Suggestions on how to help our birds "beat the heat"

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fifenashia, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. fifenashia

    fifenashia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2011
    Eastern Kentucky
    There are a few threads floating around that are starting to address the rapid rise in hot temperatures. Chickens are not able to sweat and so they need external assistance in cooling down and once their little bodies reach 90degrees.... it's not good. So let's put together a list of the best ways you have helped/are helping your hens beat the heat this summer!!

    This is my second summer with hens and we had no problems last year, but this year already I am worrying more since we have had 4 days in a row with heat index 94!! These are some of the ways we are planning/currently using to help our girls cool off.

    SHADE! Our run only has trees on the backside and so the mid afternoon sun beats down pretty extreme. We stapled plastic sheeting up over the area right under the coop as a way to keep the sun from beating down so harshly. It's not perfect or completely ideal but it's the best I can do for now. I have noticed them digging in the ground in that area as a way to find the cooler earth below and get some relief.

    ICE! Hubs has been dumping buckets of ice in their water throughout the day.

    FROZEN FOOD! We threw some frozen strawberries in the water too, thinking of doing some spinach, blueberries and other fun treats in ice cube form. Popsicles for chickens??! [​IMG]

    We let them out of the coop when I get home from work between 6-7pm and allow access to kiddie pool, sand box for dust bathing and tonight hubs actually sprayed them down with the hose. I would let them out sooner, but we lost 2 in a dog attack a few weeks back and I cant let them free range without fixing the fence first.

    WATER BOTTLES. We took a GIANT plastic jug that held a mega ton amount of cheeseballs and filled it with water (minus cheese balls) and it is currently in the freezer. Once frozen it will go down for them to "cozy up" to and cool off with.

    Any other suggestions? ADD THEM! [​IMG]
     
  2. kara_leigh

    kara_leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2011
    Bradleyville, MO
    I never thought about frozen food or an ice bottle. Mine free range and don't stay in one place long enough to cuddle with an ice bottle. I've been giving them cold grapes 2-3 times a day until they are full, along with putting ice in their water. We have tons of shade. Their food and water and their daytime "roost" (a short drywalling ladder my DH lent to them) is next to the house under a big oak and big maple tree, plus they like to hang out in the woods which is nothing but trees. If anyone else has any ideas, I'll be happy to try them. It's supposed to be close to 90 degrees all week here.
     
  3. JPHorvath

    JPHorvath Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last year we kept a fan in the chicken coop. Need to find new fan to hang in coop this year. Never thought of frozen fruit but I will try it. We keep personnel door, coop door and awning windows open on coop all day. Our birds free range all day, plenty of dense large bushes for them to dig and dust under. Today I was thinking of placing ice in their water bucket. Considering insulating their coop then covering interior walls with plywood. Other project will be to install copula with exhaust fan same time we re-roof chicken coop. They will walk around outside in the rain, but they do not like me to hose them off. No I do not spray water at them directly spray in air so comes down like rain.
     
  4. Glenmar

    Glenmar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2011
    VIRGINIA
    When I had rabbits, I used the frozen water bottles for them. They would lay next to them. I did not know chickens would do this too.
    This is my first summer with chickens. Thanks for the info.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Great ideas! THis is my first year with chickens. My experience with other animals is that the hot weather is more difficult than cold weather for most animals; especially one that wears a winter coat in the summer. LOL

    Thanks for the frozen water bottle idea! 14 girls are stuck in their new coop for a few days and of course it is now hot and humid. Ugh!
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Nov 18, 2007
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    My Coop
    Do they have any shade in their run? I have a sprinkler I put on for awhile in the afternoons as it has been in the mid to upper 90's here. The birds go under the sprinkler but they have shade too and I wet down the ground in the shaded area too. Also you can put a shallow storage box, kiddie pool or something similar out filled with water. I have pans and the birds like to wade in them.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011
  7. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    Here in the desert, DEEP SHADE is the only thing that seems to help. I lost two Buff Orpingtons on a 105 day, they were in an open area with shade cloth, but that wasn't cool enough. The Barred Rocks seemed fine with that amount of shade, but not the Orpingtons!!

    My run is under a huge Pine tree, and it has deep shade all day long. I put ice in their water and give them frozen treats too.
     

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