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Heat wave and young chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lrach73, May 26, 2018.

  1. lrach73

    lrach73 In the Brooder

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    My flock is about 7 weeks old and currently living in their coop. The coop is very well ventilated, raised off the ground about 2 feet and under apple trees (shade all day). It is currently about 90 degrees in the coop and the humidity is high'ish (54%).

    They are panting, as I would expect. I've hung a box fan outside the window and have it on high. They are hanging out in front of it doing their best chicken-marilyn-monroe-skirt-blowing impressions. I also just gave them a 1/2 watermelon, and of course they have plenty of fresh water.

    Here are my questions:
    How much of this is really necessary? I just cannot imagine chicken keepers two generations ago doing this for their chicks.

    I'm in the midwest (outside temperatures are currently 92, heat index 99) and we're expecting hotter temps next week. However, I have to believe that people successfully raise chickens in the deep south where it's even hotter and more humid. What do those in the deep south do to keep their flock healthy in the heat? Anything?

    Their run is not done (so they cannot be outside), but they have lots of room in the coop and plenty of air flow (especially with the box fan). I have 2 Plymouth Rocks, 2 Rhode Islands, 1 Buff Orpington and 1 Americauna and 1 Black Sexlink.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

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    If they had access to the outside they would hang out in the shade, either in the cool grass or a cool hole they dug in the dirt.

    Chickens can suffer in the heat more than the cold. It's important to pick the right breeds if you are somewhere it gets really hot.

    Plenty of shade, and good drinking water options are important in the heat. This is where I'm a big fan of open dishes for water because birds can also stand over them and the brave can walk through them to stay cool.

    Most healthy chickens can adapt to the heat if given the right set up. Used to be the chickens would seek out the coolest places on the farm as many were free range back in the day. Mine can do just that. With confined birds it's more important to pay attention to what's available for your birds to stay cool as they are at your mercy.
     
    lrach73 and Hamiam like this.
  3. Flamens Farm

    Flamens Farm Songster

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    I live in SC and we do have some high temps. what I do is put a kiddie pool in their pen for them, they will stand in the water off and on during the day. Everybody gets a turn. I have even seen them sit down in it. I live in the woods so the pool stays in the shade but there is a good opening for them to sunbath also.
     
    lrach73, oldhenlikesdogs and Hamiam like this.
  4. Hamiam

    Hamiam Crowing

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    My Coop
    Sounds like your doing a great job. I'll be pulling the fan out this coming week when our temps go into the 100's. Today it's 98 with 50% humidity. My chickens are laying in a shady area that I wet down late morning. I've refilled all the waterers & put out some wet feed. I've got some milk jugs filled with water in the freezer for next week. I put those out in the shady areas & blow the fan on them for chicken air conditioners. Growing up in East Texas & West Louisiana, we never pampered our chickens like we do now a days. However, they work hard laying eggs for me & I want them to be as comfortable as possible. My neighbor said that when she dies, she wants to come back as one of my chickens.
     
  5. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Songster Premium Member

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    Chickens, at least mine, learn to adapt to the climate, pretty much. Remember, they originated in Africa.
    What the rest of the country calls a heat wave, is just a typical summer day down here. July and August in the Deep South is 100+ heat index everyday. I’ve never been to the Amazon but I assume living in south Louisiana is like living in a rain forest. But its already 90+ degrees in May, so it might be really bad this year.
    At 1pm today, my chickens were laying out in the sun, wings outstretched soaking it in. It was 92 degrees on my back porch, which is actually comfortable to me.
    I’ve never placed a fan in my coop, but it is designed for hot weather. Open air, only 3 walls, and lots of ventilation. In the summer months about the only thing I do extra is place ice in their water. I fill quart Gatorade bottles with water, freeze them, then sink them in the water dispensers. I’ve heard some people lay the bottles of ice on the ground for the chickens to snuggle up to.
    Provide them plenty of shade and cool drinking water and they should be fine. They are a lot tougher than we are.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

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    Actually chickens originated in southeast Asia. :)
     
  7. lrach73

    lrach73 In the Brooder

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    Midwest, Kansas
    Thank you, everyone! Those silly girls (and two "bonus" boys) LOVED that fan. I didn't have it in the coop, but rather blowing in through their big window. They stood in front and let it blow through their "locks". They also ate one quarter of the watermelon I put out there and nobody was panting this evening. One of them decided on top of the other 1/4 watermelon was a pretty great place to be and wasn't thrilled when I took it out (poo covered). Hopefully we can get the run done this weekend and get them outside with a little pool to stand in.
     
    oldhenlikesdogs likes this.

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