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Lost our favorite hen - possibly the heat

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Shannonwbl, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Songster

    I found our favorite 3 1/2 year old rr unconscious at my back door. I quickly got her to water and dipped her feet and beak hoping she would drink but she was unresponsive. I brought her into the air conditioning and within a couple of minutes she shuddered and died. We are experiencing record heat with indexes above 115 so I let the flock free range today so they could find shade and grass. We have lots of different places for them to access water but apparently it was still not enough.

    Kate was a special girl. She visited a nursing home, always let guests feed, hold and pet her and frequently perched on our window sill just to see what we were up to. She will be missed. Hope this heat breaks soon I feel so helpless.

  2. dewey

    dewey Songster

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    [​IMG] I'm so sorry about Kate. [​IMG] You did all you could when you found her...sometimes there's just nothing more we can do, and it feels awful. It's obvious she was special to you and she had a special home with you. [​IMG]
  3. NormaJeanChickenQueen

    NormaJeanChickenQueen In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2011
    So sorry! I also lost one yesterday, the temp was 100 degrees. It's an awful feeling of helplessness when this happens, but sounds like you did everything possible. She sounded like a very special hen....[​IMG]
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I also lost one a couple days ago, died on the nest while laying. Probably a heart attack while straining to lay in this heat. It is a helpless feeling.
  5. melodie_a

    melodie_a Songster

    Aug 28, 2010
    Sanford, NC
    I am so sorry for your loss.

    We almost lost our favorite hen yesterday also... it was just luck that I found her in time and was able to bring her inside and get her feeling better. I am really worried about her today because she was still seeming a little weak last night but nobody is able to be at home with them today so she has to stay outside. (Dogs are inside) We don't have a fan on their run, I think I am going to try and get one hooked up this afternoon. Maybe that will help a little.... I am ready for fall!

  6. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Songster

    Thank you all. We really enjoy our chickens, but are not by any means over the top about it and have lost 6 or so in the last few years mainly to predators. While we hate to lose any, Kate was definitely special. She was the only one that would let us handle her and was really more like the family dog. When my big tough 16 year old son came home from football last night and I told him, he looked totally deflated. [​IMG]

    It is nice to be able vent somewhere that people don't think your a "crazy chicken lady". Thanks!
  7. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    I am so sorry about your girl. I have lost 4 so far despite fans, ice, wading pans, etc. I have saved several by dunking them in the goat trough so all their feathers get as wet as possible. Then put them right in front of the fans. They are saying our heat index may be up to 120 today! Ugh, I am so ready for this to end.

  8. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Songster

    Quote:You are not too far from me (east of Memphis) and I have heard the 120 index too. I have my girls all out ranging because they will have better access to the barn, shady bushes etc. It will make it harder to keep an eye on them but they will definitely have better access to cooler areas. Poor Kate was just curled up at my back door [​IMG]
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    So sad. I'm so sorry she didn't make it [​IMG]

    Those kinds of temps require extra measures to try to avoid deaths and even then, sometimes they just can't take it.

    To anyone reading this, in case helpful:

    Fans, fans, fans, so they can have access to moving air. Makes a huge difference. (some also add AC -I have joined those ranks - it gets reprehensibly hot and humid here in NJ sometimes)
    Shade, shade and more shade
    Cold water available at all times (can put blocks of ice in the water that slowly melt)
    Cold icy fruits (e.g. can put watermelon slices in freezer an hour or so before serving in the shade - it'll stay cold for a little while this way - if freeze really long the wtaermelon gets really slimy yukky and my birds won't touch the stuff. I also give very cold cut up grapes, blueberries, cherries etc. )
    No heavy food in the heat of the day
    Puddles in shade to play in and cool tootsies (when it's going to be really hot, I run a hose to part of their run and let it run awhile)
    If a bird is panting a lot, ELECTROLYTES!!!!!!

    If birds are not doing well, somehow some way move them to a cooler location till the heat breaks. This can be difficult for someone with a boatload of birds.

    Most chickens bodies start to experience difficulty at 90 degree heat index. They need help big time when the temps are approaching 100 and if higher yet, they are at great risk. Yes, there are exceptions with particularly hardy or very conditioned birds but by and large, it's really rough on many of them at these temps.

    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
  10. Shannonwbl

    Shannonwbl Songster

    Quote:Great suggestions! I posted a thread to share tips just a few minutes ago so I will copy and post your suggestions there too!

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