We live in Texas and are losing our babies daily, as it has been 99* but with heat index about 105* and we are not sure what to do for them as we live on a limited income.... CAN anyone HELP with suggestions?????? thanks in advance..... Rhonda
Make sure they have enough ventilation. Ammonia levels rise fast in Texas heat.
Are they old enough to have roosts? If they can get off the floor and out of the "dangerous levels" of ammonia, it helps.
Make sure they do not have excessive heat from a heat lamp, etc.
During the day, if they are really small and still need a heat source, a low wattage bulb will usually work. Then replace it at night for one that will not let them get too cooled off.
Without knowing the age of chicks, it is really hard to give advice.
I have 5 day olds in a brooder that don't get any heat source, it is just too warm outside already. They are doing fine, I just make sure there are no drafts at night, and have a light in a fixture at the ceiling of an outside building, and I leave the door open.
If not do you have a porch or similar structure you could make some shade for them....
I don't know how many babies or adults you have, but if you didn't have a covered tin type area, you could probably even use cardboard boxes to make shading for them....Under the shade anywhere is much much cooler.
I understand fixed income, but could you run a fan outside there coop.
If these are newborn babies, turn off the heat lamps in the brooder. They don't need the extra heat.
If you haven't finished a covered coop, then look around for things you could do to make shade. Freecycle lets you post wish lists. Our local place where we take garbage lets us have a recycle table where you can find old wood etc, that could be made into a cover.
I hope I've helped. Normally 99 degrees wouldn't kill chickens as long as they have adequate water and some shading...Let me know if I'm missing something here.
I have read on here to use a few milk jugs.. Put water in them and put them in the freezer... I only put one out because I only have 5 chicks but you may have to use a few of them depending on how many you have... It's around 90 today but so far, no panting... Might help cool the air down around them a little bit at least...
I'm in Houston, so I hear ya' on the heat. It's miserable here lately - the birds are suffering from it.
Depending on the age of the birds, here are some things to do.
First, I find a place in the yard where the birds hang out that stays shaded all day long. Those places tend to stay cooler. If the birds don't hang out there, tempt them to by throwing scratch there daily.
When I do my early chores, I wet the leaves over that area, wet the ground a bit. If the birds don't go there, I'll put a pan with scratch out under the tree- just a bit. Put a water container there so they are drawn to there to drink. Put multiple water stations out during the summer. They don't have to be fancy - can even be just pans of water. You can put a frozen gallon of water in the pan to cool it.
Wetting the leaves in the cooler area makes an 'air conditioned' area, especially if the leaves drape to the ground. I actually leave some plants as bushes in my barnyard so that birds can hide from the heat there.
For smaller waterers, you can also freeze small drinking water bottles of water and put those in the waterer (cap off - so that when they melt they replace the displaced water with more melting water.
Our flock has a very small wading pool, like you can get for pets at Petsmart (the bigger ones for kids are too deep). They're pretty cheap. My turkeys love to stand in that water, which I put in the shade. You can put pans out and see if your hens will stand in it. Mine love puddles in the summer. Put those under the shadier areas.
For electrolytes, I never use electrolytes from packages in the summer full strength because birds will overdose on them by drinking a lot. Instead, use it 1/4th strength or less. Or you can use Organic apple cider vinegar in their (non-metal) waterers. That'll keep the water from getting scummy in our heat, gives them a natural electrolyte that they don't overdose on at the rate of 1/2 ounce ACV per 1 gallon of water. Use organic - it's more expensive, but you don't use much, and it contains other nutrients that will help your Texas chickens combat bacterial issues that we have with our water in the summer because organic has living bacteria in it. Also organic is made by bacteria, not through chemical fermenation. It's a vitamin D supplement for their laying, electrolytes for the heat, probiotics to ward off summer stress related issues and gut problems, and has enzymes so they digest their food better. It's worth every cent.
Be sure to take care of yourself, too. Hydrate yourself 10 minutes before going out to do your chores. When you're misting the leaves and ground, mist yourself a little too.
It's brutal out there, isn't it?
If they're babies, I'd use frozen water jugs and a box fan blowing that onto the babies.
So are you getting a possible drought in your part of Texas? The lack of rain here is making it cooler, but miserable for the horses, etc.