It’s too damn hot

Brenda died yesterday from heat stroke. What kind of planet is this where animals, animals who have lived millions of years outdoors, suddenly die in the heat? Texas summers, I am getting really tired of you.

The saddest part is, we aren’t the only folk in these parts to have lost our fowl this summer. We know of at least two other chickens in our area who have succumbed to the heat. This is outrageous. Brenda was our barred rock hen, one of the youngest and the largest in the brood. According to a few sites on chicken raising, sometimes it’s the largest, darkest hens that suffer the most from the heat. The others seem to be doing relatively OK, but we don’t really want to take any chances. To prevent any more untimely deaths, we spent the morning pimping out the chicken coop with the latest in coop cooling technology.

While the coop does benefit from the shade of our mature backyard pecan tree, we went to extra lengths to make sure every square inch of the coop’s roof is now covered with a sun blocking fabric that lets in air for ventilation, but keeps the temp down to a bearable 90 degrees (versus the 107 you might find yourself frying in beneath the full sun). We also added a giant water trough in addition to the existing water containers and put in ice blocks (or the red neck version, frozen jugs of water)  for the surviving chickens to lie next to. The hope is that while the ice melts, the evaporation will help to cool the interior of the coop. Hopefully these measures will prevent us from having to bury any more hens.

Brenda was a fine lady, the prettiest chick of the bunch in my opinion, and one of the more social ones. And sadly, while we are no strangers to losing hens, it’s never a process that gets any easier. I hope this is the last post I will have to write like this for a long, long time. Stay cool.

14 Comments on “It’s too damn hot”

  1. Awwwww…this was so sad to read! I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. lexy3587 says:

    Aw, sorry to hear it. I hope your fight against chicken-overheating works – it sounds like a workable plan.

  3. kmom says:

    OH NO! I loved Brenda. She was georgeous. I had read that certain breeds are more suited to certain climates. Kind of like it’s not wise to have a Husky in Texas. I wonder if she was a vulnerable breed. I’m really sorry. She was a splendid bird.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about pretty Brenda’s passing. Your headline says it all. Thanks for sharing, though. I hope your cooling tricks help your remaining hens and those of any readers who also have birds in the heat.

  5. Awww – so sorry to hear that – it is too damn hot lately:(

  6. So sorry for your loss. We were always close to our chickens and our daughter named them all. Hard when one died. We never ate ours. They normally died from old age or the occasional predator, though once one died from a heart attack. A dog scared it on the other side of the fence.

  7. Jenbug says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss! I know that a pet’s death, no matter if it’s an unusual pet, it horrible and depressing. I wish you all the best with the measures you are taking to keep the rest of your girls comfy and alive.

  8. Thats so sad 😦 I’m sorry to hear that she is gone. It sounds like you are prepared for the rest of the summer though.

  9. lostdododesigns says:

    I am truly sorry for your lost. I use to raise chickens and when one passed it was a painful loss. Most people don’t realize how much personality chickens have. They remind me of cats with all the shenanigans they can get up to.

    I hope the heat breaks soon and that your cooling methods work.

  10. suburbanclairvoyant says:

    Sorry to hear you lost a girl to the heat. It has been hot in there parts, i’m in leander, and a friend of mine over off jollyville just had the same thing happen. A friend of mine that had rabbits told me about the old frozen 2liter water bottle placed somewhere in the shade for extra cooling….i’ve taken to watering down the run in the mornings too, keeps it a tiny bit cooler a little while longer. And I agree, digging that hole is sad business. Sucks. Hope your new cooling methods help

  11. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! I’m thinking about getting a few of my own chickens for my backyard. Here in VA it’s been 100 degrees or higher – I’ll have to keep a cooling system in mind if this weather becomes the norm! Best of luck through the rest of the summer and hope the rest of your girls stay happy and healthy.

    ps…do you have any recommendations for chicken coops?

  12. Sunshine says:

    Thank you for sharing…I feel your loss. I just lost a hen to extreme heat.

  13. […] only is her brooding behavior tragically hopeless, it’s also dangerous. We’ve already lost one chicken to heat, and I’m not keen to lose […]

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