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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:14 am 
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Dapper Duck
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We are expecting very high temperatures here in Victoria soon and as I only have two girls I will bring them in the house during the hottest part of the day and putting frozen bottles of water in their water bowels but it must be a worry for people with many chickens. I have heard lots of terrible stories of birds dying from the heat. Would like to know any tips from experienced breeders for us newbies for the Summer months .


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:22 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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There's many threads on here already that discuss these issues, but for ease of being in the one place.

We have way too many to do anything with, we are also on tank water, so the only thing we can do, is keep their pens in the shade where ever possible, cool the pens down with water on the roof & walls.
Ice in the water.
We also let whatever pens out that we can & let them shelter under the tree's.

This is about all we can do, it wasn't very successful last year, but has worked to date this year.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:35 am 
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Hi Sonya,

Once the temperature gets above 40C or a bit lower if it's humid, chickens have significantly more trouble keeping themselves cool. A breeze helps which we've had confirmed recently here.

If you have air conditioning in the house you can bring two girls inside in dog crates or similar to keep them cool in the worst part of the day.

There are some good tips for dealing with heat in this topic: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8026784r

and another great topic here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7968802

Some things that have been mentioned on this forum:

Frozen bottles of water in the pen
Frozen bottles of water in the water
Let the chickens out to free range and find a shady spot
Restrict heavy feed intake in the mornings on days when you know the temperature is going to be high - give more feed later when it's cooler
Shelter the coop or roof in some way - eg shadecloth to keep direct sun off the coop roof and give a bit of insulation
Keep water in drinkers cool and out of the sun
Some people will split a watermelon and put it in the coop for extra fluid and they certainly enjoy it
If there is a breeze, hosing down the coop or ground may help cool the area
Provide a paddle pool (eg kiddy shell) with water in it that the chickens can stand in


The things you can try will depend on your own yard and coop. We have too many chickens to bring them all inside, or even to let them all out, so we have to use a combination of strategies. Sometimes you can't do as much as you would like. The recent 46 degree days were always going to produce casualties. I hope you don't get that down in Victoria.

There's some information about heat stress in chickens here as well: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=8019088
I will borrow the pictures from there to show you what a heat stressed chicken looks like. They stand with wings out and will pant. Once they are prostrate on the ground they are in heat stroke and in serious trouble.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Another thing is to keep them a bit lean during the summer months, if they are carrying too much weight they find it harder.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Champion Bird
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I don't have to worry about heat here but when living in SA my chooks and I survived the 2009 heatwave hell when temperatures reached 45.7 degrees and 10 consecutive days were over 38.

Good to see you are using water bowls that you can add large blocks of ice to.
The worst type of waterers in the heat are the nipple or small cup type like the Wet-a- Chook brand.
A chicken's wattles assist in cooling it's body temperature so with an open bowl it can dunk the wattles right in and let the water run down the chest.

A few more ideas...
Using sand in the run - wet it down a few times during the heat and it will stay damp and give the chickens a cool place to sit.
Let the chickens out to shelter in your garden if you can.

Plant fast growing climbers,trees and shrubs around the pen to give shade.

Freeze wedges of watermelon and cobs of corn for a cooling treat.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:34 pm 
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Hi Sonya,
I also make sure there are extra watering stations in the pens so that if one is spilt or fouled there is an alternative drinker. Especially if I will be at work for the day.

And deep ones like Artemis says for them to cool off.

My slow cooker stopped working last week so the ceramic insert is the latest drinking station to get out to the pens.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:32 pm 
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Sultry Swan
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redjohanna wrote:
My slow cooker stopped working last week so the ceramic insert is the latest drinking station to get out to the pens.
my first slow cooker - a crock pot is in use in our yard redjohanna. cool water.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:00 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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A couple of things we do that the chooks take advantage of in our backyard on stinking hot days are...

- I put several large, wide water containers in the only spot in the backyard that remains cool at ALL times for them
(some hot days recently saw me come home to them all being nearly empty, but still the water was cool !

