Tropical Hens

Well, the hens have entered another Florida hurricane season. It’s the time we take inventory of water, batteries, alcoholic beverages, and chicken evacuation vessels.

Tropical storm Andrea was a good “training storm” for us. We knew it would be fairly mild. (And it was.) But when my creature-sitting neighbor eMailed me and asked about chicken evacuation plans during my [hopefully upcoming August] summer vacation, I had to stop for a moment and think. How could I possibly ask a woman in a Hyundai to transport five cats and four chickens to a safe zone during an evacuation? The answer is: um, I don’t have an answer for that one yet. I’m fairly certain they would go to my horse’s farm in North Tampa, if there’s room and our lovely barn hosts don’t mind.

For this particular storm, evacuation was not in the plans. Staying alert for flying puffs of feathery balls of chickens in 45-mph wind gusts took priority. So the gals stayed in their pens for most of the day. They handled the storm rather well, ducking into their coops when the sideways-downpours got intense, and coming down to stand in their runs (we’re they glaring at me? I couldn’t be sure) when the lighter storm bands blew through.

After a day of on-and-off downpours, wind gusts, random power outages, and overturned yard and garden accoutrements, the sun came out, and so did the hens. There were still a few random 30-mph gusts, but the girls seemed well aware of the need for vigilance and stayed near the garage and their favorite crawl space of the house. No chicken tumbleweeds, no projectile balls of feathers across the yard. And I’m happy to report that the new coop withstood the storm well, thanks to its strategic placement near the fence line. Little bit of water in the coop through the mesh window–there may be a chicken coop awning in their future–but everybody survived unscathed.

Mabelene observes her coop for any damage from the storm.


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