Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How do you celebrate 'Stress Awareness Day'?

Are you stressed? If you are like most of us, you probably are most of the time. If not, you're lucky and I wish I could be more like you. Between jobs and trying to balance everything else in life, it seems like stress is everywhere. However, it's all about how you deal with it.

So what are some healthy and productive ways to cope with stress? One of my favorites is to go for a nice, long run. It clears my head and makes me feel a lot better. Not into running? Anything that gets you moving and increases your heart rate will work. Even a massage will decrease stress. Now that sounds like a great idea!

Sign up for a race to boost motivation! This was from a half marathon I ran with a friend in 2012.
Just like people, cows can experience stress too. How, you may ask? They lay comfortably in the pasture or in a barn all day where they have access to food and water whenever they want and can socialize with other cows all day long. Sounds like a great life, huh?

One word sums up a lot of stress cows face: WEATHER!

People generally don't like drastic fluctuations in temperature and humidity or extreme temperatures and neither do cows. Farmers do a lot to minimize heat stress in the summer by keeping cows cool and increasing ventilation.

What are some specific ways to minimize heat stress for cows?
  • Fans
  • Misters/sprinklers (even better if you combine fans and misters for evaporative cooling)
  • Maximize ventilation in barns
  • Some barns also have an open ridge to allow heat to escape (heat rises and this gets rid of it)
  • Provide trees or some type of structure for shade in the pastures
  • Ensure LOTS of clean, fresh drinking water is available 
Cold stress isn't as bad, but farmers definitely take this into consideration by providing adequate shelter and food and water. Some barns have curtains on them that can be closed to keep cold air out. Cows appreciate this.

Cows enjoy temperatures between about 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Ironically this is the temperature of western Washington most of the time. Maybe we should start saying happy cows come from western Washington :-)

I love cows with personality...2375 definitely has an awesome personality!
How to you decrease stress? Either for yourself or perhaps for animals on your farm?

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