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Hyperthermia

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rachel96, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. Rachel96

    Rachel96 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2012
    South Australia
    I guess this isn't a problem a lot of people are having, especially at this time of the year as it's winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

    However, it is the middle of summer here in Australia and it was forty-three degrees today for me. I rather quickly discovered this isn't a good temperature during hatching - the inside of the incubator is six degrees cooler than the outside! I've had nine chicks die of hyperthermia in the past two days (there are about 25/30 more who are fine, though). So much for keeping chicks under a heat lamp until how many weeks of age - mine are going under a fan.

    I'm not sure exactly how to treat hyperthermia in poultry, but here's what I've been doing. I've saved three this way. First, make sure the chick is still alive. Hopefully it will respond when you touch it or pick it up. Then assess the condition:

    Floppy, tries to lift head, panting - good. Proceed.
    Floppy, doesn't respond to touch, breathing slowly - not quite so good. Proceed.
    Floppy, doesn't move, panting or breathing slowly with mouth full of clear goop - bad news, probably almost dead.
    Floppy, not breathing, doesn't move - probably dead. Bad news.
    Stiff, not breathing, doesn't move - definitely dead.

    Options four and five are very bad news, obviously. Option three is also bad, as the chick will probably die within seconds. It's very difficult cool them down in time, and impossible to rehydrate them.

    Options one and two are good. Well, not good, given the chick has heat exhaustion, but at least you can do something about it.

    First, I take the chick to a cooler place, hopefully right in front of a fan. I fill a teat pipette with cool water. Not cold, but cool - normal room temperature, if you ignore that the room's probably about 45 degrees. Put a drop on the side of the chick's beak - it should open and shut the beak a few times to swallow the water. Keep going.

    The chick will want to keep taking in water, but be careful and don't give it too much, or you'll move straight to Option Three and then quickly to Option Four. Stop after a couple of drops and hold chick in front of a fan, rotation and turning so that it gets cooled all over. Feed it some water again. Repeat.

    Be careful not to keep the chick in front of the fan for too long, or you'll risk the other extreme, hypothermia - equally bad news, but somewhat easier to treat. Just keep the chick in front of the fan until it's a more normal temperature - slightly warm to the touch. Remember chickens have a higher body temperature than humans, so if it's cold to the touch it might be hypothermic. But you shouldn't feel like your fingers are going to burn off when you touch it (which it probably felt like when you began).

    Once the chick is looking perkier and feels a more reasonably temperature, I usually keep it with me for a bit to keep an eye on it, continuing to feed it water when it begins to pant. I don't cradle it against my body - it would be too hot, unless I'm in a cold room. A room about 37 degrees is good - the same as an incubator. If your house is colder, feel free to hold the chick against your body, but it probably wouldn't be hyperthermic in the first place then.

    After a while, the chick should start acting normal again, sitting up and walking around and chirping lonesomely. Feel free to put it back in the brooder. Continue to monitor brooder temperature.

    If anyone has a better, more successful method of treating hyperthermia, please tell me. This works most of the time for Options One and Two. Most of the ones I've lost have already been in Options Three to Five before I got to them. Hyperthermia sets in very quickly.
     
  2. nok13

    nok13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 8, 2012
    hi in israel every summer we have the same problems... obviously the more south u go here, the hotter it gets for longer periods of time... so every coop and every cow dairy have cooling systems with fans and water.
    chicken coops have sprinkler systems (yes even when we have droughts, the farmers pay thru their teeth for the water so that is why agriculture here is going to the birds.nuther story tho) ; also the dairies use water sprinkler and fan systems.
    in the summer when my windows aer open (no a/c) we get tons of smell of wet chicken coming thru the windows... desert cows get real airconditioning to keep up milk production.

    as for hobbyists; same same. water, fans, ventilation, we used to hose down all our fowl, the emus loved showers, plenty shade, mud water bath areas, or even bowls of water (not for chicks)... and yes, lots of chicks getr lost from the heat waves we have here. we used to hose down the aviaries, hose down the roofs, the ground, etc...
    Floppy, not breathing, doesn't move - probably dead. Bad news.
    Stiff, not breathing, doesn't move - definitely dead.


    loved those definations......
     
  3. Rachel96

    Rachel96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
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    Mar 12, 2012
    South Australia
    It's much easier to keep grown-up chickens cool. I usually just make sure they have lots of shade and they've always got water available, and hose them down a couple of times a day when it gets really hot. This year I've only lost one grown chook to the heat, an Australorp. We haven't lost any for the past few years but have been known to loose up to about five in one heat wave (when I was 8). Luckily we have a bore so water isn't so much of an issue for livestock - the only thing is that bore water isn't potable, so we're always running short of water to drink!
     

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