|Prudence, during last year's heat wave|
|She perked up after about 10 minutes in the water. (Don't mind our rusty tub!)|
|My little hen princess eventually laid down in the water.|
Then, we asked the questions: Were we negligent in some way? Did we do something wrong? Could we have done more? And, painfully, we decided that yes - there were a few things we could have done better.
For starters, when we got our coop two summers ago, we put it next to the house, which is right in the sun.
We did this because we wanted to be in close proximity to the coop to listen for predators and to interact with our flock frequently. We also did this because we thought our winters would be the real issue and that our house would serve as a barrier to the wind and that the sun would be a nice warmer in our sub-zero temps. Plus, we ordered winter hardy birds...because after all ,we do live in Wisconsin. But it turns out the winters have been easy. The real trick has turned out to be the summer. Around the run, we always plant vine beans and other crawling foilage to serve as shade...but with the drought this summer, well - nothing is growing enough to provide shade.
Additionally, there are a few tips I've read online since Prudence's passing. We will keep these in mind for all future hot days.
1. Hang wet curtains over screens and fans in the coop.
2. Mix electrolyte powder into the water. If the chickens are so hot that they are unable to drink, give it to them with a syringe.
3. Lay hay or another material on the top of the roof to deflect the sun.
Prudence died instantly, and for that, we are thankful. She, as all our birds, was special and unique. She was an independent thinker, and she had the cutest and quickest waddle/run I've ever seen. The jet-black feathers around her neck were beautiful, and she loved being held. We hope we gave her a good life and that she didn't experience any pain laying that last egg. We'll be sure we don't let that one go to waste.
|One day old|
|With her "litter mates" and the cat|
|First time outside|
|Last summer's heat wave|