Suitable Treat in Place of Chicken Scratch in Summer

Looking for a treat that’s little out of the ordinary for your flock? We all know scratch is probably a chicken’s all time favorite, but that should be your last treat choice in the summer months. Scratch produces heat, that’s why we feed it in the winter (especially at night) to help keep them warm. Layer feed already has corn in it, so lets not add fuel to the fire by giving them even more.

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Instead….

Try offering them rolled oats, they love it and it’s safe to feed as a treat! It’s super cheap and often sold by the pound in loose bulk feed bins. Hemp is another healthy supplement, but it’s high in protein and fattening, so just give a little. I add Hemp to the rolled oats, mix it all together and toss it to the flock mid day. Hemp is spendy too, another reason to just give them just enough to add that little diamond in the rough among the oats.

Mixture I Use:  Find a suitable container and fill it with 3 lbs Rolled Oats and 1/2 cup Hemp Seed.

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Tip: Here in Arizona our temps reach 115+ quite often. I find it best to only feed them early morning and again at dusk. Feed actually puts them even more at risk when they are already a candidate for heat stress.  A few handfuls of rolled oats keeps them happy during the day when corn is an absolute no-no.

More information on Chicken Keeping in Extreme Heat

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Investing in Comfort for the Flock

Dedication, that’s what it takes when raising chickens in the Sonoran Desert! These ladies are just four months old and experiencing their first summer in temperatures of 116 degrees. They’re a bit frazzled looking at times, but incredibly resourceful in finding ways to stay cool. Of course, I’ve given them a hand providing those resources, but it’s up to them to actually use them. Most members of the flock do, but there’s always those few who insist on going broody in hottest place possible.

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To make them as comfortable as possible, a mist system is available at one section of our open air shedrow barn. It certainly has helped, but without air movement it just wasn’t enough, especially for the broodies who stuff themselves into oven-like nest boxes.

Solution…
This week I hired an electrician to get power to the barn.  I don’t even want to think what the cost of having fresh eggs has risen to now! Nevertheless, we now have airflow from a giant barn fan.  Feathers are blowin’ and the flock is happy! Whoo hoo!
Not so much whoo hoo over the $$$ though. Oh well… love my birds.

Electric

 

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Desert Temps Reach 116, Chicken Survival Tips

Battling the Heat, the Tools for Survival

Oh my! 116 today and keeping chickens in this ridiculous heat adds to my chore list when it’s  just so hard to be outdoors. But for the love of chickens, I pour on the sun screen, hide from the sun under a giant umbrella, and head out to the barn.  By 8AM it’s already in the 90’s and too hot for the flock to be confined. It’s most certainly better to allow chickens to dig holes, seek out shade, and  follow their own instincts on ways to best battle the heat. Of course, as a desert dweller, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help them find relief.

A Few Tips, Create a Cooling Station!

Here’s what I do. There’s a portable mist system in the shade and a low sided shallow pool with a few bricks inside for them to sit on. The bricks stay cool, some use it, some don’t. None of the birds seem to fancy the mist system, nevertheless, it does cool the immediate air by about 20 degrees, so I entice them to the area with fresh greens or fruit.

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Layer pellets are available, but kept in their coop where the temperature is undesirable. Considering there is corn in feed, it should be kept at a minimum because corn produces heat. Some chicken keepers will pull feed completely during the day when it’s this hot. But I find this unnecessary, since chickens limit their food intake by choice… at least mine do.

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Predators are a worry when the chickens are allowed to free roam, but let’s face it, confined chickens in 116+ temperatures is a death sentence in these parts. I take my chances, keep an eye on them, and hope during the day predators won’t be actively looking for food until sundown.

Chickens like to dig holes, don’t discourage this. It’s their instinct to find cooler ground. They will look for anywhere water has been and choose that spot as the ideal place to settle into. Help them out, dump their drinkers in the same place every day, or leave a hose in the shade on a tiny drip.

Keep the drinkers clean and offer COLD water during the day. Chickens aren’t fond of hot drinking water. Large drinkers will stay colder longer, but I also use shallow buckets or bowls so I can add a chunk of ice during the day. The worst choice for a water source (where it’s super hot) are nipple drinkers, here’s why…

Avoid Nipple Drinkers

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Nipple drinkers are neat gadgets, but if you live in an oven, forget using them, especially the type with those tiny drinker cups.  The water in the small cups get way too hot and chickens avoid using them. Using nipples are just as useless in my opinion. The water in the container itself may be cool, but the water sitting in the lines heats up fast, and your birds wont drink enough to stay hydrated.

Remember, the sun moves, either you have to move your drinker to keep it in the shade, or provide water in various locations to assure there is cool water throughout the day. Nipple drinkers are not usually movable, they’re meant to be low maintenance, fill ’em and leave ’em… which is exactly why they’re not used on my farm.

Keeping your birds hydrated with cool water is absolutely vital…  and just to make sure they have enough fluid intake, offer up some watermelon!

More Helpful Information | TBN Ranch

 

 

New Chicken Keeping Articles | May 14, 2016

Articles for Chicken Keepers, by Chicken Keepers is an updated collection of chicken keeping articles from across the web archived in one convenient library on our menu bar.

Have an article to submit? Send it to amyichi@yahoo.com with ARTICLE SUBMISSION on the subject line.

New Articles May 14, 2016

: How I Use Herbs in My Coop and Why You Should Too
Olive Egger Chicken: May Breed of the Month – Countryside Network
Understanding the Pecking Order | TBN Ranch
You Don’t Need a Rooster Rescue, Set Up a Bachelor Pad Instead – Countryside Network
Tips on Breaking the Broody Hen | TBN Ranch
Poultry Farming Terminology – What’s in a Name? – Countryside Network
Probiotics and Ferments: They’re Good For Your Chickens, Too! – Hobby Farms
Your Guide to Strong Eggshells | Purina Mills
10 Chicken Coops That Will Make You Want To House Hens (PHOTOS)
Our Top 10 Reasons To Keep A Rooster – Hobby Farms
Keeping Chickens Cool in Summer | TBN Ranch

Feature Article

by The Happy Chicken Coop

Before we ever entertained the idea of keeping chickens in our garden we were long under the impression that you need lots of land to keep chickens- ideally at least an acre of grass. Fortunately, this isn’t the case (unless you are planning on keeping thousands of them!) and you’d be surprised by the actual amount of room chickens need…. Continue Reading

The Happy Chicken Coop

What’s New at TBN Ranch

We are building a new brooder box for our fall chicks! Husband Dan has been working on this custom brooder project for awhile now and it’s really coming along nicely. He decided to make the front glass so the chicks can see the world before they graduate to the grow pen.
The box is raised high enough so chores are easy on my back. The cabinet below will be for feed and supplies. The brooder measures 5ft long, 22inches wide, and will have a removable divider in the center.

The last pic included is Dan’s workbench, I’m amazed this total disaster of unorganized clutter  is what he considers a functional work space. How on earth does he find anything?

Next Project

In the fall talk of another chicken enclosure is also on the table which would be for laying hens of a yet to be decided breed…. but most likely Leghorns and RIR.

Here We Go Again…

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Summer is here, it’s only May and the temperature expected today is 104. By the middle of June it will no doubt be 110, and then it only gets worse, with temps exceeding 115+ in July and August.  The chickens will need a lot more attention in such hot weather, but we are prepared with tons of shade cloth and a cooling station in the shade with a hose left on a slow drip to help cool the ground.