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Tuesday
Aug022016

Heat on the Farm

So what does the heat look like on the farm?  

These cows took an unofficial field trip to the creek one particularly hot day this week - we let them stay for the rest of the afternoon until sending them back in the evening.  


Heat can be dangerous for the animals, deadly for the plants and uncomfortable for the farmers -- but in the end, we just all trudge on.  The animals are naturally well-suited for the heat and only need basic needs met and they will do fine when allowed to flourish in natural environments.
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All animals need some relief from the direct sun and they need a constant supply to water.  Each of our animals has certain challenges when it comes to giving them these things.  For instance, pigs have shade in their paddocks, but also need a wallow to be in when it gets really hot because they don't sweat, so even in the shade, they can overheat without the evaporative help of sweat-imitating mud on their skin.  Cattle need a new shade place every day.  They tend to congregate tightly in the shady areas and they become unsanitary very quickly.  Giving them new fresh pasture every day means they never rest in the same contaminated spots as they did the day before.  It also means we have to design each day's pasture with ample access to shade.  The chickens and turkeys on the farm also don't sweat so we try to keep them with shade and they also do best with a good breeze so we try to ensure that their pens are set so the breeze is blowing through.

The farmers are less adaptable.  We change our routines, but end up having to be outside more in the heat because the animals need more frequent moves, larger paddocks, and frequent water checks.  We do afternoon chores a little later in the afternoon since the animals do best if just allowed to rest until early evening when they begin to stir, looking for food and fresh forage.  Living in a house that does not have AC also dictates our schedules.  The house will hold on to the coolness of the evening before until late morning, usually not reaching 90 degrees inside until 11am or so.  Then it's a toss-up whether it's more comfortable to work inside or outside, and it just depends on the agenda for the day.  By about 4-5 pmthe heat has continued to rise inside even though it has begun to cool outside and this is where everyone flees the house for the coolness of the outdoors.  It is always cooler outside in the evenings and most meals and evening entertainment are outside.   Sometimes coming inside for bedtime is a bit of an excruciating thought.  

However, the heat never lasts forever and as Monday showed us, one good thing about a stretch of 95+ days is that suddenly 89 degree days seem like paradise.  

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Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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