A Cool Treat for the Flock

It has been miserably hot here the last couple weeks. It was 97 degrees this morning by 11 AM. Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are a big fear during this time of year, and we go above and beyond trying to keep the chickens, turkeys, and guinea fowl cool. A chickens optimal temperature is 75 degrees. Anything hotter than this, and their bodies begin to experience stress. We have learned several ways to battle the heat over the years. For a few ideas, click here.

Heat and Electrolytes

Because the effects of heat are cumulative, meaning every day with extreme temperatures will compound the resulting heat stress issues, we have been attempting to keep frozen treats in the coop during the hottest part of the afternoon. Not only does this give them something to do while they are waiting out the heat, they are getting additional liquids, electrolytes, vegetables, and fruit.
We use plastic containers, and I collect things like overgrown cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, peas, carrots, corn, etc. I chop them up, and put them in the bottom of about 8 containers. Then I mix up some vitamin/electrolyte water mix, and pour the containers full. (You can also make your own electrolytes out of things that are probably in your kitchen. Click here.)Then, I line them up in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, I stack them up, and do it again. I am typically using two or three of these per day, but it is well worth it to ensure that they are intaking plenty of liquid and nutrients throughout the hottest days when heat exhaustion and heat strokes are claiming the lives of so many chickens.

They are loving it! I put out several at a time, just to make sure everyone is able to get some!

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Refreshing Cucumber-Sour Cream Salad

If you are like me, you have cucumbers coming in, and you're wondering what you are going to do with all of them!  I wanted to share an easy and refreshing Cucumber-sour cream salad recipe with you.  This dish is great by itself, enjoyed with your favorite cracker, or as a side dish with a lunch or dinner entree. The salad is also delicious, simply served over a bed of lettuce and tomato, because as you know, tomatoes are in season right now! 

Cucumber-Sour Cream Salad
2 large cucumbers
1 c. thick sour cream
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. salt
Freshly chopped dill (optional)

Slice cucumbers very thin. Place in a glass or china bowl. 
Add vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Let stand one hour. Drain.
  Mix with sour cream.  At this point, I also add my freshly chopped dill.

Preventing Heat Exhaustion in your Backyard Chicken Flock

Did you know that the perfect temperature for a chicken is between 65 and 75 degrees? 
During the hot summer months, especially in the south, flocks have weeks of temperatures that are dangerous for their health. One important thing you can do is provide shade for them. In addition to trees, shrubs, and plants, we installed a sun shade to the front run where the sun beats in the heaviest.  This shade has tiny holes covering the entire surface, which allows the breeze to blow through, but stops direct sunlight from coming in.

Starting a Raised Garden

Do you want a vegetable garden, but for many different reasons, you don't think it is possible?

1. You have tried before, and the garden failed.
2. You were told your soil wasn't good enough.
3. You don't have enough time.
4. You have garden pests that destroy everything.
5. You have a bad back, and you can't bend over to tend the garden.

Did you know that all of these can be solved by building a raised garden? 
The amount of problems you encounter will determine what type of bed you need. We have a horrible
time with deer eating everything, and I loved the idea of controlling the soil completely, so a raised bed seemed like the perfect solution for us.
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