It was 92 degrees yesterday so I decided to make some changes to the chicken run. I've had plastic covering the run for the past couple months because of all the rain we were getting. Wet chickens and wet chicken runs are no fun.
I just stapled the plastic down through a piece of duct tape. It seemed to work well and gave the chickens more dry space to run around in.
I took the plastic off because I was concerned that it might be trapping heat and restricting the air flow too much.
I replaced it with some shade cloth from my old roof garden. It should allow the air to move through but will cut the intensity of the sunlight.
I left part of it uncovered so I could access the door and also to let some sun in. Chickens like to bask in the sun sometimes. It must give them vitamin D or something. Chickens are pretty good about regulating themselves though so I figure if then need sun they can work out their own basking schedule. In the height of the Summer most of them will be seeking the shadiest spot though. Luckily the coop is on the east side of the sopote tree so by 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon the whole thing is in shade.
My plan was to plant a grape vine over the run that would grow in the summer to provide shade and then lose it's leaves in the winter to let the sun in. I never managed to get the plant in the ground last year though. I'd sort of forgotten about it until I saw it's little tendrils climbing up through the A. desmenttiana and Mangave Macho Mocha.
This is a plant that I got at the Theodore Payne Foundation called Robert's Red. It's a hybrid that is drought tolerant and turns bright red in the fall. It's so pretty that I sort of want to plant it closer to the house. It's grapes are supposed to be more palatable than full natives but it has some of the disease resistance of it's native parent.