It has been incredibly hot and humid the previous three days. It was particularly hard on the chickens. While they stayed in the shade, there was a lot of “bowling” and panting going on. They had plenty of water, but it was just too hot to move most of the time.
I noticed in addition to sitting in the dirt to cool of, some of the girls lowered their wings, like the one in this photo. I can only assume she’s lowering body heat by allowing what air flow there was (not too many breezes during the worst of the heat) to get to her body, rather than trapping in body heat with her wings.
I also found out this weekend my girls don’t like milkweed! When we moved the coop into this particular garden bed, I was a little apprehensive because of the milkweed. I wanted what little food I had for Monarchs to be, well, available. I was concerned the girls would eat it up. And, because we really had no other place to put the coop for now, it was a compromise I felt I had no choice but to make. (We were originally going to keep half of this garden bed untouched so that we could keep the milkweed for the butterflies.)
But after watching the girls, it appears my concern was unnecessary. They simply eat around the milkweed. This isn’t to say if I happen to get any Monarch cocoons, they won’t eat the catapillar, but I guess it’s better than nothing at this point.
And, I still get the good fertilizer the girls produce in this part of the garden bed, too, so when the permanent home is up, we’ll have a great mini-milkweek garden for butterflies.
I wasn’t able to get a lot of good photos of the girls in the dirt, simply because my phone camera doesn’t like shade. However, I’ll leave you with this picture so you can get an idea of what they were all doing most of the time during the heatwave:
UPDATE: 7/10/13 Well I have egg on my face. The reason the girls aren’t eating the milkweed is because it’s poisonous to them. Thank the FSM that they’re smarter than I am. I recently read this on a list in a recent issue of Hobby Farming — potentially poisonous plants for chickens. Like a said, it’s a good thing the little dinos are smarter than me!