Heat Survival on the Ranch + Grazing Update
Have you been apart of this huge heat wave the last 2 weeks?
We have been in the midst of it! I think we are all finally adjusting a little bit to it and simply trying to get things done early and late into the evening to avoid the worst of it.
Heat can be a real problem for animals so we have been doing a few things different so they can be as comfortable as possible. They also do their work (grazing) in the early mornings and late evenings.
The cows we gave bigger pastures that have lots of shade trees for them and they are set up with clean cool well water to help keep them cool. We don’t ask them to move pastures in the hot part of the day to prevent stressing them out.
The pigs get hosed down daily and always have a mud hole to wallow in and stay nice and cool. Thank goodness for our new well and hydrants in their pastures making this a far easier job for us!
The chickens, we have lowered their ration to keep them cooler because when their digestion is working full time, they produce a TON of heat. We have really noticed a difference this year in doing this. Also, they are in nice tall grass that covers the soil and keeps it nice and cool for them.
Finally, the horses, they are a big part of the ranch! Also, they are super sensitive to flies and the heat. I have set it up, so they have a little barn to get into that they love and I rotate their grass from it. I have been most surprised about how well they are grazing the pastures. Usually, they pick 1 or 2 spots in the pasture and graze it to the dirt and another spot to stand and swat flies in. For some reason, having the central resting spot has made them go out and graze the pasture evenly…I am super excited to see how this continues! I might need to get a portable shelter out there and graze around it, so they only ruin a couple spots of the pasture and not 1 each day.
Another observation I have made with these last 2 weeks of heat is that having the ground cover like we do (mature grass) in most pastures is doing a fantastic job of keeping the soil cool and moist. In the past when we wouldn’t get rain for a couple day the ground would harden so fast and complete that we couldn’t get the step-in post in. This time, while not as easy as after 1in of rain, it is still possible to get them in with your body weight. The spots that are maybe a little thinner or no ground cover (like roads) there is no way you are getting that post in without a hammer!
So that has been very encouraging for us to be able to see some of the benefits we were told would come. We are looking forward to the slightly cooler 85 degree days coming up in the forecast, maybe even a little rain!