Protecting Your Chickens From Overheating
Chickens aren’t so good at keeping themselves cool. You’ll need to keep an eye on them when temperatures are over 85 degrees to make sure they don’t overheat. If a chicken becomes overheated, they can easily suffer from stress, heatstroke, or death.
A chicken’s body temperature is normally 104-107 degrees. They don’t have sweat glands, so they must regulate their body temperature in other ways. Heat is dissipated through their combs, wattles, legs, droppings, and underneath their wings. When a chicken is feeling hot, it will begin to pant and hold its wings away from its body. They will also eat less.
Here’s a few things you can do to help them beat the heat.
- Access To Water – Keep fresh water available close by. Help keep the water cool by placing it in the shade and even adding ice. It’s also good to keep the water close where your chickens hang out during the day to make it convenient for them to stay hydrated.
- Place Misters Around The Coop And Run – Misters can cool the surrounding air by 10 to 20 degrees!
- Rovide Extra Shade – Consider hanging tarps or installing an umbrella if your landscape doesn’t offer much shade. This will keep the sun from baking the ground and also give your chickens a chance to get out of the sun. Consider using reflective materials to cover the roof of your coop and run if you live in a hot climate.
- Increase Airflow – Prop open coop windows and doors during the day to promote the movement of air. You can also set up fans to keep the air circulating.
- Cool Treats – Who doesn’t love a frozen treat on a hot day? Give your chickens chilled fruit or even frozen fruitsicles and veggiesicles for hydration and to cool them down. It can be as simple as slicing a watermelon in half and letting them have a ball slurping it down. Or get creative and create your own recipe!
If you notice your chickens are panting excessively, looking lethargic, or having pale combs and wattles, they are overheated, and must be cooled down immediately. The quickest way to bring their body temperature down is by submerging them up to their neck in a bucket of cool water. This may not be your bird’s favorite thing, but it could save their life.