Farmers try to ease heat's harms at fair

August 08, 2000

Farmers try to ease heat's harms at fair

By JOSH POLTILOVE / Staff Writer

Pudge looked really sick. She lay down, tired and not wanting to eat anything, and it all had to do with the heat.

The weather in the past few days has made tons of water and fans a necessity for Pudge and the other cows at the Ag Expo just outside of Hagerstown.

It reached 92 degrees Monday, the hottest it has been since June 25, when it was 93 degrees, according to Greg Keefer's Hagerstown weather web site.

"It's cooler (Tuesday), but right now Pudge isn't standing up as well because of the heat," Robert Bowman, her 13-year-old owner, said. "Her back left leg is not puffed up like it should be."


Eight fans blew cool air on the cows Tuesday evening as they stood in their pens at the fair.

No cows or capons on display have died as a result of the heat, but the hot days have led to many changes in the owners' treatment of animals.

Back at Rocky Haven Farm in Clear Spring, Paula Smith and her family's cows are able to walk freely to get water. As a result of the heat at the fair, the family delivers water three times a day to the 13 cows they brought.

Mary is due to deliver any day, and the farmers try particularly hard to keep her as cool and comfortable as possible.

"The heat isn't bothering the cows too much, since there are lots of fans, but we still try to give her plenty of room to lay down and relax," farmhand Allen Hess said.

If Ag Expo were earlier or later in the year, the heat would likely be less. But Publicity Chairperson Joanna Calimer said the fair is always scheduled this week, since there are many fairs throughout the state and they don't want to be scheduled at the same time.

Carroll County's fair was last week, and Montgomery County's is next week, she said.

The capons, or castrated roosters, have weak hearts and even though none have died at the fair, the heat is a big problem for them, Calimer said.

"They're all OK, but we check their water very frequently," she said. "We have to keep our eyes on them."

Bowman pays particular attention to Pudge, who participated in the 4-H Beef Steer Show Tuesday.

"I put a fan on her and try to get her a lot of water," said Bowman. "I also try not to feed her too much corn, because that only makes her hotter."

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