Hot weather, thin growers :( Please help

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by RareBreedFancier, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    Hi all,

    It's been really hot here recently, over 100f and my chickens are looking/feeling rather thin. [​IMG] They aren't eating as much as they should be because of the heat.

    I wondered if switching them back to chick starter instead of grower might help? It has higher protein which I thought might help since they are eating less feed.

    They will dive on the layer grain they get as a treat (only a handful between the 10 of them) but I don't think feeding more of that would be good because they only pick out the grains they like and leave some grains and the pellets so what they are eating would be much lower protein than what they should be getting.

    I had wondered about giving them BOSS, plenty of fat and protein but I think I read something about being careful not to give them to much of that for some reason on here? Not sure.

    They are 11 - 12wo and look bright and alert, racing around, chasing bugs etc but they are eating less now than they were before the heat hit and I'm worried about them.

    They get each day: Ad lib grower pellets, a few salad greens from the garden, all the bugs they can catch plus any I can find for them and a handful of layer grain morning and night. They only eat the BOSS, wheat and corn from the layer mix.

    Any help appreciated.

    Oh, and meat bird, game bird, turkey feeds etc aren't available locally (that I know of) but I will be going somewhere I can get some of those on the weekend if something like that would be good for them.
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    100F is just about a lethal temp for a chicken. I'd say work on heat rather than feed. Maybe a wide shallow pan of water, if they will stand in it. Maybe a fan blowing on them. Shade, of course, but you've probably already addressed that. Maybe a swamp cooler (fan blowing through a wet burlap bag filled with hay, or the like; you can do a search on here.) I keep a box fan running in the coop during our hot summers; mine free range, will go in the woods, and over 100F is unusual here. Mine won't stand in pans of water but I've read of chickens that love to.
  3. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    Thanks ddawn, I tried the water pan, the more adventurous ones seemed to like it. They need to teach the others it's ok. I also wet down a section of ground for them and they had a great time digging chicken creators and sitting in the cool dirt.

    Their pen is under some huge old trees so the only summer sun that can get them is in the late afternoon just before it drops behind some other trees and I bought 13 feet of 90% shade cloth to cover where that comes in. The gap was supposed to be covered by climbing beans on a frame over summer but they all got fried. [​IMG]

    Unfortunately I have no way to get power out to the pen thought if we do end up buying this place (renting atm) I do want to get it run out there.

    The hottest I've measured here was when we were still in town and it was 118f under my carport last year. If I'd had chickens then I think they would have been in my air conditioned lounge regardless of DH's protests. [​IMG]
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    That's great. I suspect the water is more effective than the fan anyway. Makes sense; sure makes people cooler to get wet. I've wet down dirt for them, too, and they ignored it. I think you just have hotter chickens than I did! If you can get them playing in the water, maybe you can keep hubby happy. Float some bits of cabbage leaves or something???? Let us know what works.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2011
  5. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    Oh yes! Floating treats is a great idea. [​IMG] Have to try that tomorrow, I bet it will be hilarious to watch! [​IMG]
  6. dewey

    dewey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    Here in my state, 140+ ground temps are routine in summer. Our state usually has the hottest temps in the nation, well over 100 in the summer. Our ground temps are much hotter than the official weather station temps that are taken in the shade and very high off the ground. We all suffer in those high temps but they do ok as long as there's plenty of water and full shade.

    Even a low, shaded green patch of weeds allowed to grow from water runoff by troughs was always much appreciated, and an area with 100% shade at all times of the day was a must. I'd puddle water in small areas in the mornings that would be shaded in the afternoon, and by afternoon it was soaked in but made cool places for them to pass the afternoon heat.

    Our hens would start layer feed at 20 weeks.

    A good friend of mine that stays with me from AU a few months a year lives near Perth. Lovely place there. [​IMG]
  7. Nicola

    Nicola Chook Cuddlin' Aussie

    Feb 23, 2009
    When it gets that hot here, I just go out and spray em with the hose, it's also a good idea to make sure there is plenty of shade that is cool and damp.. Cold watermelon is a fav treat and i put icecubes in their water thats in the shade to keep it cool. My chickens are Mostly black so they feel the heat pretty bad.
  8. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    We routinely get 100 and above here. My chickens free range and spent most of the day hanging out in the shade of our mulberry tree. One thing I did to try to help them stay cool is, I took a 4-litre milk container and filled it 3/4 of the way with water, then put it in the freezer. By morning it was a solid block of ice. Around 2pm, I took it out and put it in the chooks' water bowl. (My neighbour thought I cut the container open and put the ice in the waterer to melt. NO! I just put the whole container in the waterer). Over the next few hours, the ice would keep the water in the bowl cool. Some evenings there was still a little ice left in the container so it really did a good job of keeping the water cool for them. They got to recognize the container and would come running for a cool drink when I brought it outside, so I think they appreciated it. I know that a glass of ice water when I'm hot helps me cool down and I'm sure the same applies to them. After locking them in the coop in the evening, I retrieved the milk container and returned it to the freezer so it would be ready for the next day.
  9. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Rabbit people freeze bottles of water and lay them in their rabbit pens. When it gets really hot the rabbits will lay up against them. I wonder if chickens would? If you have a source of water near them, what about a sprinkler or mister? I've seen several zoos that put out misting stations for the people so they don't overheat.
  10. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    dewey - 140+ ground temps? [​IMG] Wow! I have been wetting down part of the pen for them, they like that. That area is now covered in chicken creators lol.
    Nicola - I tried spraying them, they don't seem very impressed though they do seem better afterward. I tried them with watermelon today, they had an absolute party! [​IMG]

    HEChicken and dianaross77 - I tried the ice on the ground, used to do that for my bunnies years ago. Chickens ran away from it. So I put it in one of their waters instead and they really like an icy cold drink. [​IMG]

    I really want to be able to let them out so they can come up around the house and hide out under the shrubs but I don't trust my Lab and Retrever cross around them. The young fellow just wants to play with them but looks like someone tried to gun train the old lady Lab at some point because she takes great delight in delivering anything she catches straight into my hand. [​IMG]

    One surprisingly positive thing, I got them a different brand of grower pellets because my usual store was sold out and they seem to like these better and have been eating a lot more. Looks like I'll be sticking with this new brand [​IMG]

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