Day four of our heatwave, with four days over 40°C so far.

I had a pretty shitty day.  The temperature peaked at 43°C (109.4°F) here today.

This morning when I was feeding the chooks, I notice that one was missing.  It was Baldy chicken (she had no feathers on her neck), one of my favourites, which was strange because she was always the first out the door of the coop each morning.

I looked in their house, and found her dead.  She had died from heat exhaustion during the night.  I was sad.  I felt like I had let her down, but knew that I had done everything in my power to keep them alive other than installing an air conditioner in their run.

I felt even sadder after I put the event up on Facebook and a mate asked if I cooked it (as in did I eat her).  A bit heartless.  So my retaught was probably equally thoughtless. “If your dog died, would you cook it?  It was a pet”.  Lucky I don’t hold grudges, and that we are really long time friends.

But still, it upset me a lot.

Anyway, I kept the rest of the feathered girls cool during the day by refilling their water every two hours, and spraying a fine mist all around to cool things down.  Seemed to have worked as they are all okay.

Same goes for Kim.  I did the housework, hung out the clothes, cooked dinner, and kept her cool all day.  She is coping well, but we are not looking forward to tomorrow which is expected to be 44°C (111.2°F) with a hot, strong northerly wind.

I even got a little sunburnt at 8 am when watering the garden, but I don’t think it was too serious.  It feels better, and think it was pretty mild.  Amazing seeing that I was even wearing a hat!

The plants are coping well, and I haven’t lost anything else yet, which is very surprising as I surely thought that the veggie patch would be a barren wasteland by now.

The Met Bureau forecasts one more day of heat, then a cool weekend.  Thank the maker.

Who is looking forward to a reprieve soon?


  1. says

    Thanks for your wonderful comments. They cheered me up, and there are some great tips in there about how to keep chooks cool in these crazy conditions. Sounds like a great topic for a blog post!

    Gav x

  2. says

    After a very hot week we have a cool change. Hopefully there is some rain about to put out the fires. I was so sorry to hear about your chook. Our girls are all okay, although very hot. We have water laying around for them everywhere. Our old dog is not doing so good though. She was very reluctant to eat tonight, so hoping that the cool change will perk her up again. My veggies were scorched as were other plants yesterday when it reached 50C!

    I don’t want to see another week like this last one in a very long time…

  3. says

    I’m so sorry to hear about your chook. My ducks are struggling with this heat, and like you I’ve been regularly topping up water (amazing how quickly it heats up) and have added some shade cloth to their pen, but they are still spending most of their time in the shade and panting. Its unfair. They didn’t do anything to cause this, but they suffer the consequences. Wild animals too, I wonder how they will go with finding shady places and a water supply. Thank goodness the cool change is here.

  4. says

    Seems like we are all heading our blog posts with HOT. We haven’t had temps. that high yet, but in the high 30’s. Sorry to hear about your hen. It has happened to us in the past with hens and guinea pigs. Even when you think you’re doing the best you can for them. I’m up and down to the garden and the livestock all day long checking on things. It’s quite devastating to find something that has succumbed. I’ve also resorted to the dunk in a bucket of water for a rooster that was really stressed, very close to death, and he survived!.

  5. says

    Hi Gavin,

    I am also sorry to hear about your chicken, we are out by the Grampians (Vic) we are expecting 42* currently 40 with hot wind like standing in front of a fan forced oven. I have taken drastic action out here and both chooks were dunked in a bucket of water to the neck (not their favorite), they are surprisingly water repellant but it did the trick, they also have a 2L bottle of ice in a dish of water and their dust bath gets turned to mud regularly which is where they are spending their time I have also been giving them frozen veges, Hoping all our chooks make it to the cool change

  6. says

    Hi Gavin,

    I’m so sorry to hear you lost your chook, I know how awful that feels. I don’t know if you’re able to use a sprinkler, but a couple of years ago my chooks were very distressed by the heat and a farmer friend told me to put the sprinkler on in their run – it worked.

    Failing that, could you bring them into your laundry or onto a veranda with a fan on and some damp towels hanging around the place?

