Having lived on the east coast of Florida for several years, including the summer of 2004 when we were pounded with one hurricane after another, I am fairly practiced at preparing for a hurricane. What makes this one different, is that I have never had this many animals in my care at the time of a hurricane, or this much property to secure. Last time I lived in an apartment and had 2 pets, a parrot and a rabbit, both of which were inside. Now I have over 20 chickens, 13 turkeys, 3 dogs, and about 12 acres to keep up with. I began preparing several days ago, when Isaac was expected to be a category 2 and headed straight toward us. Now, thankfully, it has been downgraded to a category 1 and moved to the west a bit. We still need to prepare to have power outages, high winds, possible tornadoes, flooding, and no access to supplies. I always like to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The winds have gotten strong already. The chickens are free ranging still but will be locked up where it is safe in a couple of hours and will remain there until the storm has passed.
The chicken coop has been tied down. We are worried about the tin roof remaining intact during the storm so we secured it. The coop has an automatic waterer, but a regular gravity waterer has been placed in the coop to prepare for the loss of electricity. We have well water so no electric, no well pump, and no water. Extra feeders have been placed in the coop to ensure that they will have plenty of food if it isn't safe for me to go out and feed them in the morning.
A cattle water tub was brought over and filled so that we will have plenty of water for the animals. I'm expecting it to finish filling during the night, as we are going to have LOTS of rain.
The turkey hoop coop has been evacuated. It is built to be light so that it can be moved around the yard easily. This means that in high winds, it just isn't safe. The tarps were removed so that they don't catch wind. Hopefully it will hold up through the storm.
This is where the turkeys will ride out the storm. A cattle/horse trailer. It is sturdy enough to withstand the wind, and possibly downed limbs. It also has a middle divider so that if we need to leave, we can close the turkeys in one side, put the chickens in the other side, hook up to the truck, and all of us can go.
The turkeys seem to enjoy the new settings. They are so curious. I had to rig the back of it because they had figured out how to escape. Who ever said turkeys are stupid have clearly never been around heritage turkeys before. They are too smart for their own good sometimes. I moved their automatic waterer to the trailer, but also gave them a gravity waterer and extra feeders. We also stocked up on chicken feed, turkey feed, and dog food when we were stocking up on canned food and water for ourselves. They are good to go!
The first feeder band made its way through as I was finishing up. We already had our first tree casualty. This was a large Oak. Luckily it was away from the house and fell into a wooded area. Hopefully we won't loose many more. Time to hunker down for the storm!