Summer heat

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SeasideChef, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. SeasideChef

    SeasideChef Just Hatched

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    Jun 3, 2016
    Coastal TX
    We live by the coast in South Texas, in very humid/hot climate in the summer, and I am more concerned about how to keep the birds cool in the summer than warm in the winter. Even when we let them out today to play outside for the first time, one was opening her mouth and spreading her wings. Lots of rain in the spring is also a bit of an issue, though the area where we put the coop is elevated and never floods. We have the so-called "flash floods" - there would be a lot of rain with flooding, then the moment the sun is out, it all disappears, like nothing's happened. So I can imagine the coop area will get wet from rain quite a bit in spring. But heat is more of a concern than the rain. The coop area is near a shed with a large tree branches hanging over creating shade. The coop itself has a covered shaded run as well. But if I lock the birds up for the night inside the coop, they maybe protected from predators, but there is no ventilation inside the coop itself or windows that can be left open overnight.
    Any thoughts or suggestions?
     
  2. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    well in the day make sure there is plenty of water for them, you can also give them some kind of melon, mine love watermelon! it keeps them hydrated, as for the coop... could you put a screened door in? but with hardware cloth not the flimsy mesh
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Your coop should be very open, with big windows covered in hardware cloth, for cross ventilation and airflow. An insulated roof might help, if shade isn't complete. Then cold water in mid-day, ice in the water, frozen or cold watermelon, anything to provide relief. I have a box fan in my coop during really hot weather too. Also, select breeds that handle your weather. Mary
     
  4. SeasideChef

    SeasideChef Just Hatched

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    Jun 3, 2016
    Coastal TX
    Having big windows isn't an option in this coop. It is a kit coop, very nice but with not much room for modification. There is one door with a small window on it, and a door that shuts for the night after they have come into the coop from the coop's run. I am working on making a larger fenced chain link run area very secure for them, with extra hard wire buried around the entire perimeter of the fence on the outside and the inside, plus a barrier with decorative concrete pavers, and a hard wire cover over the entire run. Even with all the extra predator precautions, I am not sure if letting them stay in the coop with doors open at night is safe?

    Watermelon will be easy to get for them. We have them in abundance here.
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Can you build a hardware cloth door for your coop? The prefabs are usually pretty terrible, IMO. Mary
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Consider drilling holes near top to release warmest air. Keep holes small enough so predator like raccoon does not try to enlarge them.

    I recently acquired a kit coop. Primary roost area adjacent to nesting area is poorly ventilated. To compensate I will install a computer fan.
     
  7. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy SeasideChef

    Living in Aus, in a sub tropical zone, we get some very hot and humid days and like you, torrential rain and flash flooding.

    Until recently when we built them a new, larger coop suitable to our climate, my gals had a kit coop and one side was all door so that you could reach inside and the floor could be taken out for cleaning etc. To improve ventilation, I removed every second tongue in groove panel and replaced it with wire which you can see in this picture:

    [​IMG]
    PS. I am not proud of the accommodation they had and chicken math meant that kit coops got joined together, wire bits here, additions there etc. The kit coops served their purpose and have their uses, but with our climate, something safer, drier and cooler was required. We built this ourselves and not only is it bigger, going to last longer and more appropriate for our climate, it ended up costing less than what we had already spent on adding bits here and there [​IMG] The roof worked beautifully in our last torrential downpour and the gals stayed nice and dry. There is not only ventilation available [can be closed off in winter] through the decorative door, but the floor is slatted timber and there is ventilation at the top also.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] Check out the rain coming off the roof [​IMG]



    A few things I do to help keep them cool and hydrated are:

    * As mentioned by Poultry parent and Folly’s place, watermelon is always a favourite in summer and helps with hydration.
    * I put frozen vegetables into water, again helps with hydration, cools the water and the bobbing for treats entertains them and hopefully takes their mind off the heat.
    * As they do not like getting wet, I damped down the dirt in their shaded run [the new run is completely covered] and they seem to like to lay on the cool dirt.
    * Or, if they are free ranging, I spray the vegetation in their favourite spot which not only helps the vegetation but keeps that area cooler and the water has a trickle down effect from the vegetation.
    * I also damp down and/or create puddles in frequently used paths etc, which they walk through and hopefully aids in keeping them cooler.
    * I do have a mister system set up on the run but only use that in extreme heat because we already have enough humidity and adding to it could encourage mould spores which can result in respiratory issues.
    * If someone is showing symptoms of getting a little too hot, I have damped down her face, wattles and comb.
     
  8. SeasideChef

    SeasideChef Just Hatched

    25
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    Jun 3, 2016
    Coastal TX
    Thank you all for the great suggestions!
     
  9. gmatson

    gmatson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I freeze watermelon for my chickens. I also put fruit and mixed veggies in cups add water and freeze them. I call them chicken pops. I have heard some folks shave ice in a blender or something and give it to their chickens.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016

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