Phew. This weather. I’m not even going to add to the irritation with any “hot enough for ya?” remarks. We all know, it’s hot, and it’s going to be really bad in Michigan over the next two days. I hope that everyone has a place to keep comfortable and safe from heat related illnesses. We’re grateful that we have central air conditioning in our home, and as much as we like to tough it out with open windows and ceiling fans, we also need to be able to breathe and sleep. So on with the AC!
Of course, that takes care of us, but we also have our animals to consider. They can’t sweat, and while there are fans in the barn, that’s not enough to keep them comfortable. The ducks are particularly pleased with their little kiddie swimming pools right now, and splash around in them frequently. The chickens lay down on the ground, tight around the base of the coop building, with their wings spread, and beaks open to release some heat. The goats lounge around on their sleeping shelves and even on the floor of the barn. We make sure that everyone has plenty of water!
On Monday afternoon, the goats also had an extra treat – we took them into the chicken yard area to do some clearing of the tall grasses back there. I had some dental surgery on Monday morning, so it was particularly special for them, as I really wanted to be laying down on the couch instead of walking around outside! But it is important for them to have some variety, and so we all went out. It’s worth it just for the dose of cuteness, really.
We moved the chicken fence much closer to the coop yesterday morning, after discovering that the pair of hawks (they might be eagles?) that have nested nearby are continuing to pick off our flock on a daily basis. I’ve contacted the US Wildlife Service here in Lansing regarding the problem, and I’m looking forward to finding out what our options with this might be. These hawks have also predated on our neighbor’s chickens, and wow, are they ballsy. One has flown into our neighbor’s chicken coop through the little chicken door -twice- and taken out some of their birds, too. They’ve gotten lazy and don’t seem to be interested in making the effort to catch wildlife when chickens are just so much easier. It’s one of the most frustrating aspects of being a small farmer – not being able to protect your animals from the threats posed by protected animals. I’m going to be writing our Senators in Washington about this issue. Because Senator Debbie Stabenow is now the Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, I am hoping that we might have a hearing ear with her. You can be sure that after I send those letters off, I’ll share those with you here.
Well, I have a tremendous to-do list today, which includes keeping those animals cool, making cheese, doing laundry, and some contract work for another website. We do keep busy around these parts.
Keep cool out there!