MOUNT VERNON — As the Knox County Fair kicked off Sunday, steaming temperatures created some extra concerns for exhibitors who have animals at the fair.
In the small animal barn, Trenton Buckingham of the Buckeye Bunch 4-H club pointed to the steps he and his fellow poultry exhibitors have taken to keep their fowl comfortable.
“We keep the fans on them,” he said, “and have to make sure they have ample water to drink.”
Extra fans were also operating in the swine barn. Olivia Mast, JCJ 4-H club, said swine are sensitive to the heat. Besides getting sunburn, the hogs can lose weight from excessive heat. Olivia said it is important to spray them off a lot during the day, to keep the fans running and to make sure the pigs have extra water to drink.
Goats are prone to dehydration in hot weather, said Michaela Frye of the Creative Kids 4-H club. They are also susceptible to heat stroke, so Michaela and her fellow goat owners had fans going full tilt. Michaela said they also make sure the animals have plenty of fresh water, tarps for shade if necessary and give them a lot of baths to cool them down.
Knox County goat guru Deb Rudolph said those measures are important because goats don’t sweat. She said they cool down mostly through their ears and mouth breathing. The horns also serve as a cooling system, she said, and close clipping of the animals’ hair also helps them stay cool.
The cow barns also had extra fans going. Tammy Wilson said heat is a big concern for cattle owners. She said they were making sure the animals have extra water, were kept in the shade as much as possible and were given “plenty of cool-off showers.”
Morgan Jessup, Knox County Draft Horse and Pony 4-H Club, said that since draft animals can’t work as hard in high temperatures, it is vital to make sure they don’t get overheated. Morgan said a horse that is overheated will have excessive sweating and heavy breathing and needs extra breaks and extra water to cool down.