Farmer: Outdoor animals' deaths preventable despite heat

Posted July 22, 2011 1:45 p.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2011 11:07 a.m. EDT

— With temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s, it's no secret people need to take extra care of their animals that stay outside, including livestock.

Although local farmers haven’t reported any significant losses from the heat, the same can't be said for individual homeowners.

Dennis Coon and his 8-year-old daughter, Natalie, say their turkeys are like family members, which made it even more difficult when they lost one to the heat recently.

“They’re all like pets. We raise the turkeys from eggs,” Coon said.

Natalie has named them all, including three siblings she calls Tumble, Mumble and Bumble.

Recently, the Coons came home and found one of their turkeys dead in the woods.

“We let them out and try to stay in this (shaded) area, (but) we came home and it was too late,” Coon said.

It's a problem poultry farmer Roy Sumner said he's seeing more often with people who keep the birds as pets. He says he's gotten several calls in the past week from people who have lost their pets in the heat.

Sumner sells hundreds of birds to his customers and said he is constantly making sure that the water his birds drink is cool, which can be a challenge on hot days.

“Make sure you run the water, and you test it,” he said. “You touch it yourself because the water can be as much as 110 degrees when it’s coming out of a water hose that’s been laying in the sun.”

Sumner also recommends providing shade for animals and avoiding any people food for the birds, especially in the summer months.