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Is my chicken dying of heat?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by KatGold, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. KatGold

    KatGold Chirping

    Mar 15, 2011
    We have been out of the house for about 3 hours. It has been well over 100 degrees today. It's finally cooled off to 97. This is our first full summer with chickens.

    When we got home, our Americauna was panting in the shade of the hen house. She was lying limp. When I picked her up, she was completely limp.

    I put her in a cat carrier and brought her indoors and put some electrolytes in her water dish.

    What's going on? Please advise!

  2. Squishypuff

    Squishypuff Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    Kernersville, NC
    I would get a fan on her. This heat is brutal.
  3. tammye

    tammye Songster

    Mar 22, 2010
    chickens do not do well in extreme heat and 100 degrees is extreme when you are in a coop. is your coop in the shade? if not it needs to be. can you fit a fan in there, even a small one will help. do you have windows? wire covered vents? give them cool water and cold friuts in the heat of the day. if the coop is out in the sun, could you put a trap up like a tent/ awning to help provide shade
  4. KatGold

    KatGold Chirping

    Mar 15, 2011
    The coop is not in the shade. It was, but my big pecan tree died this summer. :-( Now it is in total sun. We are having it rough this year. We do have a tarp over the coop. It's cotton and I wet it every day. If I am home, they free range and find the cooler parts of the yard.

    I was concerned about putting her under a fan since I've heard so much about how drafts are bad for chickens. Is it only when it's cold out that drafts are dangerous?

    I'll try freezing some grapes for them overnight. Maybe they'll eat them tomorrow.

    Oh, the hen does seem to be doing better. She is still weak, but at least just now she put up a little fight when I put her back in the cat carrier. I was happy for that. Even though it's a cool 89 degrees (and it's after 9, oy) I'm going to keep her indoors overnight. Unless that would be too hard of shock for her for tomorrow. If any of you are still reading and have thoughts on that, lay it on me.

    Also, I think I'm gong to put electrolyte solution in their water every day. I'm sure there's no danger in that, right? Come to think of it, should all of us in the sunbelt be doing that?

    Thanks so much.
  5. ParadiseChickens

    ParadiseChickens Songster

    Apr 19, 2011
    I'm in Texas and it was 105 here today. I worry about my chicks. This is also my first summer with chickens and mine are only 4 months old. But I do run a fan all day and all night in their coop. It is 12 x 12. It blows alot of air on them even at night on their roost and I dont think in this heat that is a bad thing.
  6. ben is a terror

    ben is a terror Songster

    Apr 9, 2011
    Lost one of my babies to the heat last week. She was also laying limp next to a full container of fresh water. A friend told me to cool her by wetting her feet and waddles and comb with cool not cold water. Not cold. We had no air so I had no cool place for her. I just thought I would pass it on. I have seen this work at poultry shows.
  7. KatGold

    KatGold Chirping

    Mar 15, 2011
    Paradise, where are you? I'm in Austin and I heard yesterday was the 14th day in triple digits. I just can't take much more of this. It's only mid-June. We have Longhorns in Bandera where there has been less rain than here. I'm worried about them too, but Longhorns are a heck of a lot hardier than chickens.

    BIATerror, what a brilliant nugget of info. I will try that. Is there any reason why I shouldn't just take the hose and give them a mid-afternoon shower? Just a little soft soaking to get their core temperatures down?

    I just checked on her (it's morning now). Compared to last night, she looks a ton better. Compared to usual, she looks terrible. But improvement is a good thing. I put her in the coop and one of the hens acted like she was going to peck her. I've never had a pecking problem, but I suspect she has the "Kick me while I'm down" thing going on and the other hens will pick up on that.

    She also has poo stuck to her fluffy butt. Poor thing. They are always so clean I've never seen poo on them. Since I just put her in I'm going to give her a little time while I go round up some leaves to add the coop (I use oak leaves as litter). If she hasn't cleaned herself by then, I'll give her a bath. I'm sure she won't like it, but I can't let her run around all poopy.

  8. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Keep in mind that when the meteorologists indicate the temperature, they are referring to the temp "in the shade" - in full sun it is significantly warmer than the stated temperature. If your coop is in full sun, you're going to HAVE to change something if your chickens are to make it through the summer. Its likely to get even warmer in July and August.

    Is there somewhere you can move your coop so that it is in the shade? Can you let your chickens out to free-range during the hottest times of the day so they can find their own shade?

    One thing I do is take a gallon milk container, fill it (not quite full since water expands when it freezes) with water and stick it in the freezer. Overnight it will freeze into a solid block. Around 1pm each day, I take that out and put it lock, stock and barrel, into their water bowl. This cools the water immediately and keeps it cool for hours, since the ice takes a long time to melt. It helps if the water bowl is not in full sun. Using this method, I can keep their water cool until evening even on a triple digit day. I usually keep 2 milk containers going so that one is freezing while the other is in use - that way I'm always ready for the next day. Last summer I did this and my girls got to recognize me coming out with the frozen milk container and came running to get their cool drink right away.
  9. ParadiseChickens

    ParadiseChickens Songster

    Apr 19, 2011
    I am in Paradise, TX. We insulated (R30) our coop which is a converted horse stall this spring. It is in the sun but no sun shines in and the run has shade cloth on the west side. It made a major difference. I also put old milk containers of frozen water in the coop in the pm along with the fan. Even with all that, the temp guage hanging on the coop wall reads 100 every afternoon.

    We bought a mister for the horses last week, they loved it and it worked one day before quitting, stopped up or something. But if anybody else would have luck with them, they are wonderful.
  10. kelar

    kelar Songster

    May 22, 2010
    I don't know if this would work in your situation, but a couple of summers ago we had unusually hot weather so we rigged up sprinklers on the barn roofs. The cold water on the roofs makes a huge difference in temp and on the shingled roof, it prevents the heat from building up inside. It also created a nice bit of moist dirt around the perimeter of the buildings where the free range girls would go to dig down into the cooler soil. I also kept fans running and added vitamins/electrolytes to their water during this time.

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