New idea (for me) to keep chicks cool....

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by AgroUrica, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. AgroUrica

    AgroUrica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2013
    I've got about 300 broiler chicks that are now at 30 days of age. It's been warm here these last few days reaching 88F at about 2 PM each day and I can see that the heat takes a toll on the birds. I've lost 3 birds in the last week and I'm sure heat has been a factor.

    Unfortunately, the shed where the chickens are currently housed is of poor design (a problem that will soon be rectified) and that's not helping matters. I've put two fans in the pen and that has definitely helped. I've also moved about 50 birds to another covered shed to reduce crowding. That too has helped. Making matters worse though is that for the last two days, we've lost power for several hours starting at about 1PM. I'm sure that problem is related to the unusual temps and strains being put on the power grid.

    The other day I decided I'd try something to see if it'd work to help my birds cool off. I froze water in 1.5 liter and 2 liter soft drink bottles and then laid them on the ground throughout the pen. At first the birds were wary but soon approached the bottles and within minutes were sitting on them, snuggling up against them, and even falling asleep with their breasts pressed against them with their head and neck draped over the bottles.

    Now, when I enter the pen with the bottles and begin laying them on the ground, the birds mob them! Leaving the pen I can hardly see the bottles because the birds are crowded around them. Hours later they're still snuggling against them and I leave them until they've reached ambient temp.

    It's a bit of work collecting them, washing them, and then re-freezing them, but I'm 100% certain that it has helped reduce the bird's internal body temperature and probably saved some from the heat. I haven't seen any negative effects yet.

    Anyone else try something like this?
     
  2. Kjordanov

    Kjordanov Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2012
    NW
    Never tried that! It seems like a great idea, though I live in northern Canada so summers are not too hot. :) if I ever do have a hot day like that I shall try it. Thanks!!
     
  3. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    That is a GREAT idea! Have you figured out how many bottles per bird, or how many birds per bottle it works out to? Have you contemplated any design changes to your shed that will help with air circulation or cut down on transferred, reflected or radiated heat? I was thinking a higher peak, vented roof, and maybe some extended roofing on the sunny side to keep the ground around the shed from getting hot and having that heat reflected up to the walls of the grow out shed, which will transfer the heat to the inside of the structure. Getting the birds to spread out is good too, because sometimes they dogpile on each other and overheat on warm days, when common sense would dictate that staying away from each other would be better. They tend to pile up when they are not that happy, even if it is making them hotter. They are not always that bright when it comes to cooling off. Mine do best with wading pools and a few inches of water in them, in the shade somewhere.
     
  4. squirt99

    squirt99 New Egg

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    Mar 2, 2013
    Yes I tried this but they didn't want to know maybe the shade was enough for them.
     
  5. AgroUrica

    AgroUrica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2013
    Five or six birds per bottle seems to be the average, and, you're right, they do pile on one another at the worst times it seems.

    This shed has walls about waist high, chicken wire above, and a high roof of tin. The front is also mostly enclosed with a structure of individual pens made of cinder blocks. It was originally designed by the previous owner to house fighting cocks. The walls will soon come down, and the front structure (which is where the breeze will enter) will be completely eliminated. I'm also thinking of a more heat-resistant roof. Since electricity is basically free here, I might even install an air-conditioner for those really hot days. The structure currently has two complete walls of cinderblock which cannot be eliminated so I'll just have to live with that. Fortunately, the entire area has lots of shade which is also a tremendous help.

    Thanks for the comments.
     
  6. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Westfield, Indiana
    300 is ALOT of birds! I hope that your shed or housing is VERY LARGE. For that amount of birds, I would consider a walk-in shed/coop instead of something "waist high". There will be alot of waste to be cleaned out with so many birds. If you don't have cold winters then I would design a very open and airy coop with the ability to close off the side upwind of storms. Plenty of vents up high so the warm air can escape. Also alot of water bowls/containers for that amount of chickens and refreshed daily. Your fans are a good idea and a window AC unit if you don't mind the elec costs.
     
  7. AgroUrica

    AgroUrica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the comments. It is a walk-in coop.....very poorly designed though. Once these birds are moved to a larger area I'm preparing, I'll be making some significant improvements. Winters are very mild here (Venezuela). I think the lowest I've seen is 60F. Summers are usually dry and breezy but not overly hot.....just lately.....and with the poor design of the coop, it's put pressure on the birds. I'll take down all walls that aren't necessary and use a small-hole chicken wire. I can easily protect the really young birds from cold by using lights, and from wind and rain with curtains and a new roof I'm going to install on the windward side. I'm also going to install an automatic watering system.
     
  8. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tin isn't a bad roof. If you make a ceiling on the inside of the rafters, the open area between the ceiling and tin becomes a chimney if the bottom is open and a vent at the high point to allow the heat to escape. The area below the ceiling is more protected from the heat of the sun with the two layers. Depending on how you place the vents it could do much to ventilate the coop. I know you were going with wire walls, just a thought.
     
  9. Kjordanov

    Kjordanov Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2012
    NW
    Plant some nice fruit bushes right outside the pens!! It'll produce fruit for you and the birds, and provide some shade!
     
  10. AgroUrica

    AgroUrica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2013
    Very good point and as it turns out, this shed is closed all the way to the top. I've got another shed on the other side of the yard that is open (about 6 inches of space between top of wall and the tin roof) and it does stay cooler because the hot air can escape out the top. I'm sure at the same time it's drawing cooler air in from below. I hadn't really thought about adding an open area at the roof line of this shed but since I'm going to change out all the tin, that would be a good time to raise that roof a few inches. Thanks for the hint!!!
     

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