Archive for July 16th, 2013

Chickens and Hot, Humid Weather

As the temperatures and humidity soar, you’ll want to help your hens keep cool. A few tips for helping your hens beat the heat!

As the temperatures hit the mid-80s, your birds will probably start panting. If temperatures hit above 100, your birds may suffer heatstroke. Here are some tips, excerpted from my class on chickens and heat, to prevent that.

1) Provide fresh, clean water – and lots of it.

2) Freeze 2-liter bottles and put them in the coop to cool it down.

3) Remove excess bedding, which traps heat.

4) Feed a crumble feed, rather than a whole-grain food. Grains generate heat as they are metabolized.

5) Provide shade.

6) Mist their favorite dustbath areas so that the soil is damp (but not muddy).

7) Provide shallow pans of cool water that they can stand in.

8) Create air movement.

If you notice that the birds are listless and lethargic (signs of heat stress), consider bringing them into a cool basement or to an airconditioned mudroom (in a dog crate or portable cage). Make the transition gradually (don’t bring them directly in to a room that is 20 degrees cooler). Help cool birds down by applying cool (not cold) compresses to comb, wattles, and feet.

As always, keep an eye on your birds and know what’s normal for them. This will help you catch problems before they become life threatening.