Originally Posted by cyborg
Originally Posted by DesertChic
Would you believe that my bird that's doing the best in the heat is my little Buff Silkie hen? I've yet to see her lift her wings or pant at all. While all of the other birds, including my NNs, look miserable, my little Silkie just plods along through the day as if completely unfazed.
Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm
Oh, I'm so sorry. Was she a Biel mix? (I know you weren't sure of their heat hardiness...)
My Naked Necks have certainly done better in the heat - but interestingly, the smaller Cream Legbars (fully feathered) seem to do almost equally well - some days, maybe even better. I'm wondering if it is the body size thing. (Though my NNs aren't THAT big.) My German New Hampshires are doing well so far, and I know other folks have some other fully feathered chickens that do well. Besides the simplistic "number of feathers" thing, what sorts of things go into a breed being heat hardy, structurally (or do we know)?
Gotta say, some folks are having temps now that would kill any bird, Naked Neck or not, so I'm not sure that replacing all our chickens with NNs would solve the problem (no that they aren't great).
- Ant Farm
I live about 40 miles northwest of Desertchic, and dealing with the same 115 degree temps. All my birds (including 30 CX meaties!) are housed in a covered 30' x 40' chain link run, with shade cloth on the sides. I set up 2 impact sprinklers at the 2 rear (windward) corners and set them each to spray along 2 sides, and over the roof. I'm running the sprinklers from 11AM to 7 PM, so I'm going to have a nasty water bill this month. The shade cloth and the wind combine to give the pen a swamp cooler effect. So far, so good. Also put a small plastic wading pool in each individual pen, and they are being heavily used!
I've definitely heard that Silkies do really really well in hot weather. I had no plans to get them, but... I might eventually... (I have too many chickens right now and need to focus my efforts, so....)
Our weather has been horribly bizarre - usually we are begging for rain, but we've had something obscene like 1-4 (or more) inches of rain A DAY for the past couple weeks (at least according to gauges in my yard). I am so so fortunate that all my coops are on appropriately sloped land so that none got flooded with standing water, and food in feeders hanging covered under shelter so no moldy or spoiled feed, but most had water essentially running under and through the deep litter for a couple weeks, along with sideways rain coming in to wet the top. Standing water in the paddocks, but not in coops. Garden is a complete loss for the year. But I'm fortunate - I need roof work, but no evacuations, and none of my chickens drowned (some other folks have had that issue) - so may folks have had it so bad, and six people died or drowned here over Memorial Day weekend (and it has rained every day since then). No rain today, and hopefully a dry wee ahead, so I spent about 8 hours today trying to clean and tend the coops, address any mess or things that needed to be fixed or dried out, and adding lots of dry bedding (about 6 or 7 big compressed bales of pine shavings). Started the youngest ones on Cocci treatment because I saw a few suspicious poops - I would be stunned if they didn't have a cocci problem with this mess. Don't EVEN ask me about the flies. It's biblical.
Anyhow, there was a reason I typed all that - our temperatures have been lower than normal (for here) because of the rain, in the high 80s/low 90s, but MUCH more humid. It has not been hot enough yet to pull out the big guns (ice in waterers, ice foot baths, etc.). I've been watching the very young birds carefully for how they handle the heat so far (all older ones are ok - NNs and Cream Legbars). I'm not remotely worried about the young Cream Legbars - they are total troopers in the heat (likely due to the small body type). But I'm watching the chicks I ordered from Eight Acres carefully (currently almost 10 weeks): I got 7 German New Hampshires (which I want to cross into the NNs), and since there was a 20 chick minimum, filled out the rest of the order with Blue Copper Marans and Olive Eggers. I've been watching the carefully - it can be hard to tell if they are going to have an issue or not. When they sit still and hang out, they pant and hold out their wings some, but not in distress type panting (like today, when it was only 86F and they were in deep shade) - when they decide to get up, they run around like there's no problem.
THAT BEING SAID... The Marans seem to have their mouths open more than the others, and occasionally a couple of the bigger Marans boys have looked a bit iffy (had me on the verge of getting a bucket, but then got up and toodled around). So I have a question for all you super hot weather chicken folks - any experience with Marans in heat? Since they are nice examples from a good breeder, and supposed to be good dark egg layers, I considered keeping a Maran cockerel with the Maran pullets. But I'm beginning to wonder if he will have a hard time making it through the summer...
I know someone who breeds Black Penedesencas, I may end up getting hatching eggs from him sooner rather than later if I have to do too much support of any of these over the summer. It doesn't get as obscenely hot here as it does where're you guys are (where you must really assist any chicken of any breed), but breeds that can't make it at 90-95F aren't really practical for me in the long term, no matter how much shade I've got...
- Ant Farm