July 23, 2010

Hey Chick, How Do You Keep Your Cool?

It's hot.

Here in south/central Ohio, as in many other areas of the country, we haven't had much of a break between stretches of pretty warm temps lately.  Today it hit the mid-90s with a heat index of 104 - that's hot!

All six hens, four pullets and two roosters seem to be tolerating the heat ok, but the big girls have slacked off on egg production.  For the last two weeks I've been getting 2-3 eggs a day, with several days only a single egg.  I did have a broody hen so that left five laying, but still not a very good average.  Today, the hottest day, I did get five eggs - go figure.

My broody hen finally left the nest and has roosted with the other five the last two nights, so hopefully things will start picking up again.  I'll post Ophelia's story soon.

So back on topic - how do you help your chickens stay comfortable in the heat?

I have two 1-gallon waterers in the run that I check at least twice a day.  Even if there's water left in them, I change it out for cooler water.  Sometimes I'll take the hose into the run and with the nozzle on a light spray, I'll pass it over whatever chickens I can corner.  They scoot away since the noise scares them, but I think they like the cool mist.

Teenagers at one of the watering holes

I also have an old kitty litter pan that I fill with water for them.  They don't exactly take to it like ducks to water, but several climb in and out occasionally.  Rhoda heads for it first thing in the morning and stands in it several times a day, sometimes scratching and splashing - her own little day spa.  The rest of them do drink out of it, so with three sources of water out there, there's always one in the shade.

Rhoda's foot bath at the day spa

Rhoda pausing for a drink, making the other girls wait their turn

Even though all twelve put themselves to bed in their respective coops at dusk, I've been waiting until well after dark to button them up, and I leave as much open for ventilation as I can without jeopardizing their safety.

Since none have cried fowl yet, I guess I'm doing an ok job at this chicken-farming stuff.

How are you handling things with your flock?


All American x5 said...

The chickens are doing well around here! We are in the heat wave in the south also.

We have two baby pools and several sources of water all over for the chickens, ducks, and geese!

Looks like your flock is doing great!

Stay cool.

Callie said...

Wonderful photos! The hens are sure enjoying their watering spots. You have very pretty hens.