It is hard to know what is really going to happen weather-wise where I live. Our local news stations make a huge deal out of a little rain, declaring it “the storm of the century, possible flooding, hurricane force winds, etc. Then nothing happens. They have cried wolf so many time that I don’t think anyone would prepare if real danger were imminent. This morning the news reported that by 4:00 p.m. we would have heavy rain and 35-40 mile per hour winds.This would last through Sunday night. But, was it real or hype? We never know. A few drops of rain on the windshield and they start putting the “stormwatch” team in place. Hapless new reporters are sent to Blue Canyon to stand alongside I-80 interviewing people putting on snow chains. Then they climb up the shoulder to stand in the pile of snow left by the snow plow in an attempt to convince us that six feet of fresh snow really has just fallen. Crews rush to the scene of clogged storm drains and stand in their rubber boots in two inches of water proclaiming the flooding has started. Somebody pulls the leaves out of the drain and as the water recedes they rush to the next breaking “stormbeat” story. What are we supposed to do? Prepare, ignore, change the channel, go to bed and pull the covers over our heads? WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?
This time I bought it, hook, line and sinker. My big worry was for my chickens. Their coops with the wonderful open fronts seemed like a good idea at the time, but they have not proven to be impractical. We were told our storms always come from the south so we positioned the coops to avoid rain getting inside. But, our storms have swirled in from all directions saturating the insides of the coops. So before I could rest today I decided to clean the five coops, close the fronts, and replace all the feed that has spoiled from being wet. By the time I gathered the supplies, I had but four hours left until the start of the deluge that was hanging over my head thanks to the local news. I called Michael from my cell phone on the way home and told him I would be racing against time to get everything done before the heavy rain hit. When I walked through the door he asked,”What can I do to help.” OMG, HELP! I might actually make it.
Michael stapled plastic on the fronts of the coops that were still open while I crafted rain flaps to cover the vents. Michael shoveled out the wet, soiled bedding from five coops. Yuck. He drew the line at cleaning the nest boxes that the babies have been sleeping in without a HazMat suit. I got that done before we moved ahead and replaced the bedding with 500 pounds of Dry Stall in it’s place. Hopefully this will be easier to keep clean and the waterproofing will help as well. Just before finishing we got a call that the alarm was sounding at the old house and the police were en route. Michael dashed away to deal with that while I finished preparing the five chicken coops for the “storm.” I almost made it but finished in the pouring rain which arrived a half hour before the reported time. All the work will be worth it if the chickens have a nice, safe, dry place to call home. I am in the house now enjoying a hot cup of coffee and I suspect the chickens are tucked up on their roosts, lovin’ their clean, dry homes.
Here’s what we did.
Three of the coops have already been covered in the front because they have roosters that crow too early in the morning. Michael stapled plastic up on the fronts of the remaining two coops. When we get dry weather, those fronts will be enclosed as well.
I made little plastic mud flaps to cover the front vents to keep the rain out. That is where the feed has to sit and it has been getting wet. Poultry can die from moldy food so correcting that problem was paramount.
I had plexiglass cut to fit the opening at the tops of the doors and we installed them with corner molding. That should keep the rain out and also dampen the crowing sounds.
The cleaned coops each received 80-160 pounds of Dry Stall which is similar to sand.
The roosts were put back into place and feeders full of fresh, dry feed were placed into each coop. The coops were ready to welcome their flocks back home.
The chickens had been pacing all day. They always go a little berserk when you mess with the coops. The roosters poked their heads inside from time to time to see what was going on. My Icelandic rooster, Isi (pronounced Icy), loves to be the first one to show the girls when something has been done to the coops. I am sure he is happy tonight. Michael also awarded the Icelandics the Cleanest Coop Award, which really isn’t fair since they have the biggest coop and the fewest birds.
The alarm problem is solved, the birds are happily asleep, I am showered and warm, homemade tamales are steaming in the kitchen, and the rain is falling outside! It is not a deluge but the rain is here and we are ready. But I am not watching the local news again until next week. Just in case.
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