Chickens and HOT Weather

gardengal19July 19, 2011

Hi all! -

Hope everyone is doing OK in this heat wave that has encompassed 23 states in the USA. The humidity is oppressive but, I can retreat to an AC house.

I'm wondering how you keep your chickens "cool".

Can I mist them with the hose?

I have 4 Rhode Island and 8 New Hampshire Reds. How do they tolerate hot weather?



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Hi Gloria! I have 1 Rhode Island Red, 2 Delawares, 3 Dominiques and a Easter Egger/Game fowl rooster. I just make sure that they have plenty of shade and plenty of cool water. I've noticed mine have really been panting, poor things! Nothing much more that I can do for them though. It's been a record breaking 104 and higher the past almost three weeks!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 5:02PM
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I live in Texas, where it is HOT every summer. After I had gotten my RIRs, I was told they don't do well with the heat. However, I haven't lost one to heat yet, so go figure.

Mine free range, but in the late afternoon I put a sprinkler in their yard by the henhouse to cool things off. I've noticed 2 of my Reds will go sit in the mist from the sprinkler. My Cochins, Australorps and game birds will stand in the dogs' water bowls to cool off, but I haven't noticed any of the Reds doing so. Mostly they seem to want to find cool, loose mulch under the trees to dig a hole and sit in. My hub has been talking about getting a kiddie pool for them! But I doubt that would keep them out of the dog bowls, anyway.

We have a fan on a timer in the henhouse that comes on at about dark and runs for a few hours to keep the air moving in there.
The poor things do pant a lot, and they aren't laying many eggs.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Back when we renovated the henhouse there was a little tree growing where we'd intended to fence in the exercise yard. First impulse was to cut it down but we decided a tree might be a good thing. I'm so glad we left it, as the heavy canopy over the tin roof has kept the interior so much cooler for the birds. Good aeration is critical and the most important thing you can do is be sure they have fresh and ample water at all times.

Mine seem to be coping with it well...Only seen one or two birds panting so far and they were a couple from my oldest hatches I've had for several years. The younger ones and pullets seem to be doing fine. Noticed the egg sizes have gotten smaller since the heat wave hit. Makes sense for a stressed bird to lay smaller eggs, I guess.

If you are new to chickens......I'd recommend you don't buy breeds just because something about that breed strikes your fancy. Considering what climate they're suited for is important. I know more than a few people who chose a breed not suited for their climate and end up with problems not only in summer but winter.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 1:00AM
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Sunflowerhill, henhilton and calliope-

First, thank you so much for posting! There doesn't seem to be much activity in the Farm Life forum and I always wonder if there is anyone out there besides me.

My chickens are about 13 weeks old. They were all supposed to be hens - but, one is roo. He started crowing a couple days ago but, not yesterday. Maybe it's too hot for him too. At first, I wasn't sure I would keep him- but, after reading and hearing from others that the eggs would have a higher quality cholesterol, I'm glad to have him be part of the flock.

I did mist them the other day because they were all panting. I have to look around for a sprinkler. I think that's a great idea, henhilton! Then, the chicks can decide for themselves if they like it. I will also put a pan of water in their courtyard in case they want to stand in it - lol

I have let them free-range out of their courtyard in the late pm for about an hour but, each day they would explore further and further away and it became quite a chore to round them up. One of them went into the greenhouse and under the benches and DH and I were exhausted and dripping from the humidity just trying to corral her - we both said, "never again when it's this hot". When she finally made her way out of the GH -(it was getting dark by this time) she flew into a tree. The branch she landed on was a younger, smaller branch so it bowed down and we swooped her up. There are too many trees and shrubs on our property as well as coons and other wildlife.

I thought they would all want to go into their coop/shed at dusk - and most of them did. Either she wasn't ready to go in or became confused when she went into the greenhouse. So now, I won't let them free-range until the weather cools down. I have a fan In their coop on an extension cord from the greenhouse but have to disconnect it at night so I can lock up.
We don't have electricity in the coop yet but, plan on it soon.

DH is building their nesting boxes now. I guess they should start laying in Sept.

Will keep you posted.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 10:04AM
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You probably can't find one now, this late in the summer, but look for one next year - a patio mister. It is x number of feet of tubing with little sprinkler mister heads and you hook it up to a hose. You can attach it anywhere. I'm going to get one early spring next year as soon as they are put out - Home Depot, Lowes, etc. I am down to one Dominique because of a raid on the henhouse, and she stays on the carport with the dog (both panting) or in a hole the dog dug under two rosemary bushes. They are best buds.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:37PM
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silkiemama - I think the patio mister is a great solution to this awful hot weather. The fine spray shouldn't disturb the chicks too much.

I heard some restaurant patios in Dallas, TX have them set up for people. That is their way to deal with the heat.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 8:49AM
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