Keeping The Cows Cool

With triple digit weather this week, I have been asked about the health and welfare of our animals.

Last month as we trudged through hay season, we decided that we would not show animals at the fairs this year. The bottom line came down to Mike saying if he was going to show cows he would need to take 2 trailer-loads of critters (10 – 12) in order not make money but at least make enough to offset some of the fuel and time needed to be away from the farm, with my input saying that with the 2 of us, we are not capable of caring and handling 10 or more animals 14 hours at the fair and still coming home each day to care for the ones still here.

Looking back at that decision, I am grateful that we will not be at the Clark County Fair for the weather will be up to 4 days of 100 degree plus temperature this year. Keeping the animals comfortable at the fair means lots of fans and cooling sprays of water while in the barns. Especially younger animals risk getting sick and developing pneumonia within a matter of hours which can spread through the barn. Monitoring for fever and droopy ears needs to go on constantly throughout the day.

One year I had the little bottle-fed orphan Samson at the fair and he was having a difficult time with the heat. Just outside the barn we set up a mister for the fair goers to enjoy as they walked around the area. Samson and I would make hourly walks out to the mister and enjoy the cooling droplets. He was the hit of the fair with kids wanting pictures with them and the calf in the mist.

On the farm it is much easier, we move the herd around to where ever they can have easy access to water and lots of shade, they do the rest.


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