I have 8 week old chicks out in their coop and run. Today the weather got up to 90 degrees w/ a feels like 97. I got concerned while at work and came home at lunch and froze a tray of blueberries in ice cubes. When I came home from work I found them with their mouths open panting and a few with their wings lifted off their bodies. They were all still active and not lethargic. I put the ice cubes in a tray and took them out, they melted very fast, they gobbled up the berries and drank the cold water. They seemed to recover quite a bit, but still have their beaks open a little. Even now I've closed them in their coop for the night (which is 40% hardware cloth screen, so lots of ventilation) they are still panting a little bit. They are piling on top of one another which isn't going to help.
The entire coop and 650' square foot run are under shade in the afternoon (most of the run the entire day). The coop is off the ground by 2 feet giving them another area always shaded and they have an awning that gives additional shade over their pop door. They have 55 gal drum of water with poultry nipples in their run under the awning and another 7 gal bucket in the coop. They have sand for bedding in their coop which so far has stayed nice and cool from being in the shade, and I scoop it every day so there is no warmth from ammonia.
How much panting is simply normal, and at what point do you need to take action? Should we be able to get rid of ALL panting, or is the equivalent of not letting your kids get sweaty in the summer?
I have large Tupperware containers in the freezer with fruits and veggies freezing in blocks, I plan one out in a dish every morning, hoping the large size will take time to thaw during the day and also provide them cold water. I read on one site corn warms their body to digest, so it's not the best choice, but lots of sites suggest it... thoughts?
My husband is out buying a box fan right now to use in the coop or run. I see online a lot of people put them in the coop.. but I'm not sure my girls go inside in day. Should I just set it up in the run for the day so they have a shaded space and a breeze? Then move it to the coop at night?
Am I doing too much? Not enough? Advice would be greatly appreciated!
Edited by Des R - 7/6/16 at 6:20pm