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.