Happy Hens in Phoenix Miserable Heat

Keeping Chickens Comfortable, Here’s a Few Tips

It’s been a rough summer for our hens here in Phoenix. The temperatures have soared to 117 and averaged around 110 for more than 35 days since June. And… only one day of rain, in the last 4 months.

But my hens are doing great! Why, how? Well my girls are in a large 10×10 covered pen inside a covered shedrow barn. They have shade tarps on the south, east & west side for protection from the sun. I hang a simple box fan on their pen, and mist system that is far enough away to keep the pen dry, but cooler.

Here they are today, outside temperature is 110, 108 in the barn, no panting, or holding their wings away from their sides. They are smart enough to find just the right spot where they can catch a cool breeze from the mister, and as you can see, resting comfortably.  🙂

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Silkie Under Cover

This is Peaches, she is one of my almost 3 month old Silkies… and the only one interested in fresh greens. The others would rather stick with chick crumbles… and the vitamins I sneak in there.

Big Bang Flock 12-3-13

New chicken coop roof! The board on top is only temporary while the glue on the edges dries. Sorry for the quality of the pics, I had to rule out hanging from a tree limb to get a better shot.

What’s Going on at TBN Ranch

Sunday, Phoenix is expected to reach triple digits. It won’t be long and we’ll creep up to 105, 110, and by June, 115. As the temperatures rise, keeping chickens becomes a real challenge.

I’ve already started to prepare, but this time I will be tested even further with my older semi-retired flock. Not only are they compromised by their age, but they are all way too plump fat. This past winter was colder than usual and all my birds had a very late molt. So their naked butts didn’t freeze, I gave them scratch feeds and oats on top of their normal ration of layer pellets. Now they are huge.

Brooder Box

I found a gold mine a the grocery store that only a chicken keeper would understand. Certainly the produce manager didn’t, but although reluctant, he was accommodating. Ever see those huge octagon watermelon bins? Well my first thought was definitely not on watermelons, all I saw was a perfect brooder! The manager said they were supposed to be recycled and not to be given away. But when I explained what it was for, and that it was my birthday, he said ok! Happy Birthday to me!

The watermelon box is in the garage where it is being transformed to the ultimate brooder. If it’s sturdy enough to hold 50 watermelons, it certainly will accommodate baby chicks for years to come. I even have some left over ceramic tile for the floor, I feel like a kid at Christmas! When I have it done and moved to the feed shed I will take pictures.

Prickly Pear

I planted 70 sunflowers as a shade source for my birds, unfortunately the farm bunnies have eaten all but 10. Guess as a cactus gardener it slipped my mind that protecting the seedlings was crucial to their survival. Duh. But my Prickly Pear cactus are stunning! –>

I still haven’t bought a new chicken coop, but I do have a plan. Come Fall I would like to move all my chickens to one place… from three. Keeping in mind that I’m a complete novice to having a vegetable garden, I’d still like to give it a whirl. The most convenient spot for that is where my fancy polish hens are… so the ladies are moving.

As far as the new coop, I do have my eye on one. It was featured in a previous post, you can see it HERE. I don’t mean to offend the builder, but it looks like a fish cleaning house.. and that’s probably exactly why I like it! The real selling point on this coop is that it’s local built, no shipping! Building this structure means all my birds will be in a shady area just steps away from the barn. Then, I’ll be growing vegetables in the Spring? Don’t worry…  Google.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!