- Allowing grass to grow long in places in Spring, and leaving it long throughout Summer, as long, green grass tends to get cool quickly once it's in shade.. not recommended if you're prone to snakes !
(the ducks & young chicks take more advantage of these spots than the adult chooks do)

- Providing a cold water wet mash before dusk for them to fill up on. The hotter it is, the wetter I tend to make the mash.
(Made with their complete layer feed mash & sometimes with the addition of avtycoon's spice blend)

- I used to hose some areas down a bit, but find that where there's grass it's as cool as when I hose the area... and the grass at our place tends to grow like crazy


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:53 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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I read all the heat related threads & learn something new every time! Thanks for posting that picture Cathy, I was wondering how I would know when they went from 'panting & wings out' hot & 'get them in front of an air conditioner now' hot. Little roo is about to get a dunking in the kiddie pool. Love this forum.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:58 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Hi There
The frozen milk bottles or anything around the two litre mark works but with the heat we are having here at present (and expected to get worse next week) but they thaw out very quickly.
So I keep about 6 of them in the deep freezer.
I am out two or three times a day as I have Large Black Australorps and Blue Orpingtons which don't cope well....

I find hosing the shadiest areas that are in the shade most of the day works.....

I also am a big fan of "Stockgain" supplement (mollasses based horse supplement) great as an energy support as it has all the electrolytes and minerals needed.
Ordinary Mollasses is not the same....
I put about a third of a cup in the 10 litre water buckets (along with the frozen bottles) and they love the sweetness of it but don't give too much it will scour them.
I haven't tried the frozen water melon as I was told water melon will scour chooks...
Frozen bread which I get free from Vinnies as day old.

A cool change and some rain would be welcome :thunder


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:02 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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It will be hideously hot in places in Vic that don't normally get that sort of heat. Ballarat - 40 on Thursday.
We don't drink out of plastic bottles, so i thought I would head down to the service station and buy a 1/2 dozen bags of ice, and store them in the chest freezer to add to the water. Also some cheap home brand, large bags of frozen mixed veg from the supermarket, and any old packets in the back of the fridge freezer.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:05 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Hi
The frozen vegies sound like a great idea.....
Black and Gold cheap as and the birds could have it as supplement to the mix.
Obviously before it got too warm....


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:50 am 
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Clever Cockerel
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Thanks Janniwan, I was going to ask about frozen veg. I get the Aldis ones and mix with raw mince for the dogs. Also freeze meatballs and chicken wings for the dogs and drop iceblock from 2-litre icecream container in their water bucket, they love licking ice in their water. I think the chooks would prefer ice melting rather than a bottle of ice in their water.

It sounds like frozen veg are fine for chooks, hope they don't run themselves exhausted fighting over frozen broccoli.

I haven't lost any birds yet, but they were so stressed today I thought it was touch and go for a few of them. And we only hit 36, so the over-forty days are still to come this week.

Need shadecloth urgently. I haven't price-compared with Bunnings, but found this shadecloth company which will arrange delivery and seems reasonable compared to others.
http://www.siteshade.com.au/
Plus they have a rubbish cage (under Accessories in their index) that looks like a useful small run with some tweaking.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:02 am 
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Junior Champion Bird
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The "leaf bin" (compost section at Bunnings) has 4 panels, and 2 packs of these makes a good bottomless chicken tractor close to 2 square metres in size. I use these for my youngsters as brooder pens or out on grass.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:32 pm 
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Some sensible advice from DPEI (Victoria) that basically says the same as people here have already posted.

Birds (including poultry)

Birds may show signs of heat stress such as:

* reluctance to move
* standing with head down
* squatting with wings spread
* reduced growth rates.

Birds can adapt to a range of temperatures (approx 5-30oC), however the heavier meat fowls and breeder birds may experience high levels of mortality if exposed to sudden, large fluctuations in temperature & humidity. It is important that caged birds are kept in a sheltered and cool location and given plentiful water.

Locate and design your chicken coop or aviary in an area that is shaded from sun and has sufficient airflow. On hot days, some ice cubes can be put in drinking water bowls which will gradually melt to give birds fresh and cool water.

If your birds are displaying signs of heat stress, spraying them with water and creating a breeze by using fans or mechanical ventilation may help to cool them. In extreme cases, you can dunk them in a bucket of water to cool them.

Birds should not be transported unless the heat load can be maintained at under 30 degrees C. Shade, fans, misters or other cooling methods need to be provided when the vehicle is stationary or if the ambient temperature rises above 30oC.

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