The following horse care tips will help keep your horse happy and healthy all season long.
Learning how to care for a horse isn’t just about its physical needs. Horse lovers know these animals are far more psychologically sound when they can freely roam around and interact with other horses. If your horse spends the bulk of his time in his stall, you’ll need to stay mindful of his mental health, making sure to keep him active and engaged. Plan to spend plenty of time providing your horse with enrichment opportunities and socialization. If possible, also try to allow your horse to turn out every day, except when weather conditions are extreme.
Since the weather is cooler and there are fewer bugs, the fall is a great time to get out and ride. Just remember to always change a horse’s activity level gradually. This is important whether you’re increasing or decreasing it. If you’re going to start riding more, add intensity and/or duration slowly and then wind it back down before the weather starts to turn too cold. If your horse is coming off a busy show season, you’ll need to get him comfortable with a more relaxed lifestyle. It's also important to plan to keep his joints, muscles, heart, and lungs in shape during the off months.
Horses that are stabled most of the time generally need at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. It’s also important to allow your horse to warm up, as this will help minimize the risk of injury. This may include simply allowing the horse to turn out, then walking or trotting at an easy pace for 10-15 minutes before his daily workout. A cool-down after exercise is necessary as well.
When the temperatures start to dip, it’s time to begin to think about how to keep your horses safe during cold weather. The good news is that horses are inherently ready to handle practically anything that winter can dish out, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The biggest challenge winter horses face is staying out of the wind...
While the summer brings fun in the sun for us, it’s not quite the same for our friends in the animal kingdom. For example, like us humans, some animals are prone to sunburn. Other animals, like horses are prone to overheating. Protecting animals in the heat is a top priority for farmers, trainers, and anyone who works with animals. While animals in the wild can cool themselves down and stay out of the sun, animals in a pen or a pasture sometimes don’t have that luxury. So, what can you do to keep horses and livestock safe from the heat and sun during the summer months?
How Exposure to UVB Rays Adversely Affects Animals
Some animals have natural ways of staying safe from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which cause sunburn in both humans and wildlife. But an overcast sky can be deceiving. As much as 80 percent of UVB rays can pass through the cloud cover, making a sunburn possible even on a cloudy day. While too much sun exposure that causes sunburns increases your chance of developing skin cancer and other skin conditions, it can cause different damage in livestock.
Animals with white or light-colored coats or lots of pinkish skin are worst affected. Areas of burned skin will be red and raised and as it peels, if severe, can become infected especially as the animal may scratch it. Not only would sunburn make the animal feel discomfort but it will affect their overall productivity to some extent. Nutrients in th...
While there’s not much better than riding on a beautiful summer day, too much heat can be dangerous for horses. Caring for horses in warmer weather requires paying extra attention to their needs to prevent serious health and performance issues. Read on to find out how to keep your animals hydrated, healthy, and happy all season long.
What Happens When Horses Overheat?
Horses release heat through sweat just like us. However, their bodies are much more effective at keeping themselves warm than cooling themselves down. Whether racing or galloping through fields, these animals can have difficulty cooling off when exerting high energy for prolonged periods of time, especially on a hot or humid day. Significant heat stress can potentially be fatal for many horses if not monitored. Here are a few warning signs of an overheated horse to watch out for:
Get reliable shade and shelter where your animals need it most
We’ve studied the needs of livestock and equine ranchers, farmers and hobbyists, and found that one of the biggest challenges lies in the ability to provide reliable shade and shelter for animals anywhere in the field.
The Corral Shelter Livestock Shade: Innovation in Equine
Through the years ShelterLogic has manufactured a variety of equine shade and shelter products that provide reliable protection from the elements – but most of these have been designed to remain stationary.
Our latest initiative was to develop a shade that is functional, durable, and with increased portability: one that would be different from our line of Run-In Sheds, but would maintain the same level of quality engineering as our line of equine products.