Today it is really hot out- I'm talking bright sun, low 90's. The hens are getting so big that yesterday when two friends of mine came over for dinner, they both exclaimed "Holy Sh**t they got big!" when they saw the girls. The combination of these two things (big birds, hot day) means that the girls are trying really hard to keep comfortable. All those adult bird feathers makes it hard to stay cool, I think.
Apparently, the preferred techniques if you are a hen for staying cool are;
1) panting in the dark henhouse
2) taking dirt baths in nice dry dirt
3) sitting in the shade under the plum tree and panting some more
4) drinking cool water
I think these all sound pretty reasonable. The Wyandottes, who are the thickest set birds and are built for cold winters, are having a tough time with the heat. Rosie is panting very aggressively- she's huge, fluffy, and very, very plump. You can see in the picture that Biggie barely has her beak open (front and center), while Zippy (out of focus in the back) and Rosie (foreground) are both panting quite obviously.
I'm thinking that some more shade might be good once summer gets into full swing. Maybe something like an extra awning near the chicken-port could be good. I'll have to think about that.
I took a week off from posting to the blog because I was distracted by the birth of my new niece, Eleanor Caroline!!! So exciting. Now I have two beautiful baby nieces; Jacqueline Sage (now 3 months old) and Eleanor Caroline (now 5 days old). I'm really really happy about these little additions to our families.