My chicks can't take the sun. What's up?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by OldFowlGuy, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. OldFowlGuy

    OldFowlGuy Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    24
    Aug 13, 2016
    KY
    My chicks are 16 days old now. I've been nursing a Buckeye chick with a bum leg for a few days now in her own box. She's getting around ok now, and yesterday tried to fly out of her box. So I turned an old ferret cage into a more secure hospital. Decided to let her have her first sunshine (the brooder is on a covered porch). I set the cage out in the morning sun, amb. temp. about 70-75. Worked on cleaning brooder for 10-15 minutes. Looked in on baby Buckeye and found her with mouth open, apparently panting. Put her back on porch in the shade, all seemed fine in a couple minutes. I put a couple playmates (one Buckeye,one Dom.) in her cage last night to see if she felt up to company. All was great. Put the cage out at first sun this morning, bout 75F, checked in about 10 min. and all three were "panting". Is this normal? Do they need to be "hardened" like baby plants? I guess next step would be to try sun with a covered area so they can go in an out. I just couldn't believe they couldn't handle a few minutes of sun. Any advice will be appreciated. I have 33 chicks total, and I have a tractor almost completed. Was hoping to get them out of the brooder soon.
    Thanks
    Kevin
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    25,645
    1,834
    463
    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I think it less about the heat than it is is the actual penetrating rays of the sun. I know how even on cool days, with a bright sun it can get pretty hot - not necessarily air temp., but where the sun hits exposed skin...warms that spot up in a jiff.
     
  3. OldFowlGuy

    OldFowlGuy Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    24
    Aug 13, 2016
    KY
    So, I guess my chicks are normal? Everyone else's chickens pant in sunlight?
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,919
    2,892
    421
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Direct sunlight can overheat a baby chick that is still mostly in down because the down affords little or no insulation against the penetrating rays of the sun so it elevates the chick's body temperature.

    It's very important to provide shade when exposing baby chicks to direct sun. Even though chicks, like adult chickens, love the sun and will bask in it, absorbing necessary vitamin D, they need to be able to move out of it to a cooler spot when they feel too warm, just as this is necessary in a brooder with a heat lamp.

    We tend to think only of downy baby chicks needing to be kept warm when it's just as important to make sure they have the means to cool off.
     
  5. OldFowlGuy

    OldFowlGuy Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    24
    Aug 13, 2016
    KY

    Thank you for the help. I was hoping it was just a matter of acclimation. They have quite a few feathers, but evidently not enough. I wanted to rule out a vitamin deficiency, or other unseen problem not allowing them to regulate body temp. I'll make sure and have plenty shade when I get them into the tractor.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by