Outside heat effects on chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by judygood46, May 27, 2012.

  1. judygood46

    judygood46 Hatching

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    Hi all and thank you all for your help for I am a newbie with chickens and I found this sit googling.I would like to know do chickens suffer in hot humid conditions. Im in Indiana and heat index today 100. There coop is high up, dirt, lots of shade. Do I need to fan them, ice cold water rather than room temp persay? Any information will be serously used. I thank you
     
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Songster

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    Different types of chickens do better in heat than others. What breeds do you have? If you notice them panting, you can mist them with water or freeze water in soda bottles and put them out for the chickens to lie against. Just make sure their water is clean and the waterer is in the shade and they should drink it. Good luck this summer! Let us know how your chooks do in the heat.
     
  3. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

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    It's super hot here in Texas. The heat is hard on our feathered freinds worse than the cold. I give my birds ice water twice a day when the triple digits arrive plus I freeze water melons, cantelopes, & cucumbers for them to help cool them down. You can add a fan as well. I'm hoping this summer will be milder than the last summer. Last summer was brutal triple digits for three months in a row. I have a bowl under the A/C drain & another bowl under my ice maker drain. The water from both machines drain is really cool. I free range my birds so the extra water stations are great.
     
  4. artsy1

    artsy1 Songster

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    o.k. I live in so. fla. and it's usually heat index of 100---110. If you have shade and plenty of fresh water, they will adapt. Giving them ice water and fanning them seems silly. If they are in a coop and getting no fresh air, and unable to cool themselves, then you need to do it. We will probably put a fan in the coop, just to get the air moving, but they stay out in the run all day and find shade under the trees, bushes, etc. good luck
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Hi JudyGood46,

    I come originally from southern Indiana and presently live in a similar climate of central Missouri. Heat is an issue for me now as I am spending much of the Sunday "summerizing" my coops. This year thus far has been exceptionally warm. Normally sustained heat like this does not hit until July. Global warming but that take a few more years of same to nail that as fact.


    First, make it so birds can get out of direct sun. This makes it so the birds and their local environment does not get heated as much. It is really nice if shaded spots also receive a breeze. Slightly moistened but not wet ground can also be cooled by evaporative cooling.

    The chickens dump heat by three main mechanisms, through the feet, by distending wings, and panting. The first works best when birds stand on cool ground (or water but that might have negative issues). The distending of wings is often associated with orienting into the wind promoting flow over thinly feathered surfaces there. Panting is like sweating requiring the bird to replace more water when it trying to keep cool.

    Feeding activity and egg laying can also be factors. Processing food produces heat and some chickens will avoid eating when it get really hot. Make so birds can decide when to eat by avoiding the application of feed to hungry birds during hottest part of day. Egg production is very demanding physically and hens in lay are heat stress more then anyone else in the flock. Some hens will quit laying and some will actually die if they get hot before other members of flock get seriously stressed.

    Breed can also be a factor. Big breeds with losts of feathers are especially vulnerable. The tremendous feather loss some laying flocks undergo prior to normal moult might actually be a mechanism to control heat stress.


    Free-ranging birds are awesome to watch and see what lengths they will go to in order to stay comfortable. When it gets really hot birds will be stressed even at wee ours of morning while on roost. Be carefull then.
     
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

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    Huh ! Your kidding right ! What you don't think ice water helps keep your birds cool when its a 110 degrees outside I beg to differ with you. Again, the heat is way harder on birds than the cold. Put on a down jacket & walk around for a few days when its triple digits & I guarantee you will be drinking ice water by the gallons.
     
  7. NYREDS

    NYREDS Crowing

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    It's a common misconception, usually among people with little or no science education, that cold water is somehow superior to tepid water in keeping people or animals comfortable in hot weather. In reality the temperature of the water makes no difference. The volume of water consumed at any given time is minute as compared to the body weight of the organism in question. Rather than cold water acting to reduce the body temperature the body temperature quickly raises the temperature of the consumed water.
    Hydratin is important in hot weather for both people & animals. However, the temperature of the liquids consumed is irrevevant, adequate volume is what's important.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  8. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

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    Your right I'm no scientist but I do know that ice water cools me off faster in Texas heat than hot water. If I'm hot & there's a glass of ice water & a glass of just water I'm gonna drink the ice water. JMO.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    7L Farm,

    I snorkel a lot. During hottest part of year when temperatures range middle 90's to lower 100's, I appreciate a spring fed portion of a stream for its cooling abilites or the warmer more sun exposed pools. I am a big dude that will snorkel under ice but get literally sick when too warm. For me the colder water is important because I am actually immersed in it. To get same effect by drinking ice water, I would have to drink enough to get sick fro over consumption. The drinking provides short-term relief but real benefits come from that same water being available for sweating / paniting which enables a lot more dumping of heat than provided by simply warming up the water consumed. If you are using enough ice you may actually be cooling local environment. Standing in cold water would be beneficial for dumping heat, again stand in cold spring fed stream while air temp is 100. Problem that concerns be with standing in wet all the time is that it not natural for chickens.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  10. The big thing is to reduce stress as much as possible. In a hot climate, shade is important...that was great to read that they are under shade. I see poultry yards all the time that are set out in the open and on hot days the flock is doing all they can to get out the sun into any kind of shade. Keep their waterers out of the sun. They need to drink lots of water in hot weather to reduce stress, and they will drink cool water more than they will drink warm water.

    Watch the flock and on hot days if they all look to be spending lots of time laying around with their mouths open, then offer them cool water in their waterers. Just give them fresh clean water and then drop in a block of ice to cool it down.
     

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