Chicks and heat

Posted by: Anonymous

Chicks and heat - 07/22/02 08:24 AM

This weekend I took my just 4 week old silkies outside for a bit to give them a new experience. They are in a pen inside still climate controled. Sat. afternoon I took them out and it was warm out. They got onto the ground and almost imediately all layed down, leaning on one side. I thought maybe they wanted a dust bath, but they didn't even make an attempt. The ground was too hard and covered with grass anyway. They just kept piling onto each other laying down, so I thought maybe it was just too hot for them or just such a change so I brought them back inside after only maybe 20 minutes. They got into their pen and lifted their wings out for a bit and even strectched their heads out onto each other. Was it the heat? Is this normal? I'm hoping to put them outside in a week or so perminently, but now I'm wondering...any thoughts?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Chicks and heat - 07/22/02 08:54 AM

My mixed flock is 18 weeks old now and I remember when they first got to outside early this spring, they laid down on their sides also...and they still do that when the suns comes in the screen door of the coop or when they are outside. They seem to be just sunning themselves.

However, we've had some really hot days (108 I believe was our high up here in the mountains) and I worry endlessly about them. I have one of those remote thermometers in the coop so I always can see what the temp in the coop is.

This is the first time I've had chickens so there may be other/better tricks but here is what I've done so far on hot days (but we have low humidity so there may be better solutions in high humidity climates):

1. I keep the human door to the coop closed all day since it's in the morning sun. This is the biggest thing I've realized will keep the coop cooler during the rest of the day. The windows are always open, as is the chicken door into the fenced yard to allow maximum air movement.

2. I have a fan come on by timer every day that is near the window and points down onto the floor of the coop. I've got it going from 11AM to 7PM or something like that.

3. Since it's so dry here I sprinkle cold water on the pine shaving litter a few times a day and they like to burrow in it then. I don't think this would be a good thing to do in humid climates with the risk of moldly litter and respiratory problems. But with our dