I have noticed that the alpacas aren't drinking much water, considering the crushing heat. In fact, I decided all the animals needed more hydration. But the problem is, you can lead a chicken to water, but (say it with me) you can't make her drink. Or can you?
Electrolytes to the rescue. Last year the temps never did what they've done all this week - stay at or near 100 degrees. So I never really had to worry about forcing liquids on the critters. I did add some apple cider vinegar to the water buckets to keep the algae down, and maybe once or twice I added some Gatorade powder to give them some added punch. But today I went to the feed store and brought back heavy-duty electrolyte powder for all the animals' water buckets. We are going to stay hydrated. The electrolyte solution contains salts, calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc., to help adjust the body's chemical balance and fluid demand. Drinking this encourages the animals to drink more. Dehydration is a killer, and I'm not going to let it visit our farm.
I dosed every water container on the place, including the bucket that catches drips under the water faucet (the cat and the chickens drink out of it) so that every animal will get the benefits of these life-giving minerals. Fortunately, the pink powder has cherry flavoring in it (no sugar) and by late afternoon, I saw water intake nearly double all over the property! Yay!
I've taken other heat relief steps, like propping up the long metal doors on the chicken tractors to vent out more hot air. The chickens have taken to laying their eggs in the grass rather than in the nests because it's just so darn hot. That is to say, WHEN they lay eggs, they lay them in the grass. Today, instead of 19 or 20 eggs, I collected 6. Uh oh. Production is screeching to a slow crawl. So if you count on my girls for eggs, we may have to buy from the store a little more often through this awful weather.
Every season brings its challenges on the farm. In this season, we battle spontaneous combustion.
In happier news, I have a great reason to sit in the air conditioning a good bit of tomorrow - I learned that I've been invited to two baby showers in the next little while (the first one is Sunday!) so I need to work up some cute gifts. This evening, I cast on a little baby hat with some yarn I dyed in a pickle jar in the sun. Appropriately, it's a sunny yellow-orange, with enough variegation to give it a little interest. I'll post finished pictures, since I have to give it away on Sunday. Knitting.... I remember those days.... ahhh.