Hot Hens : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have 16 Red Star hens. During the day, they just have their mouths open, panting. It is so hot too. At night, on the roost, they are just panting, so hot. I know they are uncomfortable. On the side of the hen house, where they sleep, Cut a large hole and covered it with very small wire. Even a snake couldn't get through it. It is nice and safe and open for a breeze but still, they are so hot. It is like 100 or more degrees here in Texas every day. Does anyone have any ideas about getting them cooler. Egg production is down from 12 to 8 eggs per day. Well, 2 or them are trying to set and I had to break them up and they haven't started back laying yet. Would it be good to put an electric fan on their nest cages and maybe in the roose. I'm not trying to make a profit. They are pets more than anything else but I would like to keep egg production up but mainly just don't want them to suffer from the hear. Thanks for any advice. Eagle

-- eagle (, July 16, 2000


4th line from the bottom, I meant roost, not roost. Sorry. Eagle

-- eagle (, July 16, 2000.

4th line from the bottom, I meant roost, not roose. Sorry. Eagle

-- eagle (, July 16, 2000.

Eagle, can you rig up a swamp cooler for them? Can you cut a hole at the other end of the building for some cross-ventilation? Can you cut holes low on one side and high on the other side? A fan would help, if you can keep it as dust free as possible so you don't burn it up right away or worse, set fire to your building. Keep changing their water so it is as cool as possible. Chickens don't appreciate a hosing down even when they're as hot as yours are, which is a shame since it does help a bit.

Some more involved ideas would be to move them to a cooler building if you have one, whitewash the south facing windows to help reduce the heat gain, you might even be able to rig a sun shade with tarps to give a little extra shade to the building.

I hope you're able to come up with something, heat is so hard on chickens. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, July 16, 2000.

we made a frame like a greenhouse over the hen house and covered it with shade cloth from a nursery also how about a hole in the roof covered with a slanted piece of wood?

-- renee oneill (, July 16, 2000.

I have used iced water in the waterer, and you might try freezing jugs of water and placing them where they could lay beside them. It doesn't get as hot here as you have it, but I have placed my birds in a house completely of chicken wire, except for the tarp covering (for sun/rain) which allowed more air circulation. Is that an option? Is your run secure enough to allow them to stay outside at night where its usually cooler?

Let us know how its going. Good luck.

-- Anne (, July 16, 2000.

Eagle, Here in Arkansas it's also REAL HOT this time of year. I to am familliar with that look on my chickens. They stand around with their wings out away from their bodies and their mouths hanging open panting. My chicken house does not have a window but the door is all poultry wire. The house is tin. Hot Hot Hot! With a dirt floor. I am planning on building one nearer my garden this winter. I also plan to plant muscadines and have them grow over the yard. Shade in summer and no leaves in winter. The best I have been able to do for mine so far is provide plenty of water. Chickens require LOTS of water now and shade.Dust baths seem to cool them and keep critters off them too. But you know I have seen them lay in the dirt right in the sun panting. I just figured they would know when enough is enough.I havn't lost any to heat. Egg production usually falls down this time of year for ours and they usually start to molt. Idont know if that has to do with the heat or not. I just figured that since it is so hot it's a good time to slow down anyway. Good luck with yours.

-- Bonnie (, July 16, 2000.

can you turn a sprinkler on, like a fine mist to cool em down?

-- Stan (, July 17, 2000.

When we built our henhouse, AKA the Chicken Taj Mahal, we did it with straw bales for insulation between the siding and the walboard 9 Yep, wall board - we can get it real cheap, like 59 cents for a 4x12 piece - so the chickens have wall board with fancy wall paper on it already. Anyway, the straw bales keep the house relatively cool - we open up three of the four windows for cross ventilation at night, and during the day they have all four windows open as well as both doors. The house stays cool. Could you pu straw bales around the outside of the house to keep it more insulated and cool? And I agree with the answer above, give them as much cross ventilation as you can manage. and my chickens dolike the mister - and they don't ven mind direct water, like from a sprinkler, as long as there is wheat on the ground getting soaked and soft and sprouting. Oh that reminds me - I was also told NOT to feed the chickens in the morning - do it late in the evening, before the sun goes down, so they don't generate so much body heat.

Good luck with the poor chickies!

-- Ann Zavala (, July 17, 2000.

eagle, I hang a little fan up at the top of the chicken house to help with air circulation and give them fresh water twice a day and even spray them if they look too hot(they don't like it) karne

-- Karen Mauk (, July 18, 2000.

I overheard somewhere that drinking 50 degree water can lower a chickens core temp by as much as 5 degrees. Maybe you could put some gallon jugs in the fridge, and let your chickens drink that water during the day?

-- Eric in TN (, July 18, 2000.

Thanks for all the replys. When I build my pens, there was a big bunch of trees. I got a chain saw and cleared out a space and built my hen house, run and some extra pens in there, all 7' tall. All of it is in a shaded area and actually much cooler than they would be out in the open. I like the idea of freezing the gallon jugs and putting them in there. They could drink and get cool by standing near them. I don't really have a way of putting a hole in the back because my feed building is back there. I amm going to run an electric cord down there and put a fan in there. is back there. I have a mister that I got for my grandkids. it puts out a really fine mist and the kids can run through it. Thanks for the suggestion about the mister. I'll just put mine out there for the chickens since grandkids have grown up. I'll try all the suggestions. Thanks again for the response. Eagle

-- eagle (, July 19, 2000.

Misters are common with poultry in the sunbelt (and probably elsewhere!) You can buy a kit or separate valves, tubing and pvc to make your own design. I think I got mine at Home Depot.

-- ~Rogo (, July 19, 2000.

Here in North Alabama chicken and rabbit farmers have been using water mist nozzles on the roofs and misters in the vent fans.

-- Jay Blair (, July 22, 2000.

See the current issue of Countryside (July/August 2000). On page 81 there is an article on keeping chickens cool and on page 115 there is an item on a mister. To keep water cool find a pan large enough, put a frozen milk jug of water in it and then fill the pan. Will need to do this at least once a day. You might also only feed the chickens once a day in the evening.

-- Ken Scharabok (, July 25, 2000.

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