Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Helping Your Chickens Survive the Dog Days of Summer


Help your chickens beat this crazy hot and humid weather!

As the temperatures and humidity soar, you’ll want to help your hens keep cool. A few tips for helping your hens beat the heat. When temperatures reach the mid-80s, your birds will probably start panting. In temperatures above 100, your birds may suffer heatstroke. Here are some tips, excerpted from my class on chickens and heat, to prevent that.

1) Provide fresh, clean water – and lots of it.

2) Freeze 2-liter bottles and put them in the coop to cool it down.

3) Remove excess bedding, which traps heat.

4) Feed a crumble feed, rather than a whole-grain food. Grains generate heat as they are metabolized.

5) Provide shade.

If you notice that the birds are listless and lethargic (signs of heat stress), consider bringing them into a cool basement or to an air-conditioned mudroom (in a dog crate or portable cage).

As always, keep an eye on your birds and know what’s normal for them. This will help you catch problems before they become life threatening.

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Chickens and Cold Temperatures


We’re due for some VERY cold temps here in Chicago (in the negative degrees F, and windchills even lower), and a number of questions have come up about chickens and cold temps.

Here’s a list of ideas I’ve compiled. If you have suggestions, feel free to post.

Bedding

  • Keep bedding loose and dry. Deep bedding helps trap heat.
  • Clear snow from bedding.

 Coop

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  • Cover the coop and wire-covered areas (such as the run) with a plastic tarp, greenhouse plastic, dropcloth, or plywood.
  • Fill in cracks and crevices in the coop with newspaper or cardboard.
  • The coop should not be completely airtight; allow some air circulation to prevent frostbite.
  • Stack strawbales around the sides, esp on the sides with northern/western exposure to act as insulation.

Roosts

  • Make sure roosts are in the least drafty place in the coop.
  • Use wide roosts for toe coverage (2-4 inches in width)

 Supplemental heat

  • If ceiling is higher than 2 feet above the chickens, you may want to install a heat lamp above the roost that will turn on when the temp is below 35 degrees.
  • Be sure that the lamp cannot be damaged by a flying bird and that it is not a fire hazard.
  • If you bring the birds indoors, make a gradual transition to warmer temps – e.g., from 0 degrees to 20 degrees to 45 degrees, NOT from 0 degrees directly to 45 degrees.
  • Note that overheating can lead to obese birds. If you supplement heat, set the thermostat to just above freezing.

Frostbite

  • Watch toes and combs/wattles for signs of frostbite. A little petroleum jelly on combs and wattles can prevent frostbite *however* be careful not to overapply – petroleum products can coat the feathers, reducing their insulating properties.
  • Do not allow them to be out in the snow for extended periods of time to avoid freezing their toes.
  • Clear snow out of sections of the run so they don’t have to walk in it.
  • If chickens do get frostbite, treat with aloe vera, can use aspirin solution for pain (three 325 mg tabs per 1 gal water), don’t massage, don’t heat up rapidly. Allow tissue to die/fall off naturally.

Food and Water

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  • Check water several times a day to be sure it’s not frozen.
  • Feed mash mixed with warm milk or water. Some folks feed warm oatmeal. Make sure it is not hot, so the birds don’t burn themselves.
  • Provide a few handfuls of scratch grains in the evening before the hens go to roost. Can also feed a handful or two of scratch in the AM.

Laying

  • Extreme temperatures can stress the birds and cause hens to go out of lay.
  • Collect eggs so they do not freeze and lead to egg eating.

Chickens and Hot, Humid Weather


As the temperatures and humidity soar, you’ll want to help your hens keep cool. A few tips for helping your hens beat the heat!

As the temperatures hit the mid-80s, your birds will probably start panting. If temperatures hit above 100, your birds may suffer heatstroke. Here are some tips, excerpted from my class on chickens and heat, to prevent that.

1) Provide fresh, clean water – and lots of it.

2) Freeze 2-liter bottles and put them in the coop to cool it down.

3) Remove excess bedding, which traps heat.

4) Feed a crumble feed, rather than a whole-grain food. Grains generate heat as they are metabolized.

5) Provide shade.

6) Mist their favorite dustbath areas so that the soil is damp (but not muddy).

7) Provide shallow pans of cool water that they can stand in.

8) Create air movement.

If you notice that the birds are listless and lethargic (signs of heat stress), consider bringing them into a cool basement or to an airconditioned mudroom (in a dog crate or portable cage). Make the transition gradually (don’t bring them directly in to a room that is 20 degrees cooler). Help cool birds down by applying cool (not cold) compresses to comb, wattles, and feet.

As always, keep an eye on your birds and know what’s normal for them. This will help you catch problems before they become life threatening.

Helping Your Chickens Survive the Dog Days of Summer


As the temperatures and humidity soar, you’ll want to help your hens keep cool. A few tips for helping your hens beat the heat!

As the temperatures hit the mid-80s, your birds will probably start panting. If temperatures hit above 100, your birds may suffer heatstroke. Here are some tips, excerpted from my class on chickens and heat, to prevent that.

1) Provide fresh, clean water – and lots of it.

2) Freeze 2-liter bottles and put them in the coop to cool it down.

3) Remove excess bedding, which traps heat.

4) Feed a crumble feed, rather than a whole-grain food. Grains generate heat as they are metabolized.

5) Provide shade.

If you notice that the birds are listless and lethargic (signs of heat stress), consider bringing them into a cool basement or to an airconditioned mudroom (in a dog crate or portable cage).

As always, keep an eye on your birds and know what’s normal for them. This will help you catch problems before they become life threatening.

Helping Your Chickens Survive the Dog Days of Summer


As the temperatures and humidity soar, you’ll want to help your hens keep cool. A few tips for helping your hens beat the heat!

As the temperatures hit the mid-80s, your birds will probably start panting. If temperatures hit above 100, your birds may suffer heatstroke. Here are some tips, excerpted from my class on chickens and heat, to prevent that.

1) Provide fresh, clean water – and lots of it.

2) Freeze 2-liter bottles and put them in the coop to cool it down.

3) Remove excess bedding, which traps heat.

4) Feed a crumble feed, rather than a whole-grain food. Grains generate heat as they are metabolized.

5) Provide shade.

As always, keep an eye on your birds and know what’s normal for them. This will help you catch problems before they become life threatening.