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Beating the Summer Heat

I love the heat! I’m comfortable even on the hottest days of the year… The cold is what I have trouble with (if you were following us last winter you are well aware of this!). The animals however don’t deal with the summer as well as I do. We have to take certain precautions to make sure that they are safe and healthy even in the hottest temperatures.

The goats deal with the heat the best. We just have to make sure they have constant fresh water and shade. During the hottest parts of the summer we may have to come out several times a day to make sure the water buckets are filled. A few summers ago, when we were dealing with extreme heat, I witnessed a bucket of water emptied in front of me between the llamas and goats. We have several buckets spread around. We always keep at least one in the barn and one in the pasture.

The chickens will tell you when they are too hot. They pant and egg production may go down. In very extreme heat chickens may become listless, which is a sign that they could be in danger of heat stroke. We help our chickens deal with the heat by making sure they always have fresh water, occasionally we will add ice to the water to keep it cooler longer, we give them frozen fruit and veggies to eat, and give them fruits with high water content like watermelon. It is also important that chickens have shade and space to dust bathe since this can help them regulate their temperature.

In the spring we shear both llamas to prepare them for the summer and like with the rest of the animals we make sure they always have fresh water and shade. Afton, our cream colored llama, does fairly well in the heat. He dust baths a lot, but is no where near as miserable as our black llama, Blue. Poor Blue struggles in the heat, so at least once a day, on the really hot days, we go out and hose Blue off. He loves to stand in the running water.

Heat can be very harmful to animals. It is extremely important that you take measures to keep your animals safe in the heat. For most fresh water and shade is enough, but keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t need further help.

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