HOT, panting, miserable chicks!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 7, 2010
I live in SC and its a little over 100 here, no breeze, humid etc. My 13 day old chicks are in a brooder outside with shade, plenty of water, and even a shallow container with a bit of dirt in it. They are even trying to lay in the water!!! Is there anything I can do for them? Would bringing them in the house (there are 26) be a bad idea, I was concerned about them being in air conditioning then going outside again. The older silkies aren't too happy either but they aren't laying down & panting like the younger ones.
For the chicks I freeze gallon jugs of water, ice in their water containers, almost frozen water melons...hotter than Hades here in FL already...the ducks and geese fare better as they can get in the water to cool down...I run water for them several times a day to keep their pools cool...
We live in Arizona and it has already hit 110. I fill freezer bags with water and make an "ice water bed" (double bag them so they don't leak in the freezer). I also fill and freeze soda bottles for them to stand on. I put the bottles around the frozen bags so they have a little ice fort in the shade under their coop. My 9 week araucana chicks love laying on the frozen water bags and they stay dry. We also have a sprinkler in the run that I turn on throughout the day just to cool the ground off. Make sure your babies have plenty of fresh clean water. If they are really hot, you can put their feet in a bowl of cool/cold water. This will cool them off quickly, but it won't last for very long. I don't really like leaving a pan of water out because the water gets disgustingly dirty and I don't want my birds laying in it. All birds pant when its hot, so its just as important to watch their activity level. If they are eating and moving around, they're hot but okay. I cut back on the crumbles during the day when it gets over 105 because it heats them up. I feed heavy in the morning and before they go to bed. Hope this helps.
If you have a brooder lamp or other heat source turn it off during the day. The air temperature is quite hot enough without it making it even hotter. In the evening when the air temperature drops below their comfort zone you can turn it back on. Do what you can to improve the air flow through the brooder.
What kind of brooder are they in? If it's a solid sided box you might want to switch them to an open sided container to they can get more air flow. I'd leave them out rather that switch them back and forth between the house and outside.
Mine 2 Buff Rocks are now 7 weeks old and are also panting. They are in the shade in a wire run and I have a box fan running to increase air circulation.

I would not bring them in to the house, the temperature change is too drastic and then you will have to put them outside again at some point.

I have read one of the university studies that stated that chicks that great a little heat stressed deal with heat better later in life. I am not suggesting you stress them, by all means do as people have suggested to help keep them cooler.
I just tried something new with the Marans I got yesterday. She is in her quarentine cage and cannot free-range yet, and unfortunately the cage is a wire-bottom so she can't dig holes to lay in like the rest do. I got a wash-cloth wet and wrapped it around one of those re-freezable bag-things and put it in her cage. I have seen her standing on it a few times, and will keep checking to see if she is using it to cool off. I have let my others free-range all day, and they have mostly been staying in dust-holes under a camper van. And I agree with using a brooder that is open. My coop is also built that way - the only solid wall is the back, and there is a sort of half-enclosed roost/ loft area. The other walls are all chicken wire. Nice and breezy - and shady.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom