It’s Hot

When it reaches about 30 C in my back garden (that’s 86 F) you can tell it’s getting hot without looking at the thermometer. The most obvious change is the bees start hanging out in a beard formation. The house bees work really hard to keep the brood at a constant temp (about 35) and if it gets too cold, all hands are called on deck to jog in place (or the bee equivalent which is shuddering) to make heat. If it gets too hot they flap like crazy to create a draft and the excess field bees are kicked out of the hive (shouldn’t they be collecting pollen and nectar anyway?).

Overheated bees forming a beard

The chickens are trapped in their down suits 24 x 7. When it gets hot their best defence is to sit in the shade waiting for the heat wave to pass. Failing that, they open their beaks and lift their wings. I’m not sure how much that helps but their combs and wattles are horribly inadequate radiators.

Rosie lifting her wings to cool down

The veggies wilt – or those with big soft leaves do – as the temp rises. I have started stringing a temp shade cloth over my latest seedlings to protect them from the blasting sun, but they need to either cope with the heat or turn up their toes – there’s only so much a gardener can do to make veggies happy.

Temporary shade cloth to protect seedlings from the sun

I don’t like it when it nears 30 either. My strategy is a little different, I hide inside with a bowl of ice cream. I don’t have an air conditioner but ice cream (or my sorbet) is a workable alternative 🙂


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
This entry was posted in bees, Chickens, Nature and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to It’s Hot

  1. Oh it has been quite cool here lately. gosh I love that view of your garden – it is all so nicely organized in rows and everything looks so healthy.

  2. Coop Poop says:

    How high does the heat get where you live (on average during the summer) and does your area experience severe drought? It seems that it’s heat x humidity that really do the chickens in…mine absolutely hate it!! I agree with Africanaussie – your garden is scrumptious!!

  3. The summers are long at the temp is often in the low 30s. Sometimes (rarely) it will hit 40 (over 100 F). We get really bad droughts and have strict water rationing which is why we (and many people here) have rainwater tanks. Otherwise it would be hard to keep the veggies alive.

    We do have humid summers with lots of rain as well – the years can fluctuate dramatically depending on whether there is la nina or el nino in the Pacific so the girls will get both. Chickens are amazing things. They survive in almost any climate – not always happy, but always laying.

    Thanks for the compliment about my garden!

  4. Oh I dream of 30 degrees C. I’m sure it does bring it’s problems but we’ve had such a cold and damp summer here in the UK that heat would be a welcome relief. Your veggie garden looks well ordered, so I’m sure you will do well out of it.

    • 30 is nice when it comes once in a while. In January and February we get too much of it and that’s when it’s pretty humid. Plants and animals alike (that includes humans) spend a lot of time dreaming of cold damp UK summers at that time of year. Of course I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thank goodness we all have our heat-coping techniques.

  5. I guess that is an advantage living in NZ (well a chicken and garden advantage anyway). The temperatures don’t soar so high and living in Auckland area, they don’t plummet like they do in the South Island. But like your lodgehousebandsomerset, oh for some heat.

    • NZ does avoid the heat, but don’t you have temps below freezing? I decided long ago I didn’t want to live any place where bromeliads can’t grow in the garden. I might complain about those hot days but I love that the garden doesn’t have a dormant season and I can eat bananas plucked from my backyard. Yes, I want it all! I’m just that kind of gal 🙂

      Of course Auckland is beautiful enough to make up for a few cold days. It is a great city.

  6. please can you post some heat to us here in good old blighty (UK) cos I’m freezing my socks off!

  7. Seasonsgirl says:

    Question… you ever had a chicken loose its feathers under its tail and have runny poo? I think one of our girls is sick and I am tryign to figure out what to do…

    • Runny poo, yes, loosing feather, no. I’ve read that runny poo can be a sign of worms (I think loosing feathers can be as well). Have you wormed them recently? Do you see any worms (sometimes tiny white balls that are rolled up worms) in their poo? The last time I wormed my girls one had runny poo before and a bit of runny poo after but within a week her poo was back to normal.

      I hope your girls are okay and get their health back quickly!

      • Seasonsgirl says:

        Good idea will try that 🙂

        • Another thought. The feather loss could be from other hens trying to clean their sister. Hens will peck at spots on members of their flock and I’ve seen them checking out the back end of others and even peck and dirty spots. If your hen has runny poo, her feathers are probably messy and maybe they’re being plucked.

          • Seasonsgirl says:

            I think that is what it is I went and checked it out again. It looks like the featehr’s are matted from the poo. We have a huricaine coming ight now for the next couple of day and after it passes we plan to clean her up, give her a dewormer, and put some electrolights in the water to help all the girls. If we can tomorrrow and the storm hasn’t hit too hard we plan to do it then. Thanks for the input 🙂

  8. Pingback: What’s Working? | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s