If your chickens are too hot they will hold their mouth open and pant, hold their wings out away from their body in an effort to cool themselves down. If your chicken gets too hot they may become listless, experience muscle weakness, become lethargic, develop loose stools, appear sleepy or weak, are less active, have trouble breathing, stop laying eggs, stop eating and tend to drink lots of water. If your chicken shows signs of being too hot get the birds in a shady cool place quickly.
Ways to Keep Your Chickens Cool
Ways to keep your chickens cool are:
- Make sure their feed and water is not sitting in the hot sun.
- Put frozen bottles of ice water in their drinking water to keep it cool.
- Hen houses and chicken coops should have plenty of shade so the birds can find relief from the hot summer sun.
- Hen houses should be well ventilated ones which are not ventilated properly can cause temperatures to quickly rise higher than 180 degrees which can stress and kill your chickens as well as cause respiratory infections.
- Windows should have 1/4 " heavy screen to keep predators out and there should be windows on all sides of your hen house to catch the breeze from any direction.
- You should keep a thermometer in your hen house hung where they cannot reach it or covered with screen to keep them from pecking at it.
- Fans can provide much relief from the heat as well as circulating the air so there is less dust floating around inside the hen house when used in combination with exhaust fans.
- Do not point fans at the floor. Rather point them toward the nest boxes and perches where they rest at night.
- An exhaust fan is also important to blow fumes away from their feces.
- Bedding should be cleaned regularly, at least once a week.
- Insulate the hen house or chicken coop to keep birds cooler in the summer and warmer in winter.
- Check on your chickens during the hottest times of the day and watch for signs of distress. If your birds are showing signs of of heat stress remove them from the heat right away and get them someplace shady and cool. After they cool down you can give them a lukewarm bath to help relieve their stress but do not let them get chilled after the bath. Never put them in cold water as they could go into shock.