How to help baby chicks in a brooder during heat wave?

Dancingbirder

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
15
17
26
Hi all! We are expecting over 100 degree Temps this coming week. I have five <1 week old standard chicks and one 12-day old bantam in a brooder together. It is 87 in the coolest part tonight and they are already spread out around the brooder and barely using the 2 Brinsea ecoglows. They were super healthy and active today. I read some tips on ice in water and ice packs in the brooder, but also read that wet conditions for babies can cause coccidiosis. And that if they drink cold water that it may send them into shock. They seem too young for cold watermelon, misting and fans. Is this true? Should I take the heating plates out? How can I keep their heat stress lower without endangering them in other ways?

Thanks so much for any tips you might have!
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
6 Years
Sep 29, 2014
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New Zealand
I would make sure they have plenty of water and ensure there is good air movement near their brooder. I wouldn't directly blow air at them, but you could set up a fan across the room perhaps to just make sure the air is moving. I'd leave the plates in so they have somewhere to shelter if the air movement is making them feel a bit chilled, but I think they'll be fine. A mother hen's body temperature is between 105-107 and your chicks are still little, so I don't think you need to worry too much. If you think they look too hot I'd put icepacks against the outside of the brooder to create a cooler spot inside. I'd avoid adding anything wet to the brooder, mostly because it makes for a much smellier environment (plus the risk of coccidiosis that you've already identified).

Something else you could do is give them a clump of slightly damp (not wet) earth complete with grass and weeds to pick through. This helps their immune system too, building up their tolerance for the coccidiosis that is present in all soils.
 

Dancingbirder

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
15
17
26
Thanks so much for the advice. I will set up a fan and leave the plate in. We have a round cardboard brooder wall, but you made me think that I can just wrap some cold packs in towels to cool things off.

Great idea on the wet dirt! I'm in Northern California and it's our dry season when everything dies back, so I don't have so much in the way of damp earth with weeds right now. I'll see if I can do some clever misting in the yard to create some for them to pick at.
 

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