Yes, the past week has been hellish temperatures. Sunday hit a high of 115 degrees of drenching, sweaty humidity and it has only slightly come down since then. Fortunately this misery is very uncommon. Last summer we only had a handful of days above 100 degrees and only slightly above 100. While we retreat inside to the inefficient coolness of the swamp cooler, it’s the poor animals that really have to deal with the heat.
Heat is really hard on animals and it shows in weight loss, lower milk production, problems breeding and even death. We happily didn’t lose any animals in this massive heat wave, but it’s something we worry about. We check the animals water multiple times a day and make sure the pigs have a nice muddy wallow. Last year we lost a pig to the heat because one of our workers didn’t check the water. We learned a hard lesson then. Some people fill soda bottles with water, freeze them and put them in with their animals-particularly chickens or rabbits which are very susceptible to the heat. Shade is a necessity, but fat chance your horse will ever use it. Ours stood out in the sun even at the peak of the heat. They stood there sweating with shade only a few feet away.
And don’t forget that old, sick (or ones who have been sick in the past), big and dark colored animals are much more susceptible to the heat. Take extra care with these guys.