In summer, it gets really, really hot here. We can go inside the house or use aircon to cool down, but what about our animals? Chickens swelter in their coop, horses sweat in the paddock, and our dogs dig holes to try and find some relief.
How do we make it more comfortable for our homestead animals, without using electricity? Whether you’re off grid or not, saving electricity is always a good thing. And, it’s a pain to run power wires to a paddock or the chicken coop! In summer, we see months of hot weather so I’ve found some solutions that’ll keep our animals cool.
You can use these ideas to keep yourself cool too!
1. Off-Grid Misting System
Below is a video of Marjory in Texas in the middle of July – 102F in the sun. It’s cooler in the shade, but still 94-98F. That’s hot!
She’s showing us a misting system she’s using for her rabbits. Marjory raises backyard rabbits for meat. She says they’re small, easy to look after, easy to process, and contain a good amount of protein and fat.
Rabbits usually can’t breed when it’s hot. To keep them productive, you need a solution like the misting system in the video. Marjory kept her rabbits all happy and healthy right through the middle of summer.
This off-grid misting system uses the same concept as a flushing toilet. Marjory is experimenting with the pressure. The easiest way, for now, has been to get the water up high. With a small tower or a rooftop tank, you create enough pressure to run some misters.
She’s also experimenting with bicycle pumps, hand pumps, and solar panels to get the pressure up a bit. More pressure – more misters. With enough pressure, you can set this up on a larger scale for yourself too. A nice backup for power cuts or hot off-grid summers!
2. Create Shade and Coolness With Plants
Plants are amazing insulators. They create their own microclimate when you grow them together. In the same way, you can use them to make your homestead animals more comfortable in summer!
Grow them around your rabbit hutches, chicken coops, and dog houses. Use vines to cover the walls and the roof. Make use of deciduous plants (which drop their leaves in winter) to create shade in summer and still let the sun through in winter.
See more: Cool Shade With Fast-Growing Plants
3. Use Trellises
Do you have some cattle fence panels that aren’t used? Some wire or wood you can use to build a trellis or arbor? These are perfect for creating a cool place for your homestead animals.
Here’s an ingenious way of keeping your ducks cool, whilst providing pest control, whilst creating nutritious fertilizer!
4. Lots of Water
Water cools down the area around it. The more water you have around, the more coolness you create. Place a few kiddy pools around the yard for the dogs to play in. My dogs just stand in it – dogs cool themselves from their feet and their tongue.
My chickens love a kiddie pool too, they sit on the edge and have a drink. Place a bathtub full of water in greenhouses to keep the temperature steady. Add some goldfish for bug control and free fish-water-fertilizer!
Don’t go for the inflatable ones. Trust me on this one! Hard, un-puncturable materials only.
How do you keep your animals cool in summer?