Animals Keep Cool at the Fair

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EUGENE, Ore. — The Lane County Fair is here just in time for some of the hottest days of the year.

You’d think the animal barns would be some of the hottest corners of the fair, but it turns out the livestock have it made.

Between the cross-breeze and the fans and a constant flow of fresh water, the barns are the place to be.

One of the ways they’re keeping things cool at the fair is with a swamp cooler. They have them sprinkled throughout the barns to keep the animals cool.

But even with all that extra wind, the heat still adds pressure for the barn dwellers, which means a little extra work for fair vetrenarian Marea Wilber.

“There’s a little bit of a breeze blowing through here, but it’s going to be 100 degrees on Thursday, and on the tarmack it’s going to get hot,” Wilber said.

But Wilber says owners are some of the best judges of when their animals may be overheated, and they all have different ways of keeping their body temperatures down.

“If you look around there’s fans on the horses, there’s wash racks, people water them down, they’ve got plenty of clean water to drink. They know their animals well enough when they’re starting to get stressed and they will hose them down, turn the fan on,” Wilber said.

As Wilber makes her hourly rounds from the livestock to the poultry, she says the heat gives her a few more indicators to look out for.

“If animals don’t drink enough water–especially horses–they can get dehydrated. A lot of people–when the weather is changing from mild temperatures to very hot–they’ll give salt in their feed to make them more thirsty, so they drink more and they don’t run into dehydration,” Wilber said.

The animals worry about similar set-backs in the heat as humans do, and Wilber says we all need to take extra care when temps are this high.

The last time the weather was hotter than 100 degrees during the fair was 2009 when we hit 101, and this year is working up some stiff and hot competition for that record.

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