How can farmers and landowners provide shade for animals?
Planting the right trees in the right position is critical
Natural shelter belt planting must provide adequate foliage and canopy protection and windbreaks for the benefit of farmed animals, which must take into consideration shelter from sun/hail and other weather events at all times of the day, including that provided by artificial shelters.
Natural shelter belts must offer enough shade shelter for all animals to be protected at any one time and to lie down simultaneously with enough additional space to ensure easy airflow between all animals without overcrowding.
When planning your property adding additional trees can provide huge benefits! Well planned and planted trees offer the best shade and shelter for all animals as well as assisting with soil conversation, biodiversity and improving both the aesthetic and capital value of your land.
Here is a guide by Miguel Altieri http://agroeco.org/miguel-altieri/ Univeristy of California, Berkley – on ways to tackle looming food and water shortages and increase land productivity.
Things to consider:
- Are your trees planted in the right orientation to offer maximum shade in the hottest part of the day?
- Do your trees offer enough foliage to help with shade and UV protection? Current laws offer no protection.
- Do you have enough trees for all the animals on your property? Large animals need enough shade to lie down with enough room between them to allow for airflow without crowding.
- Do you have any trees that could be toxic to animals when ingested?
What are Wildlife Corridors?
Wildlife corridors are habitat corridors, or green corridors and form areas of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures. On private and public land they can link areas of natural habitat for wild animals to move freely, find shelter, food and water. They allow for an increase in gene flow between small and fragmented populations which is important for maintaining the biodiversity of the many at-risk local populations both in Australia and around the world.
Wildlife corridors can also provide farm animals with shade shelter if they are in a postition that ensures protection from the sun as it moves in the sky during the day; corridors also provide important wind breaks which reduce the chill factor. Established corridors create micro climates which contribute to rainfall and the reduction of temperatures having a direct impact of drought on the surrounding community.
Wildlife corridors are essential for a healthy environment for wildlife. Sadly poor management, policy and the absence of long term planning has left many properties with little or no trees and Farm Animals are left without shade/shelter and wildlife are stripped of habitat – all of which has contributed to our current Wildlife extinction crisis.
Things to consider:
- Do you have unused areas of your property that could be densely planted?
- Can animals move safely across your property without crossing roads?
- Can your animals access shaded areas safely?
- Do you have a local conservation or nature trust you can work with to help expand or develop a Wildlife Corridor?
Providing Shelter Quickly
While nothing compares to the numerous benefits of natural solutions, those solutions take time to plan, plant and grow. In these cases where you need to provide shelter for animals quickly artificial shelters certainly serve a purpose.
1. Artificial shelters must offer species specific suitable protection from the sun at all times of the day with a capacity for animals to move about, lay down without overcrowding and performing usual movements and functions in shelter with adequate airflow. Clearly, larger animals must have larger shelters and will be dependent upon the numbers of animals;
2. Steel Iron and roofing must be white or painted a light colour to reflect the sun;
3. Any shade structure should be high enough to allow animals to stand freely, to lay down, to move about with species specific size requirements, and large enough to offer adequate air flow when the animals are at resting or laying down;
4. All shelter must offer protection with enough space for all animals to lie down simultaneously.
5. Any shade structure must offer sufficient protection to reduce scattered solar UVR.
6. There must be adequate shade for animals at the outside edge of shade structures to protect animals that will be exposed to greater scattered UVR.
7. There must be adequate airflow with a capacity to provide open sides in warm weather.
8. In cooler months artificial shelters must provide adequate protection from wind chill, hail and other weather events
1. Shade cloth must be of a standard that meets the UVE standard rating for animals which is :
– Shade cloth must provide the highest UVE rating to prevent heat pain. A UVE standard rating of 95% is listed as most effective; and
– Shade cloth must be upgraded if it no longer offers a suitable UVE rating.
– Shade cloth must be of a colour and material that best reflects the heat.
Things to consider:
Any shelter must provide adequate air flow with free access to move in and out of the shelter with enough room for all animals to lie down
YouTube & Pintrest have a variety of videos and tutorials on making DIY shelter and shade for farms