What are signs of heat distress?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chocobo, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. Chocobo

    Chocobo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2011
    I have just put out my six-week old chicks into the Texas heat and I want to be sure they are ok. I have read repeatedly that panting in heat is natural since it is their version of sweating and does not mean they are actually in any danger.
    So what ARE the signs that they need to be cooled off immediately or that it is too hot for them to handle?
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Being lethargic, holding their wings away from their bodies. There are other signs as well, but those two are the first things that come to mind.
  3. Ilovemyladies!

    Ilovemyladies! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2011
    Hills of Kentucky
    Holding wings out from body, Breathing thru mouth, and being inactive. Hope this helps!
  4. msviolaceous

    msviolaceous Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 16, 2011
    Holding wings away from the body is a sign of dangerous heat distress as opposed to normal cooling behavior? A sign that you should round up your chickens and get them in a/c?
  5. stilldeb

    stilldeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    NW Kentucky
    We have had some awful heat here lately (KY) and my chickens are feeling it, even though they are in the shadiest, coolest part of the yard. When it gets to the hottest part of the day, they do whatever they can to cool off, get up on their outside roosts, pant, and hold out their wings, and that's when i get busy with the ice and water. I put ice in their waterers, put ice on the ground, most of them like to be sprayed with a fine mist of cool water, whatever works. My "peeper coop" with my 8 wk olds has Sultans - not especially heat tolerant - and they go in the coop to cool off (my other chickens never go inside except to sleep), so I put a big bowl of ice in their coop and it's like air conditioning in there, really brings the temp down, and they can drink the cool water as it melts.

    We had practically no Spring this year - went straight from frozen winter to hot summer, and I went from heaters in the coops to try to keep everybody from freezing to death to ...ICE.

    deb g
  6. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 28, 2011
    Quote:I do. I'm probably one of the very few who do this. Over 1/2 my flock was on the coop floor lethargic, on bellies with necks stretched, wings out to the side panting very heavily. It was above 100 that day and very humid. I was doing everything to keep them cool. The big fan was blowing the hot air around. When I walked in the coop and saw I was losing over 1/2 my flock, I brought them inside and now I have a set up in the basement for them. They seem to like it even though it's not as spacious as the coop. I only bring them in on super hot days when temps are near 100 with a high dew point. They do have plenty of man made shade, but where the run is set up, it's very hot. We are in the process of planting trees for natural shade. Luckily I only have 8 in my flock, which is easy to bring in.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011

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