Keep Your Chooks Cool This Summer
With the temperatures currently skyrocketing are your chickens in need of some extra TLC?
Barastoc Poultry have put together some handy information for chicken owners to help you keep your chickens safe and healthy during summer.
Chickens feel the full brunt of summer when temperatures start going outside their ideal ambient temperature of 18-25 degrees Celsius, the other element that amplifies the severity of their heat tolerance is humidity. The combination of high temperatures plus high air humidity will increase your bird’s discomfort and chances of heat stress.
Unlike humans, chickens don’t have the ability to sweat and therefore have to find other ways to maintain a safe body temperature. Some of the ways birds naturally cool down are:
Panting/laboured breathing - their respiratory rate increases, beak wide open and often with spread wings. This is done to remove heat from body and increase their surface area exposed to air movement.
Sitting or seeming lethargic - tendency to sit more and less desire to range. Watch their water and feed intakes as they may drop or cease.
Dust bathing or digging/burrowing - dust bathing removes direct sunlight off feathers and skin. Digging/burrowing gets them closer to cooler layers the dirt.
Spread wings - this increases air movement in and around body.
Selectively eating - reducing feed intake lowers the internal heat generated as part of digestion.
Increased water consumption - as the kidneys start to compensate they will try to keep a balance and increase fluid intake as their body expels more.
So, what can you do to keep your chooks cool?
- Ensure a constant supply of cool, clean water.
- Being mindful of the time you feed your chickens, feeding in the cooler parts of the day will certainly help with this.
- Keeping the coop cool is one of the most important things to do. A reflective roof and clean environment can help with this.
- Finally, keeping the coop well ventilated is key to managing the inside temperature. Good air flow through the coop removes the hot air and humidity.
If you have any questions about caring for your chooks get in touch!