A brief — but important — public service announcement (PSA):
Sheep and Hot Weather
Short version: Keep sheep in shade with plenty of water and they’ll be quite comfortable.
Long version: It has been hot in California and many places lately. This is the time of year when shearers receive voicemails from folks who are very concerned about the fact that their sheep haven’t yet been sheared, and would like their sheep sheared right now lest they die from the heat.
This is a sign of a caring flock owner, someone genuinely worried about the welfare of his or her animals. Rest assured, sheep can be made quite comfortable until a shearer can get to them. Wool is a breathable fiber, with all its magical qualities even when it’s still on the sheep. Keep the sheep in shade with plenty of water and they’ll be quite comfortable. These two simple things are all you need to do.
If you have a small flock and don’t have a shade structure or an area shaded by trees, get a shade structure like this from Costco or similar. Use movable fencing to pen the sheep beneath it, and move the canopy as needed to move the sheep to fresh grazing area. It’s also a good idea to weight a canopy down so it doesn’t blow away. Shade structures like this are also a bonus for shearers, so we don’t have to be exposed to hot sun! Win win!