July is typically the hottest month of the year around the world, which can be tough on your backyard chickens, your summer garden, and other livestock. Here’s how to survive in a heat wave when you’re a homesteader.
Advice For Surviving The Hottest Month
The first thing to do to thrive in hot summer weather is to plan ahead. Design your chicken coop and other animal pens with summer in mind. When you plan where to locate your livestock, make sure they have shade during the day.
When you plan your chicken coop build, try to make sure it will provide plenty of airflow and protection during the summer. Here’s a short video tour of our hot weather chicken coop:
In addition to starting out with the right location and coop, the types of chickens you choose can help them survive extreme heat in summer. Birds that have tall combs will be able to regulate their body temperature in hot weather more easily.
If you do have a chicken that overheats, you may be able to save it by acting quickly. You can cool it down by putting the bird in a bucket of water and by administering electrolytes. Click here to read more about treating heat emergencies in chickens.
And of course, keeping everyone well watered is a crucial part of your summer chicken care! You can use misters or mud baths, and even frozen chunks of ice in their water. For more ideas, check out the post 8 Tips For Keeping Chickens Cool In Summer.
Rabbits can be even more heat sensitive than chickens are. If you have backyard rabbits in a extremely hot area, I highly recommend installing an air conditioned bunny barn for them. Plus, if you want to breed year round, you will need to keep them below 85 degrees.
If you have only periodic hot days, here are some tips on how to keep your rabbits safe in the heat. The strategy I used the most was including frozen 2 liter bottles in their hutches each morning. But there are other options too!
And even though July and August are popular months for taking vacations, if your animals are very heat sensitive, you may need to plan vacations for a different time of year or arrange someone to house sit who can keep an eye on your livestock during the hot afternoons.
How To Keep The Garden Alive in July
The hottest months of the year can be tough on your garden, especially in very warm areas. Once again, selecting the right species of plants can make a big difference in your success. Just as you wouldn’t pick a cold hardy chicken breed in a hot area, so too you must select hot weather and drought tolerant plants for your garden.
Click here to read about 21 drought tolerant plants you can add to your yard to help it survive. I particularly like lavender. It’s very hardy in many different climates. It’s a beautiful plant. Bees love it, and you can even use it in the kitchen and around the house.
Of course the best way to protect your summer garden is with regular watering. That can be difficult in areas that have very dry summers. Many times there are watering restrictions in place, especially during droughts.
If you are allowed to hand water, you can be more careful with how you water. Sprinklers tend to put water all over the place, even where you don’t want it. Of course, you could always do double duty by aiming the sprinklers at the garden, but then letting the kids play in it while watering the tomatoes!
And if you know you will need water for your garden, there are ways you can conserve water around the house to make up the difference. Stored rainwater can be a great asset too!
And if you know that you will have scorching summers, watch your sun and shade and plant your more sensitive plants so that they are shaded during the hottest part of the day.
Appreciate the Benefits Of The Hottest Month Of The Year
Even though hot summer days can be a pain on the homestead sometimes, it’s also important that we take time to appreciate the good aspects of each season. This is the time of year when we can enjoy seasonal activities such as swimming, playing in the sprinklers, cool drinks, and fun places like beaches, pools, and rivers.
There are also other helpful aspects of summer heat in homesteading. Hot days are great for line drying outside. You can deep clean and hang dry things like bedding and curtains and know that they’re going to be nice and dry by the end of the day.
One of the best ways our family has found to appreciate the hot sun here in San Antonio is by installing solar panels on our house. Not only does it help save money when we run the air conditioner, but it’s great fun tracking how much electricity we have produced versus how much we consume!
I hope you’ve found some strategies and ideas in this post that will help you survive the hottest month of summer! If you have any tips, please leave them in the comments below!
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