Its going to be 100 degrees today and luckily I’m home to help the chickens make it through the day. They have already made it through the last two days of 96 degrees. They are very tough birds! But then again I picked Rhode Island Reds because they are known to tolerate both extreme hot and cold. And today they made it to 100 degrees and still managed to chase bugs without skipping a beat! Impressive!
Last year, with the old flock, I made frozen treats with berries. RIP old flock that had a run in with a fox. I admit, we snacked those ladies too much. They grew so fast we had problems with heart attacks in the heat. So this flock will not sucker me into given them a lot of cracked corn. Too much candy! Anyway, these girls are going to get only the best! Fresh organic veggies straight from the garden! Today’s menu consists of chopped zucchini and lettuce covered with water and frozen into a cake pan!
Of course the girls were fascinated by the treat but too scared to eat it! I was so frustrated and concerned with them cooling off! You can hear it in my voice in the video!
But after I left them alone, they finally realized how good it was, because the tin I placed it in was completely beat up! It must have been a hit!
It took me awhile to write this post because I’m still a little choked up. I lost my 2 biggest girls 2 days apart last week. As my vet said, funny thing about chickens is sometimes they just die!
As some of you know it was very hot last week, over 90 degrees the whole week and reached 100 degrees at least once. Chickens usually do well until it starts to go over 85. That’s when shade sails and fans come into play to keep it shady and the air moving. We wet down the run with water to cool the soil and the girls will dig a shallow hole and lay in it like your dog does to beat the heat. We put ice in their waterer and snack them with frozen blue berries. I even cut up slices of zucchini and froze it in a cake pan of water to give them something cold to peck on.
I’m telling you this because the only thing these 2 beautiful girls had in common is they were both the largest girls in the hen house. Our Black Aussie was the one who gave Stewart the rooster a run for his money on Valentines Day as she was a lot bigger than him. I don’t think he ever outgrew her. She was a vey heavy girl and a challenge to pick up! Same with our Buff. This was a picture of her last year but she got so big this year she waddled everywhere she walked.
I just think the heat was a little too much for the two girls.The vet explained overheating can cause a heart attack. So sad……..
I know what you are thinking. Didn’t you already have shade cloth on your chicken run?Yes, it has shade cloth but the ladies were still too warm! So what do you do when you want to make the ladies feel better? You overkill it!
We found a few shade sails and strategically hung them inside the run, the ladies are sooo much happier! There just wasn’t enough room under the tables for all 27 of them.
To also help them stay cool they got some trays of water with frozen strawberries floating them and watermelon rind…Yum!
Watch the ladies beating the heat under their new shade sails on their YouTube Channel!
It’s 95 degrees today and the poor girls look very hot. Beaks hanging open, meandering around trying to find a spot in the deep shade. I knew this hot summer day was coming so pre-made a little treat that would help cool them off when the time came.
I found recipes from a few other blogs and decided to try it out. With many different types of cake pans I couldn’t resist making a frozen treat in a Christmas tree cake pan. It reminded me of the freezing cold winter which sounds pretty good right now!
The pan was filled with berries and chopped apples, then water was poured in until the pan was full. Sitting in the freezer for a couple days made it rock hard. This was perfect for crazy hot hens with fierce pointy beaks. They also needed a little entertainment.
The chickens are usually scared of anything new in their space and this was no different. They were so reluctant to walk up to it I had to encourage them by sprinkling their favorite scratch on it.
They carefully snuck up on the tree and delicately pecked off the scratch. Once they realized it wasn’t going to bite them it was a hit! The goal became to get through the ice to get themselves a berry. When one of the hens got to one they picked it up and immediately ran across the other side of the run with the others in chase! Rather than peck for their own berry, they’d rather steal the one everyone is after!
Silly girls. But at least their cool treat cooled them off!
Watch the girls as they try out their treat on their YouTube Channel:
It quickly jumped from winter to summer and we are hitting 90 degrees! Chickens can die from being in 85 or higher weather for a long time. The girls really stressed out last year anytime it went over 85 degrees so we did things a little different this year. We bought a shade cloth online to not only cover the top of the run but also the west side of the fence. It blocks out 60% of the sun and makes the run feel much cooler. The awning over the the coop door is just a tarp with the white side facing out to reflect the sun. It casts a shadow over the west side of the coop during the hottest time of the day.
Last year the girls had a hard time dealing with the high temperatures. You could tell they were hot when they wandered around with their beaks hanging open.You feel so bad for them! Its so nice to see only a few of the girls with open beaks this year. They are so much happier and I no longer have to worry about them!
One of the biggest surprises I had when I watched the chickens grow up was how enormous their feet are! They really are BIG! Seeing their first footprints in the snow made me laugh so hard you can see one of the girls looking at me as if asking “What’s the matter with you?!”
Luckily we knew ahead of time when the first snow of the season was coming. The girls had been having such a long summer and the temperature never dropped below 40 degrees. They predicted temperatures to go up to 80 degrees and then drop to 15 degrees overnight! Poor girls could not physically handle that kind of change without help. A lot of people had ads up trying to quickly sell their chickens before the snow came. I think the hobby backyard chicken people were a little overwhelmed over how to take care of their chickens in the winter!
We quickly jumped into action. We first pulled out the red heating lamps we got when they were baby chicks. We definitely needed heat since the girls haven’t been under 40 degrees. We need to slowly wean them down to the high 20s which I understand is very normal for them to live in. Looking at the hanging lights, I remembered the chicken that flew up into the tree a couple weeks earlier. I could see our crazy girls trying to land on the lights and shattering them. I definitely don’t want them to start the coop on fire!
Hubby researched the latest heating technology and found thin flat panel heaters that looked like a TV! I’m impressed! Not too expensive either. Bought a couple, tried them out and they ended up being a great addition to the Tajmacoop!
The snow came and the temperature dropped to 15 degrees. The coop temperature however, was at 33 degrees. Yay!
To keep with our regular daily schedule, I got a large cup full of cracked corn, tossed it just outside the chicken door, then opened the door for the hens. Like usual, the hens came running out. Looking at the snow in shock, they pecked a little, had a hard time finding the corn, gave up and went running back inside!
So I set the girls up for a day inside and tossed chicken crack all over the floor of the coop. They starting scratching and kicking up a cloud! I quickly shut them up and went to work. Hubby got home before me and when I pulled up he had a warning. “It looks like Los Angeles in there!” Those chickens had kicked up so much dust I’m surprised they could breath!
We went straight from winter into summer heat and we don’t have air conditioning in this old farm house…..ooooof! Can you imagine what it’s like to be a young hen starting to grow a ton of feather and getting your first 95 degree day?!!! It’s not much cooler in the coop than it is outside. The shade cloth roof helps a lot, but wow the heat came on suddenly. It’s a good thing I did my homework when I bought my chickens. I picked heat tolerant chicks including Buff Orphingtons and Australorpes. The Aracaunas…not so much but hey….they lay blue eggs! I had to make an exception to see how that works!
Did you know that chickens can die from heatstroke easier than freeze in the cold? Scary, right? So I’m looking for signs of hens with heat stroke. The first tip they are getting too hot is when they open their beaks as they breath, like they are in the picture. If they are getting dangerously hot they’ll stoop down and hold their wings out, looking lethargic. Just like the picture of the Barred Rock Rooster! That’s what we get for keeping the mystery chick! This is a bad way to find out he’s not heat tolerant!
Luckily I already read that in an overheated emergency, you can hold them in a tub of cold water until they cool off. So that’s what I did. He was too weak to fight me, but within a minute and a half he was looking at me to say thank you, and hopped out completely recovered!