Pin feathers and diarrhea Q

Apr 29, 2019
i think I’m finally learning to navigate this site. Okay, I’ll give some background and then I have two questions. 6 RIRs, 16 weeks old, not yet laying. They free range in the morning and evening for several hours and in the afternoon if I come home from work. Otherwise they stay in their coop&run. I had my 7th girl, Muffin, die a couple weeks ago :( under the watch of my sitter. I don’t blame him at all, it was 107 the day she was believed to have died. My first loss as a chicken mama and I feel so guilty, I cried and cried and beat myself up for not being there.

1. Are these pin feathers? A few hens have them. I thought they weren’t supposed to get them this early...?

2. This week we’re having weather from 96-106 and after Muffin’s death I am doing my best to work from home this week. It’s currently 104 and they have diarrhea. Could heat be the cause? They seem perfectly healthy and upbeat otherwise. I’ve been out with them for a few hours with a corn and ice water dish.

Ive tried a mister near their coop which they despise. They aren’t big fans of my frozen blueberry treats. I’ll probably go buy some watermelon this evening. Bought some electrolytes that should arrive tomorrow.


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Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
It's hard to lose a pullet, especially right before point of lay like that. I understand your grief. It's happened to me, too.

Getting electrolytes into their drinking water is a very good plan. I fill a big pan full of ice cubes when it gets blistering hot, and the chickens love moving them around with their feet which cools them down, and they drink all the ice melt over several hours of the worst heat of the day.

It's normal for poop to be runny on hot days as they're drinking more water than usual. Watch for signs of lethargy and "drunken" behavior which signals heat exhaustion. If that ever happens, you need to give cool water with electrolytes and place cold compresses under their wings as well as soaking their legs and feet in cool water. This will bring down their body temp and revive them.

Try to avoid corn and other pure carbs on hot days as that increases their body temps.
Apr 29, 2019
Thank you! That’s super helpful. I had no idea about the corn and I’ve totally been letting them indulge in an attempt to get them to drink more.
I’ll be buying some pans from the dollar store and leaving them filled with water around the yard while they free range.


Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Nov 27, 2008
Glen St Mary, Florida
You can also put a couple box fans in your pens, a fan inside the coop with the fan blowing air OUT the vent, not directly on your chickens. Indirect airflow will come in through the other vents and is effective cooling especially at night. I use medium speed on the fans in upper 90's/low 100's. They sit in front of the box fans under the coops in the heat of the day. Medium or full speed on the fan inside the coops.
I dont recommend too much watermelon, it will cause watery diarrhea. Stick with what Azygous mentioned regarding water, no treats is best.

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