« Say Hello to Elegance | Main | Somebody is getting rich on the farm - but not who you think! »
Monday
Jul242017

Somebody say it's hot out there?

Excessive HEAT WARNING -- Avoid outdoor activities*
*unless you are a farmer
Well, it comes every year -- right on schedule. SUMMER. Granted some years, like this summer,  it comes in gentle and warm.  Just enough to let you know meals should be cooked outside and are best enjoyed on the porch.  This summer had the added bonus of wonderful and amazing rain that came in nice digestible portions well spaced out.  Inevitably though -- summer heat ramps up and we have to be prepared.  This last week has definitely required that preparation as the dew point has been in the high 70's to more than 80 degrees almost every day.  For the animals, that high dew point is the real stressor because it makes breathing harder and negates their body's natural abilities to cool themselves.  

It makes me chuckle, just a little bit, when the news reports say it's going to be so hot outside that we should avoid outdoor activities.  There must be an implied asterisk there, that states unless you are a farmer.  When it gets that hot, farmers don't get to take the days off, instead the work is a little harder since the animals need to be taken care of more closely in order to stay healthy and happy. 


Cattle generally do really well in hot weather but prefer to have shade so we try to plan our grazing so they have daily access to shade.  This can be challenging when you use rotational grazing and they get moved to new pastures every single day.  The pastures have to be planned to include a portion of shade for each day.  Cattle also drink more water during the day.  Our cattle that are at a leased property right now need to have water hauled to them.  During hot days -- each full grown cow can drink in excess of 10 gallons of water per day. 


Pigs have the hardest time in heat if not given shade.  Mud is not required but does help tremendously.  SInce pigs don't sweat, the moisture from the mud evaporating can be very cooling.  



Chickens adapt very well to the heat, finding shade as they range around the pastures.  Unfortunately, one of the adaptations also used by chickens in the heat is to not produce as many eggs.  Our chickens have dropped production by about 80%.  We realize many of you are not getting all of the amazing pastured eggs from our ladies that you are used to.  

For all the animals, the key to thriving in the heat is an ample and always available supply of clean drinking water.  We have been very appreciative of the solar powered water system that we installed two years ago.  It ensures there is an almost endless supply of fresh water available to all the animals all the time!

 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
Keep in touch with the farm
* indicates required