    Good luck :)


  7. says

    So sorry to hear about poor Baldy. Some people try to make light of a pets death, but it never seems to come off so well. Very good retaught , Gavin! Id be pee`d off too!
    But this heat we are copping is nasty. I live part time in Melton and part time near Bendigo and it seems the cool change that Melton is looking forward to, isn’t coming to Bendigo…well not as dramatic, anyways. Will still be in the 30`s tomorrow and no rain.
    My dam up here on my block is almost empty and im worried for the local wildlife as I know its their drinking hole. Bring on the rain!!!
    Oh well, summer in Aus!!

    All the best for surviving the rest of summer :-)

  8. says

    We too lost a chook yesterday and although we raise ours for meat and eggs, I couldn’t contemplate eating her either. I hope there are no more tactless comments.
    My gardens also appear to be thriving. I have dwarf beans popping up left right and centre, the same with climbing beans. The spuds all appear a little limp in the leaves but the stems aren’t drooping in the slightest so they are fine. The pumpkins were a little limp leaved as well but they’re not fooling me. It’s merely a ploy for sympathy as they’ve doubled in sie this week alone and there are yellow flowers bursting out on the zukes, spaghetti squash and pumpkins as well as my first sunflower showing yellow. The greenhouse thrived yesterday with 3 ginger roots shoving up little spikes, the potatoes in there to my surprise are doing well, no more tomatoes died either and the last watermelon in there is growing well. I’m already planning further planting for next spring – choko vines over the goat/chook shed and the greenhouse. I figure that initiating permaculture principles of multiple uses for everything is going to be wise. Edible, perennial and majorly shade producing. :)
    Good luck to Kim and to your remaining flock and RIP Baldy.

  9. Anonymous says

    I would like to have chooks but worry about caring for them in the heat. Like you I would be devastated to loose a bird. I have been wanting to ask you how you manage the chooks in this unrelenting heat. Our guinea pig has been inside in a large plastic storage box. She would have died outside. When the temps are in their 30’s we give her frozen 2ltre bottles of water to snug up against. This works really well but when we hit the 40’s we rather she was inside. Our mad dog though loves the heat. She begs to go outside to bake in this heat! As for the vegie patch, it has been covered in shade mesh to stop leaves burning. The mesh will come off tomorrow when the severe temperatures subside.

  10. says

    Hi Gav, sorry to hear about your chook. We lost one too during our recent QLD heatwave and it is upsetting to think we could have prevented it somehow, but in the end the older weaker chooks just can’t handle it, no matter what you do. Even though that chook would have probably died at some stage, its just hard to handle it all when its hot and uncomfortable and you’re not sleeping properly. We are still pretty stressed out about the lack of rain currently and feeding hay to all our cattle, its supposed to be the wet season! I hope you make it through today ok and get some repreive tomorrow. Cheers, Liz

  11. says

    Wow! I can’t even imagine those temperatures … but perhaps you feel the same when folks in my hemisphere talk about our -22C temps ;).

    I’m sorry to hear about your chicken. That’s hard. Although we raise chickens for meat, our laying hens are pets, and I could no sooner eat one of them as I could my dog or cat.

  12. says

    Sorry to hear about your poor chicken. One trick is to freeze bottles of water and put one or two under their nesting boxes or where they roost. They can snuggle closer to get cool if they want, or not – works for rabbits too.

  13. says

    My sympathy for your loss of Baldy. It hurts to lose any of our dear feathered friends.

    So strange to hear the other side of the world perspective. Here a north wind brings cold Arctic temps and we are having a blizzard today. The brutal cold has caused some frostbite on the chickens even with heat lamps in the coop. If only we could share our weather and even it out in the middle!

  14. Anonymous says

    Sorry to hear about the loss of one of your flock. I’ve been woorying about mine. They have been free ranging it in the back yard hide out under the apple tree. One did get into the veggie garden. The plants have survived so far. The poor beans look a bit shrivelled. The pumpkins seem happy and are almost saying, “bring it on”. Hopefully everthing will bounce back.


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