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Help! I think my chicken died from the heat!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by figuerjo03, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. figuerjo03

    figuerjo03 Hatching

    Nov 22, 2010
    Kempner, TX
    I'm looking for some coop modification advice. My husband and I just moved to central Texas, which is in the middle of a drought and a heat wave. Unfortunately our backyard faces southward, so it gets sun all day long, and we have no trees (this will change soon, hopefully). The coop is 4' x 6', with adequate ventilation, but the wall with the laying boxes is facing due west. This evening when I went to give the girls more water and check for eggs, one of our Orpingtons was dead in the laying box. As there were eggs under her, I presume she died while laying. She wasn't sick, and neither is the rest of the flock, so I can only assume she died from the heat while laying.

    We plan to modify their run this weekend, making basically a giant cube cage around the coop so the girls have more room to run. In doing so, the side of the coop with the laying boxes can be moved in any direction, maybe northward or eastward. Anyone have any suggestions about the ideal direction to make the laying box side cooler?

    Also, my husband thinks we should put either pressed wood or windbreak cloth over some of the cube to provide more shade. Thoughts on this?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Right now I feel like a horrible, irresponsible chicken mommy. [​IMG]


  2. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    I'm so sorry about your girl Jocelyn. [​IMG] I'm no expert, but sure others will have some good ideas for you to help with this problem.
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Shade, shade, shade!!! Either shade cloth (sold at places like home depot/lowes/etc.) or tarps over the roof of the run (doesn't work well w/rain, but it doesn't look like you have to worry about THAT right now). I would look at modifying your existing coop by removing or cutting out most of at least one wall and replacing with hardware cloth. If your run is predator proof, then you might think about outdoor nest boxes - some even use covered litter boxes or 5 gallon buckets laid on their sides...
    Good luck - and sorry about your orp girl [​IMG]
  4. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    So sad, so sorry to hear this [​IMG]. Laying eggs can be hard work and they need to be kept cool.......
    They need ample shade provided one way or another (lots of ideas here on BYC, everything from plantings to roofed outdoor sections etc.), cold water at all times, a breeze (fans can make all the difference - I run them constantly if it's in the 80's or above - and in really hot areas some folks add AC [I have, as NJ can get so stinkin hot and humid..])...
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  5. Backwoods Bntms

    Backwoods Bntms Songster

    May 6, 2011
    Northern Virginia
    We bought some of those oiut door roman shades and fastened to the sunny side of the run and the shade really helps. Have not measured the temp distance but you can tell by the way the birds act, They are more active during the heat of the day( behind the shade) instead of laying around in the holes they dig in the sand.
  6. wren

    wren Songster

    May 27, 2007
    St Augustine, FL
    Can you run a fan? They need it. Run it when it's 74 degrees or higher. Since your coop is on the small side I would buy one of those tarps made to shade animals and suspend it over your entire coop to shade it. If possible extend the shade tarp at least 4 feet from the edge of the roof.

    Collect the eggs as often as you can or put in a roll away nest so that they won't be tempted to try and sit longer.

    Provide plenty of fresh water. Some people freeze a milk jug full of water and put it in the waterer to cool the drinking water.
  7. Darklingstorm

    Darklingstorm Songster

    Jan 10, 2011
    Durant, Oklahoma
    A quick fix (that I've done personally) is to get a tarp and if it has a shiny side, face it out and away from the coop wall (make a tent). Some other ideas mentioned on other posts is ice bottles so that the chickens can snuggle up against them to keep cool; might try putting 20 oz bottles in the nest boxes during the day time. Others have used fans to circulate the air better inside the coop ( I plan on doing this myself). Using a water mister or hosing down an area so that the chickens can dig a "pit" to keep cool. Changing out the water several times a day to keep it cool or add ice to water dishes. Feeding frozen treats can also help keep chickens cool. I wait until the heat of the day hits (I live in Durant,OK also in a heat wave & drought) then give my girls frozen pieces of fruit or frozen corn.

    Hope this help and I hope we both get rain soon.

  8. TreeHugger

    TreeHugger Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    I've got tarps on my run until the tree I just planted gets large enough to be useful. Tarps are a problem when it rains, but a few holes poked here and there solved the issue. A few rubber pans with water also helps out. I would run a fan but I'm always concerned a storm will pop up while I'm at work and I'll ruin the fan and maybe shock a few birds in the process.
  9. chicken_noob

    chicken_noob Chirping

    Jun 22, 2011
    Chehalis WA.
    You can also plant bamboo in re ground or in large planters. They would do well in the sun long as you keep them watered. They can grow 6"+ a day and will make for a nice shade/wind wall later on. But for now, fans, tarps, etc to keep your gals cool. Just my 2cents.
  10. Skittleinaustin

    Skittleinaustin In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2011
    I live in Austin and am building a coop. Would appreciate tips on dealing with our 100 degree days. I'm looking into solar fans and am building the coop next to a good shade cedar. What other suggestions do you have?

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