It’s been a challenge to say the least keeping the chickens alive this month in temps ranging from 110 to 117. In spite of mist systems and fans, I’m afraid I lost the Buff Orphington pictured above. I’ve been keeping chickens for three years now, every season I learn better ways to keep the fatality rate to a minimum. Although this year has been my most successful year, it’s still disappointing to lose even one bird.
Unfortunately until you raise various breeds it’s mere guess work which birds will fair best in the desert heat. Birds categorized as heat tolerant may very well be true in some parts of the country, but not necessarily in extreme conditions. The heavy birds in my experience struggle the most, Orphingtons and the Rock varieties will not be on my farm next season at all. However, the Dominique is a heavier bird and does amazingly well. Not to mention they are very friendly and quite intelligent.
The Ameraucana is by far the hardiest bird in the chicken yard, they lay everyday, and show little signs of struggle battling the heat. However, their personality is best described as aloof. They are not not very friendly so catching them is usually an ordeal.
They are a rather timid bird, but mine are not picked on, they just keep their distance from any potential confrontations.
The Ameraucana is a blue-green egg layer. Often called the Easter Egger Chicken.
Note: whatever name they use, most hatcheries do not sell standard Ameraucanas, but sell Easter Eggers, chickens that may lay blue, green, or other colored eggs.
My Polish Crested hens also show little signs of heat stress.
Beneath the mist system is plenty of mud where they spend most of the day. They are my fancy birds I’m so proud of, but this time of year they are allowed to be little feathered mud balls.
The Polish hens are only about 4 pounds.
They lay white eggs, fairly consistent layers every three days.
Their eggs are a bit smaller, and these birds are known to take some time off now and then.