Lost two roos to heat... Is lying down a bad sign?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hillbillygreen, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. hillbillygreen

    hillbillygreen Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2008
    Central Illinois
    I'm sorry to report we lost 2 roo's to what we believe was heat. It wasn't even that hot that day, though it was two days prior. The day it happened though they did not have complete shade in our movable run and they were laying in the sun. We lost the first even after trying to cool him with water and his initial perking up. I ran to this forum to read about similar situations and I went out and force-watered the other with a syringe (carefully) until he'd had as much as I could get him. He lived over another 24 hours and I thought he was out of the woods, but apparently not because he died the second following morning. Here are the symptoms we noticed that day:

    lying down
    panting

    (later)
    droopy wings
    lethargy
    hunger, but no thirst (which I figured was his brain misinterpreting for thirst)

    Our others are doing okay now, but now every time they lie down, I am afraid they are overheating. Is that always a sign of overheating? Because if so, I don't have enough shade in the yard to keep them that cool all day. It's been unseasonably cooler for summer here (mid to low 80's).
     
  2. angels4

    angels4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry for you loss. Could you place a section of tarp over the run and create your own shade? Maybe mist them lightly throughout the day?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    They need to be able to get out of the sun....were they able to?
     
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    shucks, sorry for your loss... lesson learned, must have "cooler" shade.
     
  5. kmom246

    kmom246 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Nevada
    (Please keep in mind, this is my first batch of baby chickens, so do take that into consideration when reading my thoughts on the topic. Also, looking forward to everyone else's posts on this subject. Thanks!)

    So sorry to hear of your loss. We have been topping out about 103*F this week, and so far, we've been lucky and not lost anyone. (It's been in the high 90's all summer) This is what I've been doing, and it seems to be working... cross my fingers, no losses yet...

    1) Tarp over area that has food and water - set so that the food and water will be in the shade at the worst heat of the day (used zip ties to the fences, but the sun is brutal here and I have to keep replacing the zip ties as they get brittle and break)

    2) extra water sources around the pen so there is always some water under shade as the sun moves around

    3) I'm not home during the day, so I wet down the sand early in the morning in half of the run (alternating each day) - it's hot enough so that it's all dried up by the time I get home, but the theory is that it at least cools some of the run

    4) Move the water and food about a foot from it's original spot about an hour before sundown - for some reason, moving the dispensers seems to make them remember that they should eat and drink? Sometimes I just tap on the dispensers and they'll come running like they didn't know it was there. I've found that actually moving it is more effective, though. This way I know everyone has food and water in their tummies (crops) before bed time.

    5) I also have some roosts that are in the shade and off of the hot ground. Some of the girls use them and some don't, so I don't know if it really helps or not.

    Good luck with the rest of your flock and the heat.
     
  6. Chickaroo!

    Chickaroo! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 27, 2007
    When it's really hot out, I put a big plastic trash can in the run (tipped on it's side) and put a frozen 2ltr. bottle of water in the back of it. They love to go in and cool off. Maybe try that. Another plus is they have a good time pecking at the sides and jumping on top of it.
     
  7. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    i noticed my chickens didnt like the bright sun their run gets in the afternoon so i placed a tarp over half of it and thats where they prefer to be. I also froze water in 1/2 a 20 oz soda bottle with the top cut off and popped that into their waterer. They also have a thermostat controlled fan in the coop, it goes off in the coolness of the night. Ive given them refrigerated grapes and half frozen corn kernels in the afternoon as well. Hope it helps.
     
  8. Gindee77

    Gindee77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    QCA, Illinois
    We keep a tarp over our tractor to keep the sun at a minimum while our girls are outdoors. There's also a little enclosed area on our tractor that they can all fit in, if they have to...that's where we keep the waterer and the feeder too. It helps keep the water a bit cooler.

    Don't ya just love this cooler August weather...almost unheard of in Illinois!! Usually August is one of our hottest months! [​IMG]
     
  9. hillbillygreen

    hillbillygreen Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2008
    Central Illinois
    Chickaroo! :

    When it's really hot out, I put a big plastic trash can in the run (tipped on it's side) and put a frozen 2ltr. bottle of water in the back of it. They love to go in and cool off. Maybe try that. Another plus is they have a good time pecking at the sides and jumping on top of it.

    That's a cool idea, Chickaroo! (no pun intended) [​IMG]

    We tried the tarp, but when it would ripple in the wind they'd get freaked out.

    Katy,

    They were able to lie down in some shade, but for whatever reason did not.

    I think we'll be adding a plywood roof soon. Once the kids get back to school and the hubby and I are gone to work more, we won't be able to run around like that. As it is, we run around 4 or 5 times a day to push them into deeper shade. Anyway, it's getting pretty poopy under the trees... and we like to go barefoot a lot [​IMG] !​
     
  10. MrsChickendad

    MrsChickendad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We used to have a sign shop, so for those who are using tarps for shade, use bungee cords on all 4 corners. Then the wind doesn't get under it and make it flap, and it also keeps the corner grommets from coming out. You can also cut "windslits"--make a flap in a half circle (Flat edge up) every 18" or so and it will take the pressure off the corners, too. Just cut the bottom half of a circle in the tarp (don't cut out the top and make a hole!). Hope this helps someone!
     

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