Chickens are resilient creatures, easily withstanding some very cold climates. But one thing they don’t like is heat and humidity. To help keep your chickens happy and those eggs coming, we’ve put together some telltale signs and fixes for hen heat exhaustion.
When is it too Hot?
Anytime the humidity is above 50% and temperatures rise above 77ºF, chickens can experience some level of stress. At 86ºF, they can easily suffer heat stroke. If you live in an area where humidity is not an issue, chickens can withstand temperatures of up to 100º.
Chickens have plenty of features to keep warm in the winter, but have only a handful of ways to cool off. These include panting and rapid breathing, and outstretched wings to allow more air to reach their skin.
When a chicken gets too hot, they often take in too much water (and stop eating). This can cause diarrhea, exhaustion, and staggering. You’ll also notice a reduction (or stop) in egg production. Even in the worst of heatwaves, some chickens will still find a way to lay eggs, although they will most likely be thin-shelled leading up to a full stop.
If you notice any of these issues in your hen’s health, do your best to cool them down before they experience permanent damage or demise.
Cool Hens Rule the Roost
When chickens stop laying eggs, it means they’re using their stores of fat, carbohydrates and protein to survive. To help them out, start with electrolytes. Coastal carries several options you can add to your hen’s water. This can save them from kidney malfunction and other issues. Other ways to cool them down include:
Cold water: keep their drinking water as cool as possible. Just a few ice cubes every couple of hours can help.
Install a fan: add a fan to their coop to help circulate air. Just be sure your hens cannot get into the fan and cause damage to themselves.
Add shade: Provide shade to help your chickens stay out of direct sunlight.
Offer frozen treats: freeze berries and water together and leave the block of ice in a container for the chickens to pick at.
Freeze their scratch: Leaving the bag of scratch in the freezer during heatwaves can add some cool to your hen’s day. Every little bit helps.
Get Your Chicken Supplies at Coastal
You’ll find ready-to-build and pre-assembled coops, brooder lamps, scratch and peck feed, poultry netting, and a whole lot more at your West Coast-owned and operated Coastal. Stop by and you’ll find everything you need in stock, right now.