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Excessive Heat: What do you do to protect your flock?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Shannonwbl, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Songster

    We just lost our all time favorite hen yesterday (in my avatar). I know there are other threads on heat, but given this heat wave many of us are experiencing, I thought I would put this out asking what do you do for your flock?

    We let them free range risking any predators (though I am not sure they are moving around in this) in order to let them find nice cool spots on their own. Yesterday I sprayed down their favorite afternoon spot to make the grass and dirt damp, and of course we have water in lots of spots. I have a short water trough that the dogs use to cool off that I will use as an emergency dunk tank if needed.

    What do you do?

  2. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Songster

    Here is some suggestions from JJTHINK posted on another thread.

    To anyone reading this, in case helpful:

    Fans, fans, fans, so they can have access to moving air. Makes a huge difference. (some also add AC -I have joined those ranks - it gets reprehensibly hot and humid here in NJ sometimes)
    Shade, shade and more shade
    Cold water available at all times (can put blocks of ice in the water that slowly melt)
    Cold icy fruits (e.g. can put watermelon slices in freezer an hour or so before serving in the shade - it'll stay cold for a little while this way - if freeze really long the wtaermelon gets really slimy yukky and my birds won't touch the stuff. I also give very cold cut up grapes, blueberries, cherries etc. )
    No heavy food in the heat of the day
    Puddles in shade to play in and cool tootsies (when it's going to be really hot, I run a hose to part of their run and let it run awhile)
    If a bird is panting a lot, ELECTROLYTES!!!!!!

    If birds are not doing well, somehow some way move them to a cooler location till the heat breaks. This can be difficult for someone with a boatload of birds.

    Most chickens bodies start to experience difficulty at 90 degree heat index. They need help big time when the temps are approaching 100 and if higher yet, they are at great risk. Yes, there are exceptions with particularly hardy or very conditioned birds but by and large, it's really rough on many of them at these temps.

  3. themagicash

    themagicash In the Brooder

    Aug 10, 2010
    Yeap, these are all great ideas! I lost a EE hen yesterday to the heat. Our heat index is well over a hundred at this point. I water their run a few times a day and put out ice water in a huge container they can stand in. A neighbor set up a mister for her chickens and they love it and actually get wet!
  4. ChickiKat

    ChickiKat Songster

    Jul 10, 2011
    Eastern Kansas
    Thank goodness we are getting a break from the heat. My birds didnt like the kiddie pool I got them, at least not for dipping in. They do drink from it. Yesterday I got cheap frozen corn on the cob and they really liked that. They made gone with it really fast..... So far so good with no losses!!!
  5. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Songster

    Quote:I had not thought of frozen corn! That sure is cheaper than the frozen strawberries I was planning.
  6. Rockin D's Girls

    Rockin D's Girls Hatching

    Aug 4, 2011
    This heat is really taking a toll on our "Girls"! It's just driving me crazy! I am doing everything that I can, but we have had any where from 108 to 112 degree heat (not heat index) temperatures for a week straight now! The evenings are only cooling down to upper 80's. Uggh. We have lost 3 girls so far! It's just heart breaking! I did save one after spending 3 hours in the middle of the afternoon yesterday with her! I noticed her comb started turning a pale red instead of bright red. So I quickly picked her up and placed her in a large pan of cool water. She collapsed almost immediately. I gentle shook her a little to bring her back to life and patted her back lightly. Then I took a spray botttle and started misting her face and body while she is still in tub of water. She couldn't stand up. It was so sad. I ran to the house and got a block of ice from the freezer and put it in the tub of water with her. That seemed to bring her around. Then I started spraying small amounts of water in her mouth until she started drinking. She finally came around after several hours and bit me! I said "good, well at least your back to being your ole orney self again!" I have misters running and tubs of water everywhere. Also have industrial fans running in barns and hen house. One of my poor old girls died today in my feed room. (No fan in there at the time) Broke my heart! I also gave some frozen peas to them this afternoon and they really liked that. And I put an ice pack (not the gel filled kind) the solid kind you put in kids lunchboxes into the laying boxes. I thought that it couldn't hurt. I have a tarp over the top of the run area to block the sun and I sprayed the ground down to cool it so they could lay. Not sure whatelse I can do. There is no relief in sight with the heat!!
  7. jnkir7

    jnkir7 Songster

    May 26, 2009
    jonesboro arkansas
    Quote:i lost a buff orpington hen yesterday, and one six week old was missing i looked for her for hours, i thought a hawk got her then this afternoon i found her under a pan ,guess she flipped it over on top of herself, poor baby was under it for almost twenty four hours she never made a sound and i called for her and looked everywhere i thought she could have gotten stuck or locked in to,i turned over the pan ,she came running like it had just happened, she sure ate good for a couple of hours, she didnt go straight for water altho i made her drink first she just wanted to eat.

  8. greenegglover

    greenegglover Songster

    Aug 14, 2009
    Its been really hot here too....Added a fan, got less panting, still lack of eggs. 20 chickens last week only had 8 -12 eggs a day. Now with some heat relief I had 18 eggs! If next year or this year gets this bad again Im cutting a hole out for a small air conditioner....those poor girls!
  9. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    We have 100+ daily here in Texas. No losses. [​IMG]

    I started with passive cooling .

    I recently added misters for active cooling . They hated them at first, but now they soak up the coolness much of the day.

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