Check Out Our Advertisers!
     None  Accounting/Bookkeeping
     None  Antiques & Collectibles
     None  Auction
     None  Auto
     None  Banks and Credit Unions
     None  Beauty Salon
     None  CBD Products
     None  Carpet Cleaning
     None  Chamber of Commerce
     None  Child Care
     None  Chiropractic Care
     None  Churches
     None  Computer Services
     None  Decks
     None  Distillery
     None  Dry Cleaning
     None  Duct Cleaning
     None  Electric utility
     None  Equine Services
     None  Excavating
     None  Eye Care
     None  Feed Stores
     None  Field Mowing
     None  Financial Services
     None  Fireplace Sales/Service
     None  Flooring
     None  Food Products
     None  Foster Care
     None  Funeral Home
     None  Garage Doors
     None  Handyman Services
     None  Health Care Facilities and Services
     None  Heating and Cooling
     None  Heavy Equipment Rental
     None  Heavy Equipment Sales
     None  Honey & Tea
     None  House Cleaning
     None  Insulation
     None  Insurance
     None  Internet Service
     None  Jeweler
     None  Junk Removal
     None  Knitting and Sewing
     None  Liquor Stores
     None  Martial Arts
     None  Massage Therapy
     None  Muralist
     None  Painting - Interior/Exterior
     None  Paving/Asphalt
     None  Plumbing
     None  Podiatry
     None  Pole Barns
     None  Portable Buildings
     None  Propane
     None  Quilting Supplies & Services
     None  Real Estate Services
     None  Restaurants
     None  Roofing
     None  Schools
     None  Senior Services
     None  Septic Services
     None  Shipping Services
     None  Specialty/Gifts
     None  Tax Preparation
     None  Tires
     None  Trash Disposal
     None  Truck Accessories
     None  Truck Bed Liner
     None  Upholstery
     None  Veterinarian
     None  Windows and Doors
     None  Windshield Repair

"May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right."
– Peter Marshall  
Contact Us | Advertise | Classified Ad | News Stands | Subscribe  

  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 7 July 2021  

None Book Review   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar   None Community Photos  
None Did You Know?   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher   None Health and Wellness  
None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business   None News From D 49   None Pet Adoption Corner  
None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Wildlife Matters  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In

Bill Radford

  Farm animals can roast on hot summer days
  By Bill Radford

   Longtime local journalist Bill Radford and his wife, Margaret, live on 5 acres in the Falcon area with chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, two noisy parrots, goats and two horses. Contact Bill at
With a flock of 16 chickens –- eight of which are egg-laying age — the eggs usually pile up.
   Lately, though, the egg retrieval has been disappointing. Instead of a half-dozen or more eggs a day, there's only been two or three at best.
   What's the deal? Were the chickens on strike, we wondered? If so, we hadn't received any demands for better laying conditions or anything else.
   Then we realized: It's the heat, stupid.
   As I write this on a Saturday afternoon, the temperature is nearing the mid-90s; it's the latest in a series of brutally hot days. We're used to our hens slowing, or even stopping, their egg laying during the short days of winter, but hot summer days can have a similar effect –- though for a different reason.
   A hot chicken will have a decreased appetite, states an online article by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service. (I figure folks in Arizona know all about the heat.) The decrease in food intake means a decrease in egg production.
   Like dogs, chickens don't sweat, the article notes. As a result, "Backyard hens need protection from extreme heat. Without the ability to sweat, hens can quickly overheat and succumb to high temperatures. Shade, water, and ventilation are the three most basic needs to keep chickens comfortable during the summer. Additional cooling such as ice blocks and misters can offer further cooling benefits and help birds survive during times of extreme heat."
   What to look for? A hen that's just uncomfortably hot "may be seen panting lightly, but otherwise will be running around acting normal," the article says. A hen in danger of heat exhaustion, meanwhile, "will be panting heavily and holding her wings away from her body. She may have a pale waddle and comb, she may be lethargic, limp, or unconscious. A chicken exhibiting these symptoms is in extreme danger of dying from heat stress and needs to be cooled quickly."
   With the dog days of summer still ahead, we decided to take several steps to help beat the heat. We built a metal roof of sorts over the chicken pen, replacing a tarp that refused to stay put when the winds came up. We took another tarp and stretched it on the northwest panel of the chicken pen to keep out the late afternoon sun. And, as suggested by the Arizona Extension Service, we've set up a misting system and have been providing blocks of ice with treats inside on the hottest days.
   Of course, chickens aren't the only critters outside we have to worry about. Goats are considered fairly heat-tolerant, so we're not too worried about them. The key seems to be keeping them provided with fresh water. We offered our goats an ice block as well, but they didn't seem impressed.
   And the horses? The good news is that they do sweat. And, notes Equus magazine, "Grass, hay, grains and commercial feeds are high in electrolytes, and most horses can readily replenish most of the minerals lost through sweat simply by eating their regular rations."
   Note that it says most minerals. There are two essential electrolytes that are not abundant in natural feeds and must come from another source, Equus says: sodium and chloride, the two elements that make up common table salt. As a result, the article says, "Allowing your horse to have free-choice access to a salt block is essential, especially during hot weather."
   The most important thing a horse owner can do is provide plenty of fresh water, Dr. Nancy Loving, an equine vet in Boulder, told
   “Clean water should always be available; an average horse needs 5 to 7 gallons of water per day in cool weather, while in hot weather, requirements for maintenance and to compensate for losses in sweat may prompt intake of 20 gallons or more per day,” she said.
   Horses, she said, should also have an opportunity to get out of the direct sun. There are no shade opportunities in our pasture, but we do, of course, have our barn; one summer adjustment is keeping the "main door" to the barn open for more ventilation.
   Finally, there's our two outdoor bunnies, Lola and Lily. We were told a long time ago that summer heat was more of a threat to rabbits than the cold.
   Heat is especially hard on rabbits, Pet Life Today agrees. "A rabbit’s wonderfully big ears help regulate their body temperature. That helps some, but in a cage or pen, a rabbit can’t burrow in the ground to keep cool."
   Tarps keep the rabbit pen shaded and we're providing them ice blocks, too. Pet Life Today suggests putting in frozen jugs or bottles of water in the pen for the rabbits to cuddle up with, so we'll try that as well.
   So everyone seems to be taken care of. And before we know it, we'll be back to worrying about the cold instead of the heat. In the meantime, I'm turning on the air conditioner.
On a hot summer day, the Radford chickens enjoy an ice block filled with greens. Photo by Bill Radford
Facebook print this page      

  © 2004-2021 The New Falcon Herald. All rights reserved. About Us | Contact Us | Advertise | News Stands | Privacy Policy