We’re entering summer’s warmest months, and our birds are feeling the heat just as much as we are. It’s hot, humid, and often uncomfortable in many parts of the country. It’s critical to keep your flock cool, or at the very least comfortable, at this period. When the birds feel heated, they instinctively know what to do.
Compared to humans, who have a body temperature of 97.9 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken has a typical body temperature of 104-107 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not difficult for us to keep a healthy body temperature while the ambient temperature is 10-15 degrees below our body temperature; nevertheless, when the temperature exceeds 100 degrees, we are all in danger. During the summer, heat stress is particularly frequent in chickens and other poultry, and it is the cause of many deaths. Birds, unlike humans, do not have sweat glands and must rely on their respiratory system to stay cool. They pant to cool down as a result of this. The water in the neck evaporates when you pant, lowering your body temperature. Aside from panting, such creatures as our beloved chicken have their own cooling mechanism: their comb. To adapt to a particular environment, a breed of chicken in one place may have a greater comb than a breed in another. Don’t be fooled: this huge comb may be found on hens and roosters alike.
Managing your poultry:
1. The importance of water cannot be emphasized. Ensure that your flock has access to fresh water at all times. If you can install sprinklers in your coops, the body temperature will drop by 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also include some shallow water pans for the birds to put their heads in or wade through. To stay cool, chickens and ducks will stand in the water. Swimming pools or lakes are not suggested for chickens, except for mature ducks, because they can drown. However, a shallow dish will suffice.
2. You can add electrolytes to your drinking water once a week. Panting can cause a bird’s electrolyte level to fluctuate, and refilling it in their drink can help them keep cool. Because the supplementation boosts water consumption, the bird will keep more hydrated throughout these strenuous summer months.
3. Make sure your birds’ habitat is adequately aired and that air may circulate freely. Airflow can be aided by the use of fans. A shaded space will also assist the birds in staying cool.
4. Because birds create heat, make sure your coops aren’t congested. Rather than producing more heat than they require, the birds require room to dust, bathe and relax.
5. If the litter is used in the pens, clean it frequently to avoid ammonia buildup. Fresh air is critical for optimal respiratory functioning, particularly for birds who paint using their respiratory system.
6. If your birds are allowed to roam freely, ensure the grass is trimmed. Because thick grass hinders air movement, the shorter the grass, the colder it will be. As it absorbs the most sunlight and heat, birds will seek for the bare ground to cool off. To stay cool, they’ll take a dust bath in the soil.
7. Feeding your birds during the colder hours of the day is essential. It may be early in the morning or late at night. Food churning generates heat, which can lead to heat stress if the birds are fed during the hottest hours of the day.
By following these suggestions, your birds will appreciate you and you will feel better. Many backyard chicken owners face heat stress, but with proper care, you can keep your flock cool during the summer months. Everyone, stay cool!