From the Chicken Yard

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.

Mud Pond

Ameraucana or Easter Egger

White Crested Blue Polish

It’s Getting Hotter

Temperatures are rising, 101 degrees in the shade today. Egg production has has slightly dropped off, I expect this will continue until October.

The birds have a fan and a mud pond to help them stay cool, but insist on laying their
eggs in the coop which is crazy insane hot. They have nest boxes available to them in the shadewith privacy – but they would rather pant and near bake to death in the coop.

A 10.5 shade sail (Costco, $24.99) has been provided over the chicken yard, makes a huge difference! This allows me to keep water buckets in the shade as the sun moves throughout the day.

Been quite frustrated with a BROODY Orpington for 2 1/2 weeks.  She is absolutely
relentless, tried everything I know to snap her out of it but nothing is working. She has
been moved to the chicken hospital where a coop is in the shade.

After 3 weeks, broody hen is back with the flock, other than a bit frazzled from the heat is ok.