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One of the most common questions from new packers is how to deal with summer heat when packing. I thought I'd start a thread to see what everyone does to help during the hot summer months. We travel very early in the day and usually stop by mid afternoon. If we still have lots of trail to cover then we may cover a few more miles in the evening before setting up camp. Over heated goats will really slow you down so giving them a break during the middle part of the day helps you get farther down the trail in the end. Picking the Right goats will help as well.
 

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I start early when it´s cool, and just shut down when it gets too hot. Normally I go to high country in hot weather anyway. It´s cooler up there and so the heat isn´t as much of a problem anyway. The low country is hotter in the summer, but not so cold in winter. So that´s where we do our winter hiking.

Water becomes a major issue in hot weather hiking, too. During cool weather the goats may not need any water at all, but when it´s hot they do. My summer hiking and packing always involves water. The people and the goats need it. So we always go someplace that has a stream and good drinking water. Without natural water you would have to pack it all in, and that just seems too miserable to me.

Where I live there is a great variety of terrain, so using the lower warmer country in the winter, and the high cool country in the summer is pretty easy to do.
 

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I, too, start early, make a long break during midday and early afternoon and then walk some more into the evening.

Also, I try to have most of the trail running through woodland - easy to do here :)

edit: the most problems that occur here is during spring and autumn when the goats still/already have their winter coat and therefore overheat much more easily than in their summer coat.
 

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Cuzco's coat isn't very long, but it's incredibly thick even in the summer so we've always given him a shave every May. I use a clipper guard and shave down to about an inch--not nearly as short as a show goat, but it takes off about 2/3 of the hair. He seems to appreciate this a lot. I also take time to brush out all that fluffy winter undercoat. I leave his dorsal stripe unshaven so he can keep his oh-so-intimidating hackles in case he is ever threatened by a ferocious kitten or a goat-eating bunny rabbit (Cuzco is such a tough guy!). Also, if I shave his back too close he can get sunburned by the intense high altitude sunshine we have here in Colorado.

I always notice an immediate difference in Cuzco's comfort and energy level as soon as he's been shaved, especially if I'm driving him a lot. The only slight problem is that flies may bother him a bit more. We don't have a terrible fly problem so it's not a huge deal, but I do try to keep a bit of fly spray on him during those days when the bugs get bad. On the other hand, we do have a terrible tick problem and a short coat is much, much easier to find ticks under.
 

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I haven't used them on the goats yet, but I picked up some rolled bandannas that have the absorbent stuff from diapers sewn into them. You soak them in water and they expand, then you wear them around your neck to cool the blood in your jugulars.

I use them myself in hot weather and sent a case of them to the troops in Iraq a few years ago.

I figured the goats would appreciate them as well in extreme conditions like southern Utah. I figure that waddles help cool the blood so helping cool the waddles kinda makes sense.

Has anyone tried a damp "horn sweater"? Slide it on the horns to provide evaporative cooling. Maybe for our next Death Valley Trip ;-)
 

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My ober boys drink water from the tops of sports bottles. You can keep your load balanced by moving the bottles around. I also use one of those nylon collapsable dog bowls for them to drink out of. At a creek I fill it with dilute gatorade to encourage drinking.
IdahoNancy
 
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