The heat is on here in Marietta, Georgia and our #1 focus right now is keeping our animals and ourselves cool. This revolves around water and then shade.
Of all the creatures, our most vulnerable to heat would be our rabbits. Our breeders are in suspended cages in the barn which keeps them somewhat cooler with air circulation and allows them to distribute their body heat. As rabbits heat up, they get REALLY lethargic, expending as little energy as possible. Our growers on pasture will dig down to cool themselves in the earth. Each pen (a.k.a. Hare Razrs) has an elevated platform that they can lay on so they can dissipate their heat in all directions like the breeders. We’ve put a tarp over the open section of the Hare Razrs and I am considering just fully roofing them off so the rabbits can always have as much shade as possible.
Our broiler chicks are my next concern. They are currently housed in the old corn crib, which looks like a really small silo. It’s made of metal so of course it absorbs all of the heat from the sun. They will be getting a tray with some frozen bottles of water. we’ll put just an inch of water in the tray to give them a wading pool to cool off in.
For the cows, I moved them to an extra large paddock so they will have plenty of access to shade. They will also have more grass to choose from since the broad leaf grasses are wilting.
Our layers are free range so they will seek out the shadiest, coolest spots on the farm. We’ll drop a frozen bottle in their water to keep it from becoming too hot to drink.
As for us, the kids like nothing better than to play in the sprinkler.