Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Chores

Summer animal care is all about water and shade. We add electrolytes to the buckets to encourage the critters to drink lots and lots of water. This powder is chock full of yummy cherry-flavored calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and salts.


Alpacas, genetically suited for the frigid Andes mountains, need to keep cool with fans and sprinkler romps. These guys nearly mow me over for their turn at the hose.


An odd sight this early in the summer: earth cracks. You can pour water down into these things for hours, and never fill them up.


The chickens have numerous ways to deal with the blistering summer heat, like custom water buckets:


and naps in the cool dirt:


Thankfully, this heat wave hasn't slowed egg production significantly... yet.


And the guinea keets are growing well. They're getting new feathers every day. These little guys have been so easy to care for so far. Confirmation of several lessons I've learned in the past: 1) don't put too many chicks into a small space - keeping up with their growth is a never-ending battle, and 2) only brood in the summer when they can be kept outside, and without a heat lamp. Epic win.


There's always the everyday chores like mucking the barn. This is even more important during the hot weather, since the alpacas hide out here most of the day. Nobody likes to lounge in poo.


Hot weather encourages flies. To keep their numbers down, we keep the barn clean and populate the barnyard with fly predators - tiny wasps that eat fly larvae. These little guys look like ants with wings, and don't bite or sting. This is the second year I've used them, and I'm really happy with the results. I have a "subscription" and they send me a new batch every month during hot weather. Biological warfare - yep.


The Gulf Coast Native sheep and the Jacob sheep earn their keep at this time of year, suited as they are for hot weather. Wool grows on their backs and sides, but their bellies, legs, and even their throats are wool-free, helping them stay much cooler than their woollier friends.


Judah, unfortunately, is covered with "wool" from head to toe. I've brushed a lot of his undercoat out, and he sleeps in the shade most of the day. No sign of real distress so far - he's not gone off his food, or neglected his guarding.

This boy constantly amazes me. He's the biggest snuggle bug on the entire property. What a treasure he is to me.

As I write this, a little bit of blessed rain is falling. The forecasters say we shouldn't even get to 90 degrees today. Tomorrow the blistering heat is supposed to return, but for now, we're all enjoying this brief relief.

4 comments:

  1. Hey I would like the info on the little wasp guys! My house is over-come with those flying pest!!

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  2. Brenda - go here for all the info on the fly predators:
    http://www.spalding-labs.com/

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  3. Dang, I love that farm! THANKS!!

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  4. Great photos! We still, this is now Sunday, haven't received any rain on my side of town.
    Glad you had a bit.

    ReplyDelete