Can extreme heat cause chickens to have diarrhea?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by KCNC06, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Songster

    Sep 19, 2009
    Central NC
    We've been having an extremely hot summer here in NC (not unlike many other parts of the country). It's also quite humid, so even on the "cooler" days (under 100) the heat index is usually about 105-110. I've been quite concerned about my chickens getting too hot during the day. Their run is mostly shaded by trees (we live in the woods) so they have plenty of places to get out of the direct sun. We have a 5 gallon waterer and a 1 gallon waterer that we fill every day and put ice in the waterers in the afternoons. They have many little dirt holes that they've dug out and roll around in, same thing the dogs do to cool off.

    Still, when I go out in the afternoon to bring them treats (usually just scratch, cut up hard boiled eggs and semi-thawed frozen corn) and collect the eggs the chickens stand around me with their beaks open panting. I'm not really sure what else to do for it really a good idea to put a baby pool with a couple inches of water in it for them to cool down? The baby pool we bought for our puppy last year is too small for the now full grown dog, so I'm sure he'd be willing to let the chickens borrow it.

    Besides the panting, the other thing that concerns me is that they all seem to have a bit of diarrhea sometimes. Not all the time, there's still lots of normal looking chicken poo around, but diarrhea always freaks me out a little. This is orangeish brown, quite liquid diarrhea. I haven't seen anything bloody in it, no worms (they were all wormed about a month and a half ago - two weeks apart to kill any newly hatched worms...). It doesn't smell particularly bad. I mean, all poop stinks so of course it doesn't smell great. But it doesn't seem to smell abnormally bad. None of the chickens are acting "sick", nothing abnormal in their behavior other than the panting. No real changes in egg production.

    So I guess I have two questions, or a two part question anyway. Is it possible that the extreme heat is causing the chickens to have a bit of diarrhea? And, if so, what can I do to help cool them down. (Their coop is very well ventilated and they're outside from about 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m...or whenever they decide to go to bed.) We don't have electricity run to the chicken yard, but I'm not sure fans would be effective anyway since they're out in the yard all day.

  2. janetk

    janetk In the Brooder

    May 3, 2009
    i believe i've read that they will drink alot when hot and have watery poo. you can try water-filled frozen milk jugs in the run for them to snuggle against. frozen grapes, watermelon. it's hard to see them panting and wings lifted for a cool breeze, but i've just this year put a fan in their coop & i've never lost a chicken due to the heat. i give them the electrolytes in their water when it's really hot and give cold water. good luck & hope your weather cools down soon.
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Excessive heat will result in increased water intake which may lead to looser stools.
  4. HLAC

    HLAC Songster

    Aug 24, 2009
    Central Utah
    When my chickens drink a lot (like when it's really hot out) they often have runny poop.

    Personally, I stay away from sweet/starchy treats like watermelon, corn and such when it's hot because I don't want them to fill up on non-nutrious food and I think the sugar rush will only make them feel warmer. Just my opinion. [​IMG]
  5. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:Yup. Sometimes mine tank up on water and then essentially poop water back out. When I give them iced water they are using it to cool their insides down.
    I know it means they are pretty darn hot, but I don't think it means anything lasting is wrong with them.
  6. operator16

    operator16 Songster

    May 15, 2010
    All these poor, hot birds across the nation... We had some days in the high 90s a few weeks ago. The gals were panting and having runny poops also. They will have diarrhea because they are drinking so much water to stay hydrated. Just be sure you keep lots of cool, fresh water around. I filled up some large, plastic plant saucers - the ones about 14"x3" will cold water and place around the run in the shade. I've also put some small blocks of ice in them to keep them cool. The birds love these. They drink and walk through and seem to really enjoy it a lot. They get filthy quickly so keep an eye out and change it often. I've sprayed the whole run down too with the hose. Large milk cartons filled with water and frozen are very helpful. I've seen my gals standing on them and laying next to them. Of course, the watermelon helps all of us in the heat. I've also put a large fan in the run that I turn on high during the day to keep the air moving and slightly cooler. You might consider running some extension cords out for this. These all helped us get through without any losses. Best wishes!!! I did read about a gentleman that hooked up his hose with a fine mist sprayer and just let it spray over the top of the run during the hot day and his birds really loved it and sat under the mist and stayed cool.

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