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Beantree

Keeping chickens cool

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With the impending heat wave I thought it worthwhile to post what we do in hot weather. Large chickens, particularly fat and fluffy ones, are most at risk. Our Orpingtons and some Wyandottes do struggle, even over 25C. The forecast I saw was for 35C tomorrow.

 

Ensure the coop and run are well ventilated but in complete shelter from the sun.

 

Wet the surrounding ground area thoroughly on the wind side because the evaporating water cools the air blowing through he run.

 

Wet the run and dust bath as this conducts heat from their feet where there is a good blood supply. This and the aforementioned may need doing several times during the day.

 

Add ice cube or blocks to the drinking water. We freeze water in large tubs and add to drinking bowls and use smaller pieces in bell drinkers. This will also need doing several times a day.

 

Risk leaving the pop-hole door open at night. Obviously much better if there is mesh attached over it or the whole run is totally secure, but not always possible.

 

Keep a bowl handy with cold water in it. In the case of a panting chicken immersing their feet for up to 10 minutes will revive them.

 

Put a cage up in a cool dark part of the house. Consistently overheating cases can go in there.

 

Anyone have any other tips?

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I have a big old girl so I am a bit worried about tomorrow especially as im working. I have put some watermelon in the freezer for half an hour and they have devoured that so it may help to keep them cool.

I have plenty of shade and thank goodness the garden is hot first thing in the morning but cooler in the afternoon

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Excellent advice Beantree :D

 

Here in Portugal it is nearly always above 30, right up to 40. I couldn't keep my orps here; I wouldn't feel it was fair to them :(

 

Shade is the most important thing, preferably deep shade. If you can spray the shade, so much the better, it does make a huge difference, although it does really need doing more than once. It won't cool down much at night either, so do a final watering of ground/shade bushes/umbrellas/shadeclothes before you go to bed. Put out more water stations than normal and keep vigilant. My bro in Oz has to deal with extreme temps as well, and its not unknown to bring a chook into the house and sit it in front of a cooling fan.

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I gave mine some chilled water with some ice cubes in with a teeny bit of sweetcorn (frozen) and my one and only strawberry that the slugs got to before me :(

They quite liked it but not sure if I made it a bit deep - there was quite a bit of flicking of freezing cold water - nice for me though whilst sat watching :lol:

 

I'm off to make them some ice lollies with mint and strawberries and a little bit of apple in ready for tomorrow.

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I gave mine a large litter tray today with some water in it and seeing them using it as a paddling pool was tres amusing :lol:

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My oldest girl was panting on Saturday and her wings were out at an angle - I will be at work but might put some water on run to evaporate a bit. thanks for tips

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Our Basil is a big problem. A huge buff Orpington cock he struggles in normal temperatures and that's the show breeders fault, not his. Saw another idea today which was cakes made of ice and sweetcorn. Mixed feelings about that because sweetcorn is very fattening which compounds the problem, even though the ice cools. But the heatwave is only predicted for a day so perhaps that's fine.

 

Ours are happy splashing in mud and even eating it.

 

We have some fans Daphne so perhaps worth getting them out.

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My daughter posted a link about putting veg, sweet corn etc in bun tray,adding water then freezing and giving it to help cool girls down. We are about 22 here and that is hot enough. I hope we don't go any higher.

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I made a sort of iceberg thing for my lot - used an old coleslaw tub, filled it about half full with layers pellets, added some meal worms and a tiny bit of sweetcorn, topped up with water, stirred it up and left the pellets to soak up the water, then plonked the whole thing in the freezer over night. I put it on the floor of the run this morning and left them investigating - it won't stay frozen for long, but hopefully will help just for the short amount of time when their run is not completely in the shade. I've done this before and it seems to go down well, so hopefully it will help them a bit.

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I turned the sprinkler on. My chickens promptly found a shady spot that got a light misting from the sprinkler. They haven't moved all afternoon!

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Well over 36 degrees here today, a little cooler now but not much.

 

I made the girls lots of shade and chucked lots of ice into their glugs to help keep them cool while I was out, chopped frozen grapes as a treat once I was home. Chopped frozen cucumber (everywhere sold out of watermelon grrr) for tomorrows treat but hopefully it should have cooled down by then.

 

This is our first summer at the new house, talk about baptism of fire, we will be planting some trees in the autumn which should cast lots of shade.

 

I hate this weather, I am not sun worshipper

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We were out for about an hour this afternoon. My flock were shut in their 3 metre run whilst we were out. Plenty of shade, plenty of water- I made a point of checking both before we left. We returned to one dead nearly 6week old chick. I can only assume it was the heat. She had been 100% fine when we left... No injuries- her mum was in the pen with her. None of the others show any sign of attack/fighting. We were all so upset and it was my 9year old son that found her. I strongly suspect she had died only minutes before we got home. I have since saturated a hazel tree which shades them so they got the drops and gave them frozen sweet corn. Have NEVER had a chicken die suddenly like that before. Feel guilty too, tho I had checked conditions - feel as tho I should have done something else! :(

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As expected the Orpingtons suffered the most. Despite adding hugely to our water bill using the hosepipe (bought a Gardena meter to fit to it and recorded over 600 litres) we still had lots of foot bathing and water administered. Two surprise sufferers were a leghorn bantam hen and a Marans; the latter decided to go into the nest box to lay and came out looking rather ill.

 

Seems they get disorientated when too hot, pant continuously, get dehydrated and then forget to drink. The effect of giving them 20mL of water by syringe was immediate. They stopped panting and went to the drinker for more.

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I watered my garden yesterday and lightly misted the chickens too. They don't really appreciate it, but became much more lively afterwards.

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Without wishing to rain on anyone's parade (!) I've never seen the point in freezing water etc for them - surely by the time it's defrosted enough to drink the benefit of it being cold is gone in the same way that warm food in winter doesn't really help? :?

 

I also know that if offered lovely fresh water or a warm stagnant puddle in a plant saucer, my hens will enthusiastically opt for the latter option!

 

Mine have lots of shade on their run and plenty of water, they were fine yesterday and I opted to leave them in the run for most of the day, where they are less active, rather than let them out where they'd be moving around more. They did a lot of dustbathing which probably helps.

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