Summer Simmer- Be Prepared!

This is the first official weekend of summer, and it is hot. I am talking about the level of hot New Englanders love to complain about. High temperatures are expected to hit 90F today and tomorrow. Last weekend topped out at not-quite 70F, so nobody is used to the (appropriately) high temperature. Hot weather can be downright dangerous for the unprepared, so I took extra steps to keep the Food It Yourself flock and garden safe and well.

I started Friday night, by making a frozen treat for the chickens. I spooned some canned mixed vegetables into an ice cube tray. I added the liquid from the can, and topped the cells off with extra water. I stashed the tray in the freezer. That is all it takes.

Saturday morning, while the temperature was more comfortable, I gave the chicken coop its not-less-than-weekly scrub. I let the ladies run around the yard while I did all this. I want them in the shade of the run during the heat of the day. Keeping the coop clean goes a long way to keeping the chickens, and your neighbors, comfortable. Dirty chicken litter breeds insects and smells terrible. I cleaned the roosting grates, and the water bucket. I spiked the filled bucket with a splash of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar keeps the water fresher.

I then tried to scrub out the laying box.

Malory Archer had different plans (in her defense, I was interrupting her normal laying schedule by changing up my cleaning schedule). Eventually, she left the laying box, and I was able to scrub and dry it.

I also gave the garden beds a good soak. Plants get stressed out by the heat, too. Making sure they are well-watered will prevent permanent heat damage.

By 9:00am I was done with the heavy chores for the day, but not done with care for my plants and animals, or myself. I needed plenty of water, too! Also, Mr. Food It Yourself and I checked up on the flock frequently during the day. In the afternoon, I gave them some of those treats.

Looks like they appreciated them. The plants got a little droopy, which is normal. None of them appeared wilted, so I did not need to water again in the afternoon.

This routine was repeated on Sunday, although I did not need to clean out the coop again. If one of the hens had broken an egg in the laying box, I would have scrubbed that away as soon as is was discovered. Spoiled egg in the heat is an invitation for all kinds of flies to infest the bedding.

All animals need extra care during hot weather. Here are some additional tips for:

  • Summer care for chickens and poultry, curtesy of University of Arizona Agricultural Extension.
  • Summer care for horses, curtesy of University of Minnesota Agricultural Extension.
  • Summer care for pigs, curtesy of University of PennState Agricultural Extension.
  • Summer care for bee hives, curtesy of University of Florida Agricultural Extension.
  • Don’t forget tocare for yourself and your fellow humans.

What do you do to keep yourself and all the living things in your care happy, comfortable, and healthy in summer heat? Share in the comments.