Another Newbie question about how do chickens handle heat,

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sundayknight, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. Sundayknight

    Sundayknight Hatching

    Sep 8, 2009
    Hi all,
    I am hoping to get a few chickens in the near future and am in the process of looking into the different breeds available. I know there is a lot of info on how well breeds handle the cold, but we live in central Florida where I am more concerned about how well chickens handle the heat. Are certain breeds more heat tolerant than others or will they all be fine in the summer? I get the impression that when it gets cold enough some breeds stop laying in the winter, is the reverse true, where when it gets hot some breeds stop laying in the summer?
    Thanks in advance,

  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Chickens raised in your area will be acclimated to your climate changes.

    Chickens do well all over the country. In hot weather make sure they have shade, lots of water and places to dust bathe. They also hold out their wings and pant like a dog to cool themselves.

    They will be fine no matter which breed you choose.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I agree. Any breed should do fine in the heat.

    Heat can reduce egg production by causing stress, so yes it is a concern. I'm not aware of any reliable information on which breeds perform better in the heat. I'd think any of them will do OK as long as you provide shade and make sure they never run out of water. Running out of water can seriously effect egg production in any climate. And if it is too hot, the chickens are not goingto be as active and will not eat as much, thus reducing their nutrition intake. If they don't have the nutrition, they won't lay as much, so shade is really important.

    The cold does have an effect on the chickens reducing their lay, but the lack of daylight hours also has a big effect.
  4. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I agree that all will adjust as the weather heats up, however some may have to work harder to keep cool. My dual-purpose birds are heavier bodied and spend more time in their wading pool (giant plant saucer) than the Mediterranean breeds.

    It's just a matter of you giving them a little help when it's blistering, like the fan I have set up in my coop- they think it's Heaven!
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Agree with everything said here already, any chick raised there will feather out to suite the climate as best it can, but here in this chart it has lots of notes like 'heat tolerant' and such. I love this chart, and copy it on my drive periodically in case it ever dissappears from the web! . The mediteranian breeds with large combs to help with cooling, are esp suited, but most will adapt with good care.

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  6. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    North Carolina Sandhills
    Alarming, isn't it, to start researching getting chickens and discover that they start to suffer from the heat at about 85 when your ordinary summer temperatures run 95-105 for weeks or months? We here in the steamy southeast think of 90 as "Not too terribly hot" and 80 as a cool day in June or August (lucky to get 80 as a nighttime low in July). [​IMG]

    I was told to avoid Wyandottes and Orpingtons here on the NC Piedmont because that heavy feathering didn't lend itself well to hot, humid conditions.

    My research indicates that Australorps and Delawares would suit me very well.

    Others breeds that came up in my search as good in heat were Naked Necks, Fayoumis, and all the Mediterranean breeds.

    Pure conjecture here, but my thought is that if you could get birds locally (or at least regionally), that had been bred there for several generations you'd be likely to get a strain that was well adapted to local (regional), conditions.
  7. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Mine seemed to do OK this summer. I have Polish, EEs, a BO and a whole mess off barnyard mutts. We're in Phoenix, so we have extended periods of 110+.

    I froze milk jugs filled with water and changed them out before and after work. The chickens love to sit on them. Other than that, lots of water, maybe a pan to wade in, and lots of shade.

  8. 2etuaz

    2etuaz Hatching

    Mar 30, 2009
    Tucson AZ USA
    We are in Tucson, AZ and we make sure they have shade, cool water and if it's over 95 degrees a fan.
    I freeze water in sour cream tubs and drop the cube into the water to keep it cool.

    They love to back up to the fan and open their wings. It took them a few days to trust the fan. I use an old box fan and they initially did not like the movement of the blades. I am looking for a smaller fan that I can mount inside the coop.

    Production drops off when it gets really hot, but not just for the birds. I can't blame them. I don't get much work done around the yard either when it gets really hot.
  9. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Chickens pant, and if you touch their feet you will find them shockingly warm. Going by that, I gave mine a wading pool on the hottest days.

    It turned off EXTREMELY hot, like 100*F every day of the week for the first two weeks of June which was really their first taste of hot weather. I would make a block of ice in the freezer, melt it enough to turn out then dump it in their wading pool (which is a shallow dog feed pan, about a foot in diameter) and they would stand in the ice water. By the end of the summer they didn't seem to suffer nearly as bad, especially when it was only 90* I think they were more accustomed to the heat by August.
    The only downside was that the increased wetness in the run from them splashing water around seemed to REALLY multiply the flies. I guess it was a small price to pay.
  10. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    The other thing to consider is that the traditional, closed wall type of chicken coop may not be the best thing for your climate. Even with ventilation, these kind of coops can be stifling hot in the summer.

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