Chicks, Heat and Bees

As I have mentioned before, the chicks are outgrowing their pen.  But we have bald eagles eating our chickens.  Here are the chicks in their pen.

chicks outgrowing their pen

So Tom went out to find netting for the “pheasant pen”.  In the past we could get used fishing nets for relatively cheap in Anacortes.  But the company we used is no longer in business.  So after a search, Tom ended up purchasing bird netting from Hardware Sales in Bellingham.  So yesterday morning Tom set it up before the worst of the heat set in.


So this morning, the plan was to move the chicks to their new pen.  But Tom didn’t have enough netting to cover the fence panels so there were holes that the smaller chicks could easily get out.  So I decided just to move the larger chicks in for now.  That would decrease the crowding in the original pen.  I was hoping it would help with the heat too with less crowding.  Unfortunately I got home late from work this morning so it was already starting to heat up.

chicks in pen

So I moved 12 of the larger birds to the new pen after getting the shavings down and food and water moved.  They immediately escaped through the fence holes so we had to recatch them and point out the nice shed with food and water.  Then they seemed to stay put, panting due to the heat and exertion.

chick in grampa shed

At this point I remembered that the donkeys still needed hay. I walked to the hay barn and started feeling really dizzy with palpitations and shortness of breath.  I had to sit down where I was.  This happened despite the fact that I had sprayed myself with cold water and was drinking electrolyte solution.  Fortunately I found a brick to sit on, and there was shade.  The sheep came over to check on me.

Maybelle and Diddley

I thought maybe they were concerned about me, but actually I think they just wanted petting.

Hodor and Maybelle

I kept calling for Tom out as I couldn’t stand up.  Here is my view while I waited.

netting from my perch

Tom found me after about 15-20 minutes.  I was able to hold onto him to get back to the house.  I sat for a while, drinking fluids until I could stand long enough to take a cool shower.  Then I felt better.  I ate lunch and then headed to our air-conditioned bedroom to try to sleep.

But just as I was falling asleep I woke to an intermittent alarm.  It took me a bit to figure out what it was, but I finally sorted out that it was the weather station that I got for Christmas (thanks Mom and Al!).  Apparently I had stupidly set it to alarm when the temperature reach 0 and 100 degrees.  I did manage to reset that, but I was so awake I couldn’t go back to sleep.  The outdoor probe for this is on our back porch on the north side of our house so I think it is fairly accurate.  So quite hot.


I am hanging out in the somewhat air conditioned house until it cools a little.  Then I will go out again and check on the plants and animals.

In sad news, I did check on the bees a couple of days ago.  It appears that my queen died and what I have left is Laying Workers.  So my hive is basically dead.

failing beehive 1failing beehive 2

I am not sure if I will try it again or not.

Now I am watching the Olympic Track and Field trials from Eugene.  They were using ice vest to cool their core temperatures before competing.  I need an ice vest!


This evening at 9:30, when it got down to 85 degrees, I went to check on the plants and animals.  The plants seemed OK.  But I found one of the chicks I had moved was dead, and another obviously with heat stress.  I dunked her in cool water, but she didn’t improve much.  So I brought her into the house to the bathtub to cool her off more.  Doubt she will make it.  I forgot to mention that one of our older Araucana hens was dead in the barn this morning.  And my older black ewe Jet is huffing hard.  This heat is taking its toll, and I am not sure what more I can do.  And it is supposed to be much worse tomorrow.

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6 Responses to Chicks, Heat and Bees

  1. Denise says:

    this heat is dangerous- especially with you already having the heart palpitations and all. might be a good idea to keep your phone on you when you’re out. glad you at least had sheep company while you were stuck- and really sorry to hear about the bee situation. you can’t just replace the queen eh? or did most everyone already leave when she died?

    • Donna says:

      Good advice, Denise. I usually do not have my phone with me because I tend to break things in the barn. But I will start now. I thought about replacing the queen but there are very few workers left. I don’t think she would make it.

  2. So sorry about the chicks and hen and your precious honeybees!

  3. mcfwriter says:

    OMG, scary, Donna – I second being sure the phone is with you. I try to always do that here, since I’m by myself, but often forget too, if I’m just out filling hay nets or going to check the mailbox. But if I’m doing anything “risky” (getting upon the roof to sweep off moss or something) I always make sure it’s with me.

    So sorry to hear about the bees. What a disappointment. I’m taking a year off with my hive(s). They didn’t make it through the winter, again, and I need to recalibrate what I’m doing out there. I love keeping them, but am kind of a hands-off beekeeper, which means I probably should be doing a different kind of hive (top bar, maybe, or something with more insulation – winterizing didn’t work). It’s an expensive hobby for sure.

    And bummer about the chicks too – it’s so stressful to see our animals having a hard time with the heat when there’s little we can do for them. Especially because none of us – humans or animals – are acclimated to this in JUNE, fresh off that cool, wet weather we had earlier in the month.

    Hang in there – and stay safe!

    • Donna says:

      It was scary. I am staying inside in the heat of the day now. Of course, I keep forgetting my phone. The bees are a disappointment. This is my third attempt and the worst outcome yet. It is an expensive hobby. The second chick finally died last night. I shouldn’t have moved them when it was heating up, but I thought it would help them. I hate making deadly mistakes.

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