Monday, July 25, 2011

Keeping Chickens Cool and What Garden???

Like most of the country, it's been too dang hot!  Today we are having a slight reprieve, but then the mercury is rising again.  Keeping our chickens cool has been a priority.  The 'how to' may be a bit haphazard, but...it's working.

The Big Girls have plenty of room to roam and find shady spots as the sun travels.  They have their holes dug and chill out in them regularly.  We keep their waterers full and feed them treats when we have them on hand.  They particularly love watermelon.  It's cool and full of water. 
I now have to keep a small waterer on the other side of the fence for the Convicts (escapees) as well.  I don't want them to get overheated and not have water to cool their little throats down!
Caught in the act!
Now the Peeps are another story.  They aren't full feathered yet and technically shouldn't be out and about.  However, rather than a heat lamp, we needed to install a window A/C unit!  So, out of the brooder they came and into the completed Chicken Tractor they went!
We put them up by the house first so that I could monitor them closely.
At 80 degrees when we first put them out, they did very well.  At first they were of course scared, but within an hour, they found out that grass and such is fun and the chicken antics commenced.

video
Exactly what I was hoping for as I am monitoring their behavior as well.  Based on all your comments and thoughts from my Chicken Pickin' post of course.  (Thank you!)

I tried to get a shot of the two breeds side by side so that you could see the growth difference.  This was the best one I came up with:
Cornish X on Left - Freedom Ranger on Right
3 Weeks Old
It wasn't long after we moved them out that the temperatures sky rocketed.  So we had to "Ghetto Up" our pretty little Chicken Tractor fast!

We moved it to a spot that is shaded thru out most the day, covered the run with an old blanket and started using frozen gallon jugs of water.  We simply emptied a bit of the water and froze them.

Eight frozen jugs seems to be the magic number in keeping them rotated in/out and allowing enough time for the re-freeze.  I put one in the coop itself and one outside -in front of a box fan. 
Yes...I felt so sorry for those little panting buggers that we got them a box fan.  The air is so thick you can cut it with a knife!  We even had fog/haze cutting visibility at night! 

They especially appreciate the one inside the coop.  I think it actually stayed cooler inside than out.  Just remember to keep things as dry as possible too.  The jugs sweat.
Above you can see that they liked sitting near the jugs.  Maybe you can also see the difference in the size of the two breeds legs?  It's pretty notable when you see them up close actually.
So, that is how we are trying to help the Chickens make it thru this hot, hot summer!  What are you doing for yours and any other livestock you have?

I'm all ears!

Even if these aren't...after being knocked down for the second dang time!  But at least we had a little bit of rain.  An inch.  Just north of us...8" in one hour.  It now goes down for them as the wettest July on record.  For us...it's now the 3rd hottest on record.  And dry...

I can now up my garden harvest to the .25 oz of peas picked last week and a handful of green beans the other day.  Seriously.  Not even photo worthy.  :o(

20 comments:

  1. Hey, I was hoping for a picture of the garden. Just that little peak behind the chickens. You got beans,that is good. Your corn actually looks better than mine. Due to the heat and dryness it tasseled to soon. The coop looks good. Did you wet the blanket before putting it over the coop. That's a cheap evaporative cooler.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The chicks are too cute! Love the chicken tractor! Did your hubby make it?

    Yeah...let's see some pics of the garden!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great chicken tractor. You have the neatest stuff.
    I'm sorry you missed most of the rain. We have the same thing going up here. We can't BUY rain--but 30 miles east, they broke a record for the most rain in one day. Us--NOTHING. I'm soooo sick of dragging a hose around trying to keep stuff alive. Water.......send water!!!
    :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great chicken tractor! I had to ghetto-up my chicken run too, so that the ladies could have some more shade while we are out of the house. When one of us is home, they are free to roam the yard, and did holes everywhere. They are doing pretty good with keeping themselves cool. Their favorite thing to do is wallow in the wet dirt of the beds after we water... You'd think they were pigs or something!

    As for the rain... It storms something along the lines of "Twister" every night. I am not sure of the accumulation, but the plants seem to be happy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jane, I swear it hasn't changed a bit since the last pics. But I will get some. My corn wasn't tasseling and I was getting worried. But since we got a little rain, most popped out on command! And I did not get the blanket wet (good idea) but I did mist around the coop several times.

    Robin, yup he made it! He's handy dandy. Ok, I will get some of the garden for you too and then you will know why seeing all your pictures is KILLING ME!! Where's my darn tissue???

