Today we spent preparing for Irene. I have never experienced a hurricane before. I have lived on Cape Cod for 8 years now and last year Earl, did not live up to the hype. The Weather Channel is saying that this will be one of the worst disasters for coastal New England. They may be sensationalizing a bit, but with two young children and a coop full of chickens, we need to be prepared.
In addition to insuring that we have adequate supplies including water, food, a first aid kit, batteries and flashlights, it is also necessary to prepare for our chickens’ needs as well. When Bob hit Cape Cod in 1991, it took 1 week to restore power. Today, I was preparing as if we would be without power for a few days.
It is important, if you are not evacuating, to factor in your chickens’ water needs into the quantity of water that you put in reserve for you and your family. Whether it is bottled water, or water filled bins that you prepare ahead of time, you do not want to overlook this detail. Be sure to put aside what your chickens drink in a one week period. There should also be medical supplies to deal with any injuries incurred during the storm for the flock as well as two weeks worth of food just to be on the safe side. Also, be sure to secure the coop’s roof and inspect and repair any areas that might be damaged further in the heavy rain and gusts of wind.
Only you can best decided where your flock will weather the storm. Some individuals lock the flock in the coop with ample food and water, crack the window a hair and hope for the best. However, because some coops are not as sturdy, some will choose to spread out a plastic tarp in the garage, basement or other sheltered location within the home and weather the storm there. During the storm, do not give into the temptation to go out and check on the flock. Debris can and will be flying and can certainly injure you in your efforts at kindness.
After the storm, be sure to assess the run and the coop for external damage prior to letting the flock out. Once the run is deemed secure, feel free to let the chickens explore. They will be happy to stretch their legs. Damages will be unknown initially. Will the power will go out? How long will it take to restore? Will the water will be safe or available to drink? With a few preparations, damages to your home and your chickens will be minor. We may have to survive a few days without our normal creature comforts.
As long as the girls are not swept away like Dorothy and Toto, I can be sure that despite any situations we are in, our breakfast will still be delivered to our door by the cutest little feathered delivery girls I have ever met!
What are you doing to keep your coop and flock safe? If you have any tips or suggestions, please feel free to share them in your comments. We would love any advice you can share!