This is NicciChick. It has been blazing hot here in Southern California for the past 2 months. My poor chickens are so hot and spend all day long panting and digging dusting holes in their run to cool off. I have been putting Apple Cider Vinegar in their waterer (one of those large hanging galvanized steel ones that you hang from a hook in the run) to keep bacteria from growing in the summer heat. They love it, don't mind the taste or smell at all. But, it seems that the water turns brown and the waterer looks like it has a layer of rust covering the inside (up the wall to where the water line is) as well as the pan portion they drink out of. I use a kitchen scrubber sponge to thoroughly scrub the inside and out, as well as pressure wash it with the hose, every time I change their water; usually morning and night. Am I doing enough? The rust seems to be so dark and heavy this morning that I'm concerned I may be letting them drink water that is unsafe? Does anyone know how to clean up the rust, or do I need to purchase a new waterer? It's only 6 months old!
Also, my 10 hens have gone from laying 8-10 eggs daily to only laying 2-3 eggs daily in this heat? Is this normal? Their appetite is not reduced at all; they gobble up the lay pellets and all the fresh leafy greens and veggies and meal worms I give them daily, they just don't lay. They complain all day about the heat and pant for relief. I'm assuming that all their energy is going into trying to cool down instead of egg production at the moment. Do they lay more eggs in cooler weather?
Thanks for any advice.