Heat Related Deaths or complications due to the heat.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kuntrygirl, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    I was just wondering if anyone has had to face the unfortunate tragedy of losing any chickens to the high heat related temperatures? I live in south Louisiana and this weekend we had triple digits numbers. Yesterday was 100 degrees with the heat index of 108. I feel so sorry for my chickens when I see them panting with their wings spread away from their bodies. I have been freezing plastic water bottles and placing the frozen bottles in their waterers in hopes that their water remains cool throughout the day while I am at work. I also place large pans of water under the shaded trees and in the sheds.

    What are you doing to help keep your chickens cool? Would love to hear your ideas.
     
  2. dreamgirl

    dreamgirl Songster

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    May 28, 2007
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I do as you do with ice in the water. I'll also sometimes add a little electrolytes or apple cider vinegar to one of the waterers to encourage more drinking. I have a fan in the coop to keep the air moving. If it is really hot, like you get, instead of keeping them in the coop and run, I let them out to free-range even if I am at work (generally I keep them in in case of predators unless I am home) so they can dust and find shade. Finally, when I have had a hen that looks like she is overheating (usually the Light Brahmas), I'll put them in a cage in the basement during the heat of the day since it stays around 65 there. I've only had to dod that once in 3 years though. Good luck!
     
  3. chickenlady08

    chickenlady08 Songster

    Jul 27, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    I have unfortunatly lost 2 girls this year. One was my SSH Isabella and then 2 days later my favorite Delaware hen Nellie. It is so sad to go into the coop in the morning or afternoon and find one dead. I feel the same as you do Dreamgirl about free ranging my chickens but after having triple digits around here for weeks (finally cooled off a bit for now, thankfully) and the heat index has had it like 113 to 120. I started free ranging them after Nellie died. I am afraid that I may lose someone but for them to stay in their runs and even though it is shaded it is still sweltering. They have been out for around 3 weeks and they can climb under a either coop, or shed and even huge trees for shade so they seem far happier as well.

    I also freeze bottles and containers of water to add to the waterers and buckets, feed them frozen treats (popsicles, blueberries, grapes and numerous other things to help cool them down.
     
  4. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    I am so sorry you lost your hens. [​IMG]

    If its not humid, using a mister attachment on your hose can lower the temperature several degrees. If it is already humid it won't help. We are fortunate to have low humidity and only a few mid to high 90 degree temperature days in a row (once it went on a week--some folks lost hens). When it does get that hot I go into cooling mode with misting their sand run frequently, hang big wet beach towels on the sunny side of the run without limiting any breeze at chicken height (the run is completely roofed so always some shade). I add ice to water and freeze 1/2 gallon milk containers with water and place in the run. I also put a big box fan on to cool one section of the run so they can choose if they want to feel the breeze of not. [​IMG] The fan is helpful even if its humid out!
     
  5. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Quote:I am so sorry to hear about your loss. [​IMG]. It is VERY sad to go into the coops and find a chicken dead. Your heart just drops and then the tears. I hope that you or anyone else doesn't have any more losses this summer.
     
  6. chickenlady08

    chickenlady08 Songster

    Jul 27, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    chickerdoodle - thank you for your kind words. It is still sad and I am tearing up now just typing this response to you.

    kuntrygirl - thank you and I myself hope noone else loses any of thier chickens this summer. My Nellie would jump on my back each and every time I would lean over to clean the waterers or fill up the feeders. I am so trying to hold my tears back now it isn't working to well though. I just wish I had been able to hatch one of her babies out but that didn't work out so well. But on a brighter note, I think one of my Barred rock has decided that Nellie was a smart girl and she can see so much better on my back or even my shoulder and she never did it before Nellie died but does it every chance she gets now. So I guess that is God's way of helping me to get over Nellie's death.

    Thanks guys for the kind words and thoughts.
    You all are wonderful.
    Lisa
     
  7. jjthinkagain

    jjthinkagain Chirping

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    May 26, 2010
    You will find many threads here on BYC addressing this very issue, and many great suggestions in those threads. Use the "Search" function up above and you will be greeted with every imaginable idea for keeping our feathered friends cool. Those temps are insane and the info will be invaluable to keeping them alive.

    I use fans fans and more fans (I can't stress this enough), lots of cold water and lots of cold or frozen treats (e.g. watermelon). A lot of panting calls for some electrolytes as well.

    The weather here in NJ has been so rediculous this year (many days 100+ heat index and a gazillion days in the 90s) that I finally for the first time bought them an AC. $100 and enormous peace of mind since I can't tend to them while I'm stuck at work. Becaus etheir building is old and has many air leaks often this means it only brings the temp down to 88 but that's okay because they can survive in 88. It was that or make room for them in my house (and I've done that before) - it was definitely the easiest choice! I refuse to lose a bird because of lousy weather if I have a way to prevent it.

    JJ
     
  8. chickenlady08

    chickenlady08 Songster

    Jul 27, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    JJ

    I like the way you think. My husband has been teasing me about putting ac in the coops. I don't think mine would stay inside to enjoy it though and I have 3 coops and getting ready to convert a huge barn/shed to a 4th and make that my main coop and then have a broody hen coop, baby coop and injured coop. Man I like to think big:)) and I hope it works out.
     
  9. jjthinkagain

    jjthinkagain Chirping

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    May 26, 2010
    chickenlady08/Lisa, I am so sorry for your losses. The weather can get so out of control anymore. The humidity goes beyond merely annoying, like I used to remember it being, to all too often nowadays oppressively-suffocatingly-disgustingly-drenching (or is it my age?!).

    When the heat index goes above 100, I force my feathered friends to stay in the AC building. They hate it - I hate it on their behalf - but they live. When the heat index is in the 90's or below I give them the option of in or out, that is, I leave their hatch open and they can decide. I have noticed they go back inside periodically to chill out. Hen Ellie doesn't abide by heat nearly as well as her dear BJ roo, so she needs the cool (cooler anyway) breaks, and she takes them.

    JJ
     
  10. txliss

    txliss In the Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2008
    We live in Fort Worth TX (heat index yestersday was 108, too) In summer, my daughter takes out 1.5 gallons of ice water every afternoon at the heat of the day. For fun, I occassionally freeze overripe garden stuff into ice cube trays, and the girls peck happily away. Also, we give more kitchen scraps and no corn during the summer. Our run is shaded, so the birdies don't get much direct sun until after 5pm. We did lose a SLW back in May on a really hot day:hit, but the BO, RSLs and BSL are all doing fine so far (knock on wood).[​IMG]


    eta: so sorry for the loss of your girl.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010

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