Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Baker's Dozen - Fresh From The Oven...Or At Least It Feels That Way

I've spent quite a bit of time in the barn this last week because the weather has been so hot and sooo humid that the sheep are not just miserable, but a couple are really struggling.  Sheep handle cold just fine.  It's the heat that will kill them, especially if they are a little, um, well padded insulated fat.

There are fans in all three areas, but the big barrel fan in the outside stall is the most popular.  And whoever manages to stake their claim to the primo spot in front of it (blocking all the air for everyone else) seems to keep it for the whole summer.  One year it was Graham.  Last year it was Daniel.  This year it's Hershey.

Emily and Casper Belly

Renny, dreaming of being a Liddy babysitter so she could get at all that different crazy lush grass.

And look who's out with "the main prison population".  Yep, that's Jester.  What a funny old guy. Occasionally he asks to go out, so I let him out.  This time he walked up to Woolliam, punched him in the head (I think they are actually friends, so more of a "guy thing") and then over to say hello to Emily, his adopted daughter.  Very sweet.  Now he's listening to Rebecca Boone go on and on about something and he's probably wishing he was back in the retirement paddock ;-).

Maisie is not one of the sheep that I'm most worried about (for a change!).  She seems to be handling the heat okay.  Part of that might be because her tummy is hairy, not woolly.  Bill, the sheep shearer, told me the best way to cool a sheep down is shear off their belly wool and wool around their neck. And if they are in real, immediate trouble, pour cool water over the back of their neck before you do anything else.

"That's nice, but I'd prefer just to drink my water."

Daniel is very hot, but he's trying to sleep it off.

B. Willard is sleeping like a beached whale.  He always does that.

He gave me a scare the other afternoon when I thought he wasn't breathing.  This is not the first time he's done that!

"Yeesh, lady, I keep telling you I'm fine!"

Poor Spud, stuck back there in the corner, has had the most trouble with the heat.  Since Jester seemed to be so much better just moving into the aisleway, I tried that with Spud.  I should have sheared him right then. I thought he seemed better in there, but the second day I realized he wasn't. By that point, even after I sheared him, he was not "right".

He was laying down too much and at odd times, walking stiff legged behind, keeping his back legs close together, having trouble getting his legs in position to lay down.  Luckily I have good sheep gurus and vets to call on and a quick diagnosis of heat stress was made.  

I didn't realize their muscles would "tie up" like a horse in situations like that.  We treated pretty aggressively with IV fluids, vitamins and minerals and anti-inflammatories and I think he's going to be okay.  He's still not 100%, but we have a cool(ish) day predicted for today and I'm hoping that will help.  I'm sorry, Spud :-/.

Baaxter's hot too, but he likes the opened up aisleway.  He's the one who'd been hogging the inside stall's fan, so everyone else likes that he's enjoying the open aisleway, too ;-).

I like this picture of PPPP...

...but I like the story in this one better - her head on the gate, the motion of the shade cloth.  Sadly, I let her be overexposed and by the time I fixed that the breeze disappeared.  The story of summer.  At least the rain has stopped for a few days.  Farmers all over are cutting and baling hay like mad!


  1. Here's hoping you get some cooler weather soon. It makes me sad to see the sheep suffering.

  2. I think humidity adds more stress than just being hot. I noticed my sheep pant more when it is humid vs just hot. Come on winter.

  3. This weather stinks. I keep a kiddie pool so that everyone can cool their feet (or cool from the feet up). My group has been going through water like crazy.

  4. Poor Spud. I wonder if hanging a clothesline and some water soaked sheets behind the fans would help. The air would be cooler that way. We are about to get really hot here...and fun:(

  5. Poor babies! It has been so hot!

  6. Maybe Kentucky can export some of that lush grass in the form of hay to us; everything here is dried up and brown, and we've been feeding hay way too early.

    1. We are really hurting for hay and straw here because nothing got cut for almost 60 days. What's being cut now is not the usual really nice second cutting. It's way overdue first cutting :-(.

  7. Interesting, educational, great photos of the gang...
    Great Post.
    {Hope you are taking good are of yourself in the heat as well.}

  8. I hope you'll be getting some cooler weather soon! Such heat is no fun for anyone.
    Poor Spud, I hope he'll be fine soon.
    Love, ineke

  9. Just a thought after seeing those big fans: We can lower the temperature of the greenhouse a quick 15°-20° by running a mister - like what they sell for your patio. We attached it to cedar planks, then screwed it to the metal frame at the top. It is 24' long and attaches to the hose. We stuck a timer in the connection, so it runs for whatever you set, and with this timer you can run it four set times. I've seen misters with fans. Don't have a clue if it would help. The only other thing I could do is pack up some cool, dry night air....
    Great post ~ great photos! Love the curtain blowing with PPP ~ it must be wonderful to have a pillow with you always :-)

  10. I'm so sorry you have had such a week. Poor sheeps and exhausting for you. These weather patterns are so difficult. We have had no decent rain in weeks so very grateful to have a well to keep our garden alive. I wish cooler days for you very soon.

  11. Poor sheep! We have the porch fan on for the stray cat who adopted us a number of years ago. We've invited her inside (my daughter bravely anointed Luna, who isn't shy about using her claws, with Revolution) but she prefers Outside, on a woven chair. Our only relief is the daily (sometimes two or three times daily!) thunderstorm - at least then, and for 15 minutes thereafter, the temperature drops and even the humidity is bearable. Too bad sheep can't be persuaded to wear those "cooling towelettes" that golfers (like my husband) soak in water and put on their necks - they are supposed to help.

  12. Thank you for the pictures and the update; I was wondering how everyone is doing with this heat. Poor Spud. . . I hope he's feeling better now. It is so nice to see pictures of and hear about some of the gang that we don't see as often, like Renny, Emily, and Casper Belly. I'm sorry everyone is so uncomfortable; I hope you get some relief and cooler days very soon.

    1. Oops. . . . I left out how much I enjoyed the picture of Maisie with the little droplets of water! Wonderful capture!

  13. Poor Spud! Cool air would be nice...I hope you get some.



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