August is the usual time of the year in Southern California when things begin to heat up and temps climb into the three digits now and then. Psyche! That started in June this year, and the last week of July has been crispy.
My house does not have air conditioning; we rely on fans and keeping the sunlight out of the house. The cat is on her own outside but usually finds a shady tree to sleep under. The dog is in the same boat that I am, being hot and panting. She hates baths or I would wet her down more often. As it is, I do wet her back and head after midday walks. And she has two different bowls of water in different parts of the house.
The birds are more of a concern for me. Inside, as long as the fan is moving some air around, they seem to do okay. But the bigger parrots do open their wings and sit absolutely still. Every one of them has a water dish or tube and an open dish to bathe in. I walk around with the water spray bottle a couple times a day, usually in the afternoons.
Exceptions to the above are Maynard, who uses his water dish to dunk everything from toys to pellets to broccoli. He gets to come into the shower with me almost daily. I don’t think he really enjoys the actual shower that much but he does love chasing and killing the towel afterward. I don’t really towel dry him, I get him on a perch and let him flap his wings a few times, then put him on the floor and trail the towel over him a couple times.
The outside birds are more of a challenge. I do have a splash dish, as we call the bath water, in each cage and a tube waterer. When I let the cat out each morning, I check each water tube to make sure there is a sufficient supply for the day. I usually refill them in the evenings, but accidents can happen. The bath water gets changed twice a week, which is way below the standard I would like to have in place. In winter this is sufficient but in summer I find that my birds have too much opportunity to be drinking poop soup.
Still, in this weather, I can hardly get to the basic chores. Another reason why I know I must downsize. And when I get more outside cages set up, decreasing what needs to be done inside, the shift will help me do better for the aviary flocks.
Once upon a time, we set up misters over the aviaries and turned them on during the middle of the day. But with a state-wide drought, that is not practical. I do set the hose sprayer on mist sometimes and cool the flock off that way. They seem to enjoy it as much as I enjoy watching them play and spread their wings.
For more information on how birds survive hot weather, read this Audubon article with input from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. http://www.audubon.org/news/how-birds-keep-their-cool Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.