It is once again wildfire season in California, and that means it is time to review preparedness plans both for ourselves and our feathered friends. To ensure the safety of your chickens amidst the increased risk of wildfires, it’s essential to take proactive measures. This article provides practical tips for chicken owners to prepare for wildfires.
- Plan ahead:
- Have an evacuation plan. Identify a safe place for your chickens before disasters strike, considering that public shelters and hotels may not allow chickens.
- Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends, or relatives who can care for or evacuate your chickens if you’re unable to do so.
- Tag your chickens with leg bands to increase the chances of reuniting if they get separated.
- Contact local emergency management offices, animal shelters, or animal control offices for additional advice and information.
- Build an emergency kit: Remember the acronym F.L.A.W.S.:
Feed: Store several days’ supply of feed in an airtight, waterproof container.
Litter: Include poultry bedding, plastic trash bags, and disinfectant for sanitation needs.
Air: Choose carriers with proper ventilation mechanisms, such as ventilation holes or mesh panels, for safe and comfortable transportation.
Water: Store a water bowl and several days’ supply of water.
Space: Choose a carrier that is appropriately sized. A good rule of thumb to follow is to ensure that cages or crates meet the minimum dimensions of 8 inches wide, 12 inches deep, and 10 inches tall per bird.
Ensure the safe location you choose for your chickens during emergencies offers enough space for their comfort. Consider using small animal panels or tents to allow them to free-range within a secure area, promoting natural behaviors while ensuring safety.
- Medicine: Keep extra medication in a waterproof container.
- First aid kit: Consult your veterinarian for appropriate emergency medical supplies.
- A picture of you and your chicken together: Helps with identification and ownership if you become separated.
- Familiar items: Include favorite toys, treats, or bedding to reduce stress.
Regularly review your emergency kit to ensure freshness of food and medicine.
- Stay informed: Stay updated on wildfire conditions and warnings through reliable sources like local news, emergency services, or official government channels.
- Sign up for text or email alerts from your local Office of Emergency Management.
- Learn about alerts and warnings at https://www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/practitioners/integrated-public-alert-warning-system.
- @NWS (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) issues a Fire Weather Watch when potentially dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours and a Fire Weather/Red Flag Warning when wildfire conditions occur or are expected within 24 hours.
We hope that these wildfire preparedness tips have provided you with valuable insights and practical strategies to safeguard your feathered friends.
This article was collaboratively created, with the initial draft generated by ChatGPT, an Artificial Intelligence language model. It was then reviewed, revised, and edited by Myrna Cadena, a Ph.D. student at UC Davis, and Dr. Maurice Pitesky and Joseph Gendreau from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, to ensure accuracy and quality of information.