Heat Stroke?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ClareScifi, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just read that shade is especially important for dark-colored chickens on hot days, because they get hotter than white birds. Do you think it is likely a 17-month-old Barred Rock could die from heat stroke in 98 degree temperatures, if she wasn't in the deep shade that she was accustomed to seeking shelter in on very hot days? I am just sick and believe this must be what happened to her. If I hadn't left on vacation that super hot day or had just let her out of the coop, she would probably not have died. But I was afraid to let her out when I wasn't around. I believe now this was my fatal mistake:

    I found out some more details from my neighbor who was watching her. She died inside the run, not out under the ladder as I had mistakenly thought. It was 98 degrees F that day. That shouldn't be too hot for a hen, but I always let them out to go into the deep shade under the woodpile on very hot days above 95 F. I had thought it wouldn't be too safe to let her out of the run while I was away because my neighbor is gone a lot, and I feared dogs and other predators.

    She had easy access to fresh water and watermelon that hot day, after all, since it was in the run with her, but but my run doesn't have the deep, dark shade of the woodpile. I'll bet that's what did her in. The neighbor saw her at 5 p.m. with her right leg extended and her head down over it. He thought she was taking a dust bath but found her in the same position the next morning, dead. I have seen that position before when they are too hot, and I have been able, on those occasions, to coax them into the shade and they have recovered. I feel so guilty for going on the vacation. Had I been home, I'm sure she'd be alive. Nasty heat! She may well have had an underlying condition, but I think she could have lived on with it quite a bit longer, if I had been able to get her into the deep shade of the woodpile on that hot day.

    I would like to hear from others who have lost Barred Rocks of this age to heat stroke. I can't believe I was so stupid. I didn't think it was going to get quite that hot that day.
     
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens would really die a horrible death from heat stroke, wouldn't they do, suffering? A heart attack would be a much faster and easier way for them to go.
     
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    It sounds like it could be from what you're saying. But I have to say that all 30 of my chickens find shade real quick when it's hot. Was there enough room for them all?

    You can build some sort of covering so they have shade. I put ice blocks in their waterers. Mine all have fans, one pointing at the nests because they sit there so long to lay an egg. I run the hose on the ground to give them a big puddle to walk in and cool off. If you plan to keep chickens, you might want to plant a few shade trees now so in a year or two they get more shade. I also have an extra pen on the north side of my coop to give more shade.

    Sorry this happened.
     
  4. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I only had 2 chickens, and they have a big run and it does have shade, water, and watermelon, but not deep shade, just shade The one survived. They were sisters, raised together from tiny chicks.

    I had left them in the run so dogs wouldn't get them while I was away and so the one wouldn't be tempted to go broody under the house again and get roost mites/parasites. They were used to deep, deep shade under the woodpile all summer long, in the afternoons. Maybe they acclimated to deep shade and the lesser shade of that 98 F day did the one in?
     
  5. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    doesn't sound like heat stroke really. Did she have access to any shade? Cool water?

    Mine are in that position a lot, anytime it gets warm. I have only lost 2 birds in the last 10+ years to heat stroke and that was after several weeks where the temp was over 114.
     
  6. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you posted at the same time I did.

    In your other thread you said she was much bigger than her sister. It is possible that she was more susceptible to the heat, but just as likely that she had an underlying condition that lead her to be less active and therefore larger.
     
  7. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Quote:Under the house would be the best place. Just dust them on occassion. If you kneel down by the opening to under the house, you can feel the cool air. It's really cool. My silkies huddle against the wire to the underground opening.
     
  8. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your feedback. I really appreciate it. I did notice that she didn't eat as well as her sister, even though she was bigger in size. She liked sweets better than her sister did (strawberries, watermelon).

    Both girls have had ongoing comb issues. In the spring I noticed parts of their combs were bright red, while other parts stayed pink-- I suspect circulatory problems?

    She was broody and may have gotten something when she went under the house to sit on eggs for 5 days-- roost mites? Parasites?

    She was my rebel girl-- first to arise and last to bed. She liked to sleep on top of her sister-- probably due to her broodiness.

    She tried to fly the coop once-- so cute. A little adventuress risk-taker. Every time I had a missing chicken and went crazy with worry, it turned out to be this girl-- under the house, going broody.

    You've made me feel better. Maybe it wasn't my fault for leaving her to go on vacation. I feel I could have kept her alive had I gotten her in the deep shade under the woodpile that day, but how long she would have lived, if she had an underlying condition, I don't know. But it was sure horrible to come home and find her dead and not know why she died.

    But it would have done me in to find her dead body myself, so perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that she went when I was away. I sure would have been afraid to go on vacation had she died before I left, out of worry about her sister, who survived my absence.

    We celebrated her life today with homemade coconut angel food cake, using her eggs. It was very hard to crack them. I thought about saving them and blowing them out to put in a basket, but she loved sweets, so we decided we'd eat a wonderful sweet treat in her honor. I do have some of her eggs left to save and put in a pretty wire basket. Especially the odd one she laid that has a perfect white ring on it, which might indicate a problem of some type that she may have had?
     
  9. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Under the house is not the best place. The neighbors put lime there, there are cat feces, and we couldn't see her to check on her to make sure she was okay. Also, she was sitting on old rotten eggs from last November, and some of them were cracked, and there was no way to get them out. In addition, skunks have been known to go under the house and a skunk can kill a sleeping chicken.
     
  10. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    So sad about your bird - I am sorry.
    Birds vary in their tolerances. 98 degrees is way too hot for some. It doesn't matter that people can point to examples where their birds survived hotter temps.. The particulars of each bird and how it's feeling at a given point in time determine the outcome. It is wise for everyone to assume that anything over 90 degrees, especially if humid, requires cooling measures so that if a bird is feeling heat stressed it can seek out those measures (shade, fans, ice, cool treats, puddles etc) to cool down.
    JJ
     

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