We’re Having a Heatwave!

2016-07-06 14.15.30When the “feels like” temperature reaches above 90 or 100, like it has this week, we urge our employees to drink plenty of water and we supply them with free popsicles to keep them cool. We also make sure that our animals get the same treatment. Animal popsicles and fans to the rescue! They all get the royal treatment! Animals can become stressed in extreme heat and they don’t all have sweat glands like we do. Freezing their favorite snacks in water not only keeps them entertained, it also keeps them hydrated. The chickens and rabbits love herbs and fruit combinations and the angora goats thoroughly enjoy cabbage and peach popsicles.

IMG_2517 Our sheep really appreciate their industrial-size fan that gives them a breeze on a sweltering day. And there’s nothing better than a cool foot bath as far as Equinox, our alpaca, is considered!

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Check out our chickens discovering their first popsicle! The first chicken just jumps right on it while the others are a little more tentative but in the end, they loved their frozen snack: Chickens and Popsicles

Stay cool out there, it’s going to be another hot week!

How Our Farm Critters Beat the Heat

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When you work outside, there’s no escaping summer heat… but we all have our favorite coping strategies. (“Rearranging the cooler” becomes the most coveted task of all!) For our resident animals, surviving the summer heat can be a real challenge, and part of our job is to make them as comfortable as possible. It turns out that animals use many of the same strategies humans do to stay cool!

Here are the top five ways critters beat the heat:

  • CHILL OUT! Perhaps most obvious is that many of our animals shift from spring frolicking to summer lounging. Sure, they still run and play some, but they spend a LOT of time lying around. And, like your pooch, they pant to cool off.
  • SHADE! We provide lots of options for shade. Generally, the preferred spots are those that, like the tarps, the wagon and the “bus,” allow the cross breeze while blocking the rays.IMG_0319
  • WATER! Our critters drink a LOT of water to stay cool. Sometimes, you’ll even see the alpacas dipping their front legs in to cool off.
  • ICE! We don’t let our animals into the walk-in coolers, but we bring the cool to them! Every afternoon, you’ll find our rabbit snuggled up with a frozen water bottle. Lucas Cox has been known to ice the animals’ water bowls, although rumors about him blending up smoothies for the alpacas have not been confirmed.
  • HAIRCUTS! Some of our especially furry friends get special hairdos to keep them cool. Chewie, our resident llama, gets a particularly striking new look. The alpacas, sheep and angora goats all are sheared, and their fiber is spun into yarn.

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We hope all critters, great and small, find a way to stay cool in this week’s heatwave!  Don’t forget to provide your own pets with water and shade!

 

An Interview With a Lamb Dad

IMG_6280Father’s Day is just a day away and I think it’s important to acknowledge and honor all types of dads.  Surrogate dads, father figures, etc., one may even qualify for the moniker of…”Lamb Dad”!  Such is the case of Lucas Cox, Co-Farmer-in-Chief here at Cox Farms.   Unlike his sister, Aaron (the other Co-Farmer-in-Chief), who definitely is a goat person, Lucas leans toward the more exotic, wooly animals.  Chewie, the llama, Ivan and Hamlet, the angora goats and Equinox and Quincy, the alpacas, are all Lucas’s “kids”.  The newest members to Cox Farms are two precious lambs that were born in mid-May.  They’re the offspring of two of Lucas’s Bluefaced Leicester sheep, pronounced blue-faced Less-ter, just to keep you in-the-know.  Yesterday, I spent some time with Lucas and the sheep and lambs and let me just say, they are easy to love!

Q:  Let’s be honest, it’s no secret that we all thought these were odd looking sheep!  Why this breed of sheep?

A:  Come on, they’re cute now, right?  It’s all in the eye of the beholder.  Some people may not think I’m cute, either.  Their wool is great.  That’s what this breed is known for, their long wool and blue/purple pigmented skin underneath the wool.

Q:  I’ll give you this – those babies are adorable.  What’s up with the wool thing?  You don’t strike me as a knitter.

A:  My wife is the knitter in the family.  You know, Chewie has won awards for his fiber.  It’s amazing stuff.

Q:  Back to those lambs-they’re a month old, but last time I checked, you hadn’t chosen names for them.  Any decision?

A:  Yeah,  I wanted to stick with the theme that was started with the three adult sheep,  named Pilsner, Smuttynose and Porter.  Staying on that path, The little female lamb’s name will be India and the boy is Stout.

Q:  So, who’s the favorite?

A:  Come on, I can’t pick a favorite!  You love ’em all the same, right?

Spoken like a true dad, even if the babies are all four legged.IMG_6272

To learn and see more about the animals at Cox Farms, visit our website: http://www.coxfarms.com/about/animals.aspx

 

It’s Baby Season on the Farm! No Kidding!

Spring on the farm is special for many reasons, but when it comes to cute,  baby goats are head and shoulders above the petunias.  You don’t even have to be a “goat person” to fall in love with the wee ones.  I speak of what I know, because, I am technically NOT a card carrying “goat person”.  There are several “goat people” on the farm, one, who’s first name starts with two vowels, is the Chairperson of the Board of Goat People.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like goats, but as the animal rule book defines us, I am a pig person.  Given that distinction, I can’t help but get a little soft when a new kid arrives.  Spring brings babies and three have been born in the last two days.  All three are uber adorable.  Plus, unlike a piglet, they like to be held, sometimes.  Pigs have an innate fear of their feet leaving the ground, hence the expression, “When pigs fly”.  Learn something new everyday!

Now, back to the kids!  Take a look at these photos and video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERxpNi4NGc8IMG_4960IMG_4921IMG_4906IMG_4883

 

Cute, right?  Come down to the Corner Market and see them.  Who knows, there may be a kid born today!

Little Diddy about Jackie and Roseanne

Jackie (left) and Roseanne: “say chèvre!”

New baby goats always steal the show, but our adult goats have great stories to tell. Meet sisters Jackie and Roseanne. Like many human twins, they share a very special bond, and they have remained inseparable into adulthood.  In fact, they recently gave birth only one day apart, so they’re even sharing their adventures in motherhood!  (It has been a bit alarming that they seem far more interested in each other than in their kids, but so far everyone is thriving.) Whether they’re sleeping, eating, exploring or grazing, you can always find Roseanne and Jackie together, as they are seldom more than a foot or two apart.

Jackie and Roseanne, the inseparable twin sisters