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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's so hot that....

my chickens refuse to scratch. They just follow me around squawking this mournful "bwaahck, bwaahck." From their voices, I can tell they are miserable and do not have on their happy faces. These hens are not happy girls.  It makes me feel helpless. They just refuse to scratch because of the heat. My spoiled hens want me to find the food. So, I did. I went to the market and got four free cantaloupes that were in the trash. After they have been in the yard for an hour, I will pen them up and give them a cantaloupe.

Whether they are complaining or walking silently, their beaks hang open. They walk slowly. Some of their feathers are hanging from various places on their bodies. Their tongues are moving back and forth. They never run or jump as they usually do. Since the heat index has been over 100 this afternoon, I understand.

I commented to a friend who was here today that maybe I should put in ac for them next year. A fan, at the very least, would make them more comfortable. Well, they don't have a house yet! There's not much place to put a fan.

They did give me four eggs today. Two were actually on the nest at once, both little beaks open and panting hard. That must have been really hot! They seem to have chosen one nest of two nests as the ONLY place for all four to lay. One day, there were three hens laying at once!

Since it has been so hot, I expected the egg laying would drop off a bit. As long as they get plenty of protein and water, they seem to lay well in extreme heat and extreme cold. Yesterday, they had two baked chicken leg and thigh quarters. This morning, they had another leg and thigh quarter. Of course, they gulp down fresh water and quit complaing when I refill their bowl. Tomorrow, they get a chunk of ice in the water.

The heat index was over 100 today, and it's 99 right now at 6:30. All four will crowd into one 18 gallon Rubbermaid-type box! When I was out last night at TOPS, people were talking about hens dropping dead in the heat. So, I approach them in fear and count--1--2--3--4--and breathe a sigh of relief.

For those who have chickens, are yours suffering from the heat? What are you doing to relieve their suffering them and keep them cool?

Being a chickie Mama is hard.

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