UC Davis undergraduate, 4th year
Major: Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
Jelly Bean taking a rest in my lap
This week has been a tough one, for both the team and all of our plants and animals. A heatwave is passing through California, but it has hit Davis and the surrounding area especially hard. What’s worse is that there is practically no breeze and it is extremely humid, making it difficult for any of us to keep cool
I’ve found that my body is very sensitive to this kind of weather. It really drains me, and it’s hard for me to focus or get enough work done without feeling completely down. The pigs, like myself, are sensitive creatures. Their skin is easily sunburned (although ours live in a sheltered stall, pigs sometimes cover themselves in a layer of mud that acts as sunscreen), they get spooked by unfamiliar sights and sounds, and heat makes them a bit lethargic. Usually, a range of about 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for swine.
Unfortunately, this week has been a sweltering one in Davis. It hasn’t dipped below the 90s in a few days and the highs are mainly in the 100s. So obviously, the wellbeing of the pigs has been on our minds. We had to come up with innovative solutions to ensure that the pigs stayed happy and cool on these scorching days.
First: ice treats. They’re easy to make and the pigs absolutely adore them. Claire and I prepared a couple this week to offer the pigs some form of novelty in this heat.
Second: an extra water bowl twice the size of their others. Romeo seemed to especially enjoy this; Claire caught him flopped in the bowl, taking a little bath when he thought no one was looking.
Third: a water mister! Though the pig stall is almost never exposed to the sun, it does occasionally get hot because there are few opportunities for breezes to flow through it. We do have a fan installed for the pigs, but this week was uncommonly hot, so a mister was very much needed. As soon as we cranked it on, the pigs were visibly more comfortable.
Next week will be cooler, but I’m glad we were able to offer the pigs some relief. Watching them get more comfortable this week has made me want to prioritize my comfort as well. Taking care of your body and mind is a tedious process, especially in weather like this. So, I’ve been actively trying to replenish and conserve my energy and take care of myself to the best of my ability in order to be more efficient, productive, and comfortable.
Green Care Blog
Here you can find blog posts from each Green Care Lab intern. We'll be talking about our research process, the benefits of Green Care therapy, and sharing pictures of our work. Follow along with us!