I think the entire country is experiencing this heat wave at the moment. We are lucky that ours is only three days, the last day, being today and then more normal temperatures to follow. France has been experiencing a heat wave for months.
I have been giving the girls frozen peas and sweetcorn in dishes of water in the afternoons. Ebony suffers from the heat the most due to her black feathers. She will stand with her wings aloft and pant through her open beak. The frozen peas and sweetcorn seem to cool her instantly.
As today is the hottest day I have also wet some areas of the run by tipping a couple of watering cans of water over the soil. The girls love scratching in the damp soil. I also poured a can of water over half of their patio area to cool it down.
37 degrees C is 100 degrees F so very hot for us.
Vanilla has now been broody for two weeks and no amount of shutting her out of the nest box has broken her out of it. I wasn’t too happy with her sitting in the nest box in this heat but then it got worse. As the heat wave started Flame also went broody and the same behaviour has started up as last time they were both broody together.
Flame wants to sit with Vanilla underneath her and Vanilla has once more taken on the role of her chick. Vanilla climbs all over Flame and pushes herself underneath her. This is not ideal behaviour in a heat wave.
Once the girls have laid I close the nest boxes and I have been closing them well before bedtime. This just meant that Flame was sat in the corner of the chicken shed with Vanilla underneath her. I had to wait until it was dark and lift them to the perch.
I have also been leaving the chicken shed door half open at night while we are having such high overnight temperatures.
This afternoon I closed all the nest boxes and blocked the pop hole to the chicken shed as I didn’t think the girls would lay in this heat and no girl had shown any interest in the nest boxes. This meant that like before Flame and Vanilla settled on top of the nest boxes.
I blocked the top of the nest boxes with some empty storage buckets. The next time I checked they were sat together on the wet patio.
These two are so determined! I watered the patio area from the store cabinet down and beyond that around the nest boxes and the chicken shed is dry. You can see that they are sitting on the edge of the wet part of the patio so they must like the coolness of it.
At least I feel this is cooler and better for them than sitting in a warm nest box. I want to use the dog crate again to try to break them out of this behaviour but I have been waiting for the hottest days to pass first. My priority has been keeping the girls cool at the moment.
I plan to try it a different way round this time. I have no lunches tomorrow so will be at home for the next three days. I will put Vanilla in the dog crate in the open shed. It will be easier to pick vanilla up and put her back in the run for a break and dust bath several times a day. As she has already been broody for two weeks I am hoping she will soon come out of it.
I will try this first and I can always switch round if I think that would work better. In other news Speckles and Smoke are moulting. I am finding grey fluffy feathers and spotted feathers in the run.
I am pleased to say that Cinnamon looks completely back to normal. She is easy to pick up for her meds but she doesn’t like opening her beak. I am so relieved that she improved so quickly.