    Sue, yes, I have wrangled that hose more times than should be. By the end of the struggle, I'm covered in mud and sweat. Not fun. Hopefully you get some soon as well!!

    TinyG, :o) The things we do for the girls! Hey, if you got a pig you could have bacon and eggs at least ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think you should get an award for Best Chicken Keepers in the Midwest, if not the whole U.S. of A. Mighty lucky chicks you have there.

    We haven't had the extreme hot weather for as long as you have and we've been getting enough rain also. But our poultry spends most of their days hunkered down in the nice stand of trees and bushes in the poultry yard. I think they have a whole little town of roads and dust baths and napping spots in there!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great job on keeping the chickens cool! We have the same challenge here...we started freezing the jugs of water and putting them in the coop at night. They seem to do fine during the day - they dig their holes under the coop and hang out. It was being "cooped up" at night that was the issue. I hear ya on the garden front...won't show pics of mine anymore either!! Just hoping for some carrots and taters now since they are underground :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are one heckuva chicken mom, darlin'. Those little buggers are spoiled rotten! And can I tell you how much I miss baby chicks after watching your video? I'm thinking we should get some. Right. Now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. MamaPea, well shucks, that was nice! We have a few special spots they love too :o)

    BrokenRoad, oh, I hear ya! My root crops might be a "go" if the thirsty bugs don't get them. Shhhhh, maybe they don't know!

    MamaTea, well they are entertaining. Maybe you should crochet something to keep your mind off that too? xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  10. Those are the darn est chicken coops I ever saw.what pattern curtains are you putting up for them? jk You must have been very busy or out of town again-we missed you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. AH! The peeps are already growing up! Are we too late for the kiddies? We may have to wait until the next batch. It's just been so hot and nasty we have been hanging out in our hole (a.k.a. the nice cool basement). But we need to get our butts to HP so when you feel like a movie theater cool down...you let me know :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. If you need one more window A/C unit, I have one. just tell Adam to stop by or let me know and I will bring it out! hope they stay coooool.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Judy, nope...still here. Just been occupied elsewhere. I will try to get better ;) Hope your hubby is doing well too ma'am. xoxo

    Jen, that's up to you if you want to play in the heat now!

    Pops, you are too sweet! Thanks! We should be good now tho!

    ReplyDelete
  14. THANKS FOR ASKING-WON'T KNOW MUCH UNTIL FRIDAY. HIS FIST APPT AT THE VA WITH THE ONCOLOGIST--OFF TO THE STORE I NEED TO FIND THINGS FOR MY HUSBAND THAT WILL SUSTAIN HIM,ALSO TO DEAL WITH HIS BLOOD SUGARS IT DROPPED TO 28 THIS MORNING [ NORMAL IS ABOUT 100]I KNOW WHEN SOMEONE ASKS HOW ARE YOU DOING YOUR NOT SUPPOSE TO CARRY ON ,THAT'S JUST GOOD MANNERS BUT THAN WHO SAID I HAD GOOD MANNERS.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Awe Judy, you are allowed "bad manners" ;) so to speak. It's alot to take in. I hope everything goes well on Friday. We are all praying for you. Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love the chicken "cooling station"! My garden is suffering from deluges of rain and wind, also. Corn and tomatoes are all over the ground, luckily I'm NOT thinking about it since we have visitors LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  17. In my next life, I want to come back as one of APG's chickens. Really!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Erin, maybe you are onto something...forget about it??? You'll have more fun with your family not thinking about it anyway!

    Granny, c'mon down! I'll take good care of you!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Soooo sorry about your garden, I know you worked hard on it and were looking forward to harvest time. I still have a few tomatoes and still some potatoes. It could be they are cooked in the ground. We have only had about an inch and a half since we got home. Nearly died laughing about keeping the chicks cool. By the way I love the way it's been painted. Gotta get Richard to work next spring!!!!
    Love that red kitchen cart, mom had one almost like it. Lookin
    forward to having you girls out here sometime. I think that would be great. Bye for now...love you

    ReplyDelete
  20. Aunt Diane, well we ate all your maters and are finishing off the taters tonight. Thank you again!! Mom has been on me to post those pictures for you. Now I gotta worry about her naggin at me! :o) Tell Uncle Richard it would make a great winter-time garage project you could sit and work on together!

    Oh and that cart!! That is EXACTLY why I bought it. I always loved Grama's

    ReplyDelete