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It's HOT! Another heat thread

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ashedd, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. ashedd

    ashedd In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2010
    I am in Indiana. It's hot AND humid. Today it was 95 with a dew point OVER 75! That's humid.. tomorrow they say the high will be 96 and the heat index will be 115. I am familiar with the cooling strategies for people in less humid areas. A mister would be ideal, Just dont think it would do anything but raise the humidity in the coop area to 100%.

    I have 3 hens outside(3 babies in the basement) and they are all heavies(RIR, BUFF and something else.. comet maybe). All three are panting and wing drooping. Their coop/run is mostly in the shade. They do seem to dig holes to lay in but still pant. There is plenty of water and two fans. I am not too sure exactly how a fan is going to help an animal that doesn't sweat.. but they have two anyway. I am going to put water bottles in the freezer tonight and throw them in the coop tomorrow. Last year I gave them a kiddie pool but it just scared them to death. I finally pulled it out after it became a cesspool of mosquito sex. I do give them new/cool water daily and hose down the run.

    So at what point do I move them to the basement? I really don't like having chickens in the basement. My buff spent all winter down there cause she was sick. Any other ideas on what to do with the heavies in the humidity?


    FYI: it's 65-68 in the basement. So cold that the babies have to have a heat lamp.

  2. froggiesheins

    froggiesheins Crowing

    Oct 14, 2010
    Jurupa Valley, CA
    Poor babies, about the only thing I could add is to put the frozen bottles in front of the fan OR if they were my birdies, they would be coming inside with me into the basement .[​IMG]
  3. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member

    100-degrees and above can be very stressful to chickens (as you already know) When a chicken reaches 104 it can be fatal.

    Make sure that they really do have deep shade. (not dappled tree shade that passes over--there is a difference that can be felt). They can dig into damp ground and flop out like a 'deflated balloon' and some of the heat is drawn away from their bodies...so damp inside the run can help.

    If you have a nearby thermometer, then when the temp reaches 90 or so, perhaps it is time to move them to a safer place. When it goes below 90 move them back out. Sometimes you can tell by observation when they are really in heat stress...versus just discomfort.

    It seems that the temperature variation could be stressful to them, so that is a consideration. (Going from 90 to 65)

    ---Not sure how many you have or how "tame" they are or what facilities you may have for them. Is there a garage or place where they could shelter that maintains a temperature that is higher than the 60's?

    You don't want to loose birds to the heat if you can prevent it, so I guess taking drastic measures may be called for in this heat wave. Hopefully it passes quickly and things return to normal.

    Good luck, I need to be away tomorrow and I'm worried about the heat here too.
  4. Supernatural

    Supernatural In the Brooder

    Aug 7, 2010
    Des Moines
    I was coming here to post the same kind of thing. Last night I found one of my BO's dead from the heat when I went to close them up for the night! Poor girl, I just feel so bad that I didn't notice her missing from the yard before it was too late! [​IMG] I'm in Iowa, and we're having similar ridiculously hot and humid weather right now, and outside of roosting chickens in the bathroom, there is really nowhere for them in my tiny little house unless there is a real, immediate emergency.

    After we disposed of poor Goldie's body last night, I put a fan in the coop and an icepack (made for a travel cooler) in their water dish. This morning I tacked a curtain over the window, and one over the coop door to help keep the inside shaded and cool. I'm considering using a collapsible cooler for their water dish, because I'm thinking the insulated sides might (??) make keep the water colder for longer. At first they were pretty confused about the curtain over the doorway, but eventually they figured out that they can still get in and out of there with no problems. An ice bucket or frozen water bottles in front of the fan is a great idea.

    Tonight when I tucked them in, they were all crowded onto the same low roost RIGHT in front of the fan [​IMG] Nobody is panting, however, so I think it's working for now.
  5. ashedd

    ashedd In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2010
    I can go out there right now, at 12am, and the buff will be panting on the roost. I have learned that buff's don't really do well in the heat. I do keep a wireless thermometer in the coop and it's been hitting the low to mid 90's for a few days now. Right now it say's 86.3 in the coop. only about 10% of the run gets direct sun throughout the day. They would have to actively seek out the sun to lay in it.

    I do have a garage but it's hot hot hot in there.. it's detached and uninsulated. If I had a small window a/c I would contemplate rigging something up in the coop. The buff can't die cause I spent $350 on her last year in vet bills. I also need her to foster mom my new Egyptians, which I doubt will have any problem in the heat.
  6. ashedd

    ashedd In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2010
    Change of plans...

    All three are panting and wing drooping in their coop. The buff is panting so bad it looks like she is shaking. Guess they will come inside till I figure something out.
  7. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Songster

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    Quote:ohh my gosh i do believe the buff hen would be in the house ith me.. we are having the same horible heat wave here in SC. ive lost three to the heat inculuding my favorite rooster. good luck to all of you on making t thru the heat

  8. ashedd

    ashedd In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2010
    They are all in the basement in the special "chicken" corner. They stopped panting pretty quickly. When I picked them up their feet were HOT to the touch. One of the drawbacks to the basement is the lack of sunlight. I may have to steal the UV light from the turtle for awhile.

    Note To Self: don't try to pick up hens with blue exam gloves on!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  9. lauriej57

    lauriej57 Chirping

    Sep 17, 2010
    Southwest Michigan
    We've had temps here in the mid nineties with dew points in the 70's for the past 3 days now. My chickens aren't liking it much, but I have 2 coops, and I have 6 milk jug gallons filled with water that I freeze. I put one in each coop mid morning, then replace it mid to late afternoon. Then another one near dark. I didn't replace them tonite, because yeah!! it's 72 degrees tonite.

    I put the ice in the coops because, in the past, that seemed to be where i would have casulaties . While they were in there laying. I keep a couple of buckets for water in each run, which I fill with cold water from the hose several times a day. While I fill the buckets I also spray down the run, their ladders and the roofs of the coops.

    I'm actually finding them spending more time in the coops right now. Even if they don't buddy up to the ice, it does help keep the temperature down in the coop. My runs are pretty much predator proof, 1x2 welded wire covering the run and wire on the bottom of the run, down a few inches, so when it's hot like it has been, I just make sure they are in the coop at night, but I don't close their pop doors, letting whatever cooler air at night to get into the coop.

    I also feed them late afternoon to early evening, rather than in the morning. This does 2 things, lets me free range them later in the day, they can go find good shade and cooler dirt to bathe in, and makes it easier to get them in, they eat some, roost for the night and still have some food left to eat in the morning. I have 8 pullets in my smaller coop, and 13 in my larger coop. Everyone seems to be doing fine, I'm a little concerned about 2 of them. One who is older, and one who was sitting for about 6 weeks, and just finally came off the nest, without hatching any last week, so she's in a bit of a weakened state right now. I think between that and this heat, she's starting to moult.

    I've been raising chickens for about 5 years now, and I've never had to bring one in because of the heat. I learned well my first year.
  10. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member


    Glad to hear that your chix made it through another hot day.
    I'm counting the days until September when our heat should break!


    I'm glad that you posted about putting ice near the nest box. One of my BPR seemed pretty distressed with the egg process day before yesterday--- and I suspect it was the heat. I am going to put ice in the coop now too. I was previously only putting it in the run--because they spend so little time in the coop. Big DUH on my part.

    good luck everyone---hope we all make it without any (more) losses this summer.

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