How The Animals Are Coping With This Heat

It’s humid, too. The only saving grace is a stiff, wind that is making it bearable (just barely.)

The goats are fine. I feed them wet, juicy, crunchy water celery pulled from the water feature.

Then they recline in the shade and chew their cuds. They’re unperturbed by the heat that is engulfing us. Of course, they are Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats. It is very hot in Nigeria, right?

The chickens don’t like the heat at all. Betsy, who has been stubbornly, persistently, grumpily broody for weeks decided that the nesting box was too hot for her. She’s joined the other hens under the shade of Candy’s hutch.

I’ve put the the food in the shade where the chickens are, because the girls didn’t want to spend anytime in the coop eating, where even with the fan it is stifling.

To help out the old hens a bit, I turned the hose onto their pen.

The evaporation cools things off a bit, and they do like to get their feet wet.

The Gems are handling the heat, too. They have a damp, shady area behind the compost to hang out in.

When chickens are heat-stressed they pant and go limp. Obviously, the girls are fine. Little Blue does have a heavy feather coat and I’m keeping a close eye on her. She’s positioned herself in the coop. She’s been eating and drinking, so I know she’s okay.

The one animal that I don’t think could survive this heat is Candy, so she’s inside the house. She’s sulking.

The dogs go outside, and then come right back in. Scooter says he’s going to sleep through the heat wave. Not a bad idea.




  1. Here with the humidity yesterday the heat index was 115. That is not typical in WI.
    I kept putting frozen jugs of water in their coop so they could lay around them. They were panting but all moving around just fine. I hosed down the run too.
    My bunny Sally lives out there with them too and seems to not take the heat as well. Do your chickens eat her pellets? My girls who are about 4 mo. keep going up in her hutch and trashing the place and dumping and eating her bunny pellets. She can’t even have a litterbox in there anymore. It’s like a frat party in there.
    Stay cool. Love watching your chicks!

    • lol. when I read your question as to whether her chickens eat the bunnie’s pellets, I thought you meant “pellets” if you know what I mean. lol. The heat is getting to me too!

      • I am sure Lily and Scooter have ate those “pellets” if they can get ahold of them. And the chicken’s poop, if they can sneak into into Terry’s manure pile !!!!

    • Candy doesn’t let anyone in her hutch. She is the reigning queen and commands respect and decorum. So, the hens don’t eat her pellets, but she eats theirs!

      • I saw either Siouxsie or Tina check out Candy’s hutch a few days ago. I was very surprised as I had never seen that before. Candy was on the ground and took great umbrage. The whole incident was over in moments, so message sent.

  2. Candy will get over it, espically if you give lots of things to chew and maybe a romp around your son’s room, when all the cords are put up. The only animals really loving this heat are my two cats, they just sun bathe all day, acourse they can stand up to I think 115 before they get uncomfortable. Poor little Blue I hope she will do okay. I guess she isn’t like the Polish where you can clip the feathers on their heads. And the Polish do seem to like to get their feet wet. I bet if they could they would wade in the pond like I told you about that other golden Polish who wade in the fish pond in the summer right up to her thighs.
    As for chickens and swimming, I was on the forum, the other day and a lady their has three young buff orphington pullets that she has trained to like the pool. And I am talking a real pool with chlorine water. I guess not the best thing for chicken’s feathers, but these young pullets seem to like. And it keeps them cool. Don’t these pictures beat all ?

    • I noticed that Little Blue was in the coop sitting on her rump, so I am glad to hear that she and all the other critters are doing okay. It is awfully hot here in DC too, so I am making your cucumber salad for dinner tonight, to go with the tomato sauce on pasta from your Thousand Low Fat Recipes cookbook. Little heat in the kitchen and really, really yummy…(I’ve “tested” the cucumbers, and the sauce is an old favorite)! On the local news they are showing us clips from a late December snowfall, just to keep everything in perspective…

      • I’m always so delighted to hear that people are using my books! “1,000 Lowfat Recipes” remains in print -and it’s now in an e-version.

  3. Thanks for this post – it relieves concerns for the animals. It is sweltering down here in central florida — typical for us.

  4. Max temp here today 60F and no sign of it getting hotter in the next few weeks!

    The very occasional times the temps rise to near 90F England melts into a pathetic whinging blob! Luckily it doesn’t happen very often, so we content ourselves by whinging about it being wet and chilly now it’s the school holidays.

    I think you Blue Cochin will need a cool shady retreat when she gets her adult feathers… Cochins are pillow-hens!


    PS Sunny this morning – I’m being brave and wearing a cotton skirt and sandals. Yesterday afternoon I wore my sheepskin house boots and Cliff’s Icelandic pullover to keep warm while working in my studio!

    • This is the week I should have visited! But I couldn’t have left Steve at home to cope with the heat and animals on his own.

  5. The last night the low here was 85F. It’s really is unbearable. My hens seem to be coping. I provided a chilled watermellon last night. They really seemed to enjoy each cool bite. I fill their dust holes with water in the morning and by afternoon they are all digging and dusting in the cooler dirt.
    Stay cool everyone.

    • The watermelon is a great idea. Keep them hydrated! (I hope you have a second watermelon for yourself, Ken.) BTW, if your hens eat a lot of melon, or if they’re drinking a alot – especially from your manmade puddles, their poo will be runny. Don’t worry about it!

      • Funny you mention the runny poo. I have a dropping board and this morning I noticed the watermellon went right through them.
        There is a Sav-a-lot grocery store right next door and they have watermellon for $1.50 (on the smaller side) I have 5 (limit of 5) in my car as I type this.

  6. I’m sorry you are dealing with such extreme temperatures. It’s been nice here, but higher temps are coming. I’ve kept the hose at a trickle most days. I place it between our redwood and pine trees so it creates a nice cool spot for the hens. The young ones are learning to find their own shade spots, generally as a group and away from the big girls. Big surprise this week was finding a very dark brown, very small egg that had to have been laid by one of my Wellsummers. They are only 4 months old so I was shocked. I found 2 more small eggs yesterday, not as dark brown, so I’m not sure which girl(s) laid them. I didn’t realize you had written a cookbook! I am definitely going to look for it. Here’s hoping for a break in your horrific heat wave. At least you have San Francisco to look forward to:-)

  7. Reading this continues to make me appreciate my weather here (Hawaii) even more. It is true that it rained for all of June and the first half of July up here on the wet side,which was indeed our break from school, but no extremes of temperature, and you can drive 20 minutes to sunshine. Our extremes are wet ( got to get a gutter for my coop), dry, and VOG ( volcanic haze) which happens if the wind comes from the south west. Since that is mostly in the winter, things are pretty perfect now. How often does this normally happen over there?

  8. Sorry to hear you’ve all been suffering from a heat wave. Here along the California coast we’ve stayed in the 60’s all month. Nothing is growing in my garden! Anyway, wanted to tell you that I sent my four-year-old granddaughter your book, “Tillie Lays An Egg”. She loves it and has memorized the words. She thinks the chickens in the book are MY hens. What will I tell her when she visits and sees that I don’t have a white hen like Tillie? I’ve tried to explain but……. Sending you all some cooling thoughts.

      • Gee I have learnt a real lot from your blogs Terry, here in Australia I live down in Victoria, it’s pretty cold and wet, as we are a month away from spring. I will remember to use watermelon as a treat for the summer for my beloved chickens. I have just hung up a cabbage to entertain them during the day. They don,t get out to often as we have Foxes everywhere at the moment. We have put up an electric fence around our girls.
        Thanks for all the great comments.

  9. I know you’re not suppose to have just one chicken – but that’s all I have! Ophelia has been coping well with the heat & humidity. I put a box fan out facing her run & turned it on high. She stands in front of it facing away & the air blows up under her feathers! She seems to really enjoy it.

    I’ve also been giving her melon, watermelon & ice cubes (that she sets on!

  10. I think I’ll take our 20+ consecutive days over 100 over your heat and humidity. The weather all over is crazy this year.

  11. I am with Scooter! When I go back to work I hope they make a cot for me somewhere…These afternoon naps are wonderful for my spirit!