How Hot is Too Hot in the Summer?

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


10 Years
Oct 14, 2009
Gainesville, Florida
I live in Florida and the temperatures have been in the low 80s to low 90s lately. My chicken coop has a metal roof, one doorway (facing south) that is completely open with screen on it for a breeze, and a screen door (facing east). I have a fan that I run next to the screen doorway (the door on the south side) to pull in cooler air from the outside. Somehow my coop just doesn't stay cool enough. It gets up to 99 degrees some days.

I always keep plenty of water for the chickens and have been letting them free-range more during the day to find cooler shady spots...but this scares me because of the numerous hawks we have.

We are planning on cutting another doorway into the coop tonight (on the north side of the coop) and putting screen up on it to help with circulation. We'll put another fan in that doorway since it sits under a pinetree and might pull in some cooler air.

I plan to eventually put a screen aviary off of the coop, but that's more than an evening project.

Right now I have two younger hens that I am having to put them in a wire cage outside during the day with a fan (and of course their food and water) to keep them from overheating. The coop doesn't get a whole lot of shade in the morning until 3pm. Unfortnately, we took an existing metal barn and converted it to a chicken coop, so we can't move it to a shadier spot. That would be too easy.

To make a long stroy short...What is the highest known temperature that chickens can tolerate? And does anyone have any inexpensive and easy ways to cool a coop (placement of fans in a certain area, foam insulation in ceiling, etc.)?
I would insulate the ceiling if the sun is hitting the metal. I think that would make a huge difference. Maybe put up a shade cloth on the south side? at least it gets shade after 3pm so that helps. I put out an old frying pan filled with cold water for them to stand in and they seem to like it. I've also heard of people putting misters out. You could also try putting frozen jugs of water in the coop but I think they melt pretty fast at 99. That is way too hot. Chickens are fine around 75 but can die at 95, is what I've read. Good luck!
A friend of mine who used to raise rabbits in Phoenix used to soak burlap and hang it on the outside of the cages... sort of poor man's air conditioning (the drawback is, you have to re-wet them frequently). For my own rabbits we freeze 2-liter pop bottles with water and then let the rabbits lay up against them-- but I have no idea if a chicken would ever do the same. I'm in North Carolina and worry about the heat this summer, too. My coop/run is in a mostly shaded location, but I still worry. I'm already planning on setting up a sprinkler for them outside of the run on the hottest days and see if they enjoy running through it, to keep cool.
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I have a brass mister attachment (tiny little thing actually) that goes on the end of a hose.

I hang it off a piece of lawn furniture or between the fencing and let the mist cool the run in summer 100 degree heat. They don't like it blowing right on them though.

I start to worry when they pant with beaks open and hold their wings out.
I did this for my Cornish X hen a couple weeks back when we hit over 90 here and she was having a hard time with the heat and she laid right beside it, and so did 3 of my other RSL hens in the run with her!!
I would paint and insulate the roof, to keep more of the heat out. I'd also cut large enough openings in the walls that the hot air can escape. When you build a run/pen/aviary for them I would roof that, too, so they have shade. I would start with cutting into the walls, first, if it was me. Really, it sounds like you already have all the right ideas, you just haven't had time to implement them all, yet.
I've used this for other purposes and it definitely helps. I hose off my metal roof on bad days and keep a fan running all summer -- but enough of my coop is open air that it will only get as hot as the outdoors. Somewhere on here I've read that 100 degrees is their upper limit. Mine started mouth breathing and holding their wings a little away from their bodies at 80 this spring. They are out AM and PM but in the coop in the heat of the day -- there are shady spots in their yard but they prefer the coop at midday on bad days. Guess there's enough air moving in there.
there's some stuff called 'koolseal' that claims it reflects up to 90% of the heat, might want to check on the cost and if it's afordable give it a try. I'm in metro Atlanta and it gets hot here as well, I put my coop and over 400 sq ft run in the tree line of the woods to give them the most shade as possible.

Buffs only

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