Well, that was a fiasco!
Yesterday morning, because of the sweltering heat, I moved a flock out of their boiling coop into one of the horse boxes in the stables, thinking they would be cooler there. Which they were, for a while.
Since the whole week is sweltering hot I wanted to leave them there for a few days but they share the space with horses who generate a lot of heat.
In the evening, because of predators, we had to close all the doors and the stable windows don't open... so... hot, no air circulation despite a box fan near them, blah hellish!
The poor birds were panting and pacing, no roosts to perch on for the night (since this was an improvised move nothing was set up properly...) - and this is when the problems started!
Some of the chickens had the brilliant idea of flying up to perch on the rafters - how they got up that high I have no idea - and two of them managed to escape through the 2 x 4 wire mesh into the barn. I found them in time, put them back in their area, set up some temporary plank perches with the help of the neighbor and thought they'd be OK for the night.
Never bank on a chicken's brain when instinct takes over :-o
At 10:30pm something told me to go check on them so I asked hubby Vegas to please come with me, the dark isn't my thing with all sorts of creatures going bump in the night.
We found two birds firmly tangled up in the wire mesh wall, panting and overheated, struggling to get free.
Imagine if we hadn't found them in time?
I'd have lost two birds to an agonizing death :(
So after freeing them both and cooling them down (they're fine by the way!) Vegas and I carried the whole lot - about 16 of them - back to their coop which at least has predator-proof windows to let some night air in. They'll just have to endure this heat one way or the other, what else can we do?
I put a box fan on the floor of their coop in the hope it would help cool them down and I've got some blocks of ice chilling in the freezer right now, I'll set those down in a big bowl for them later this afternoon.
Weather extremes are the pits!
-Technodoll aka Worried Mama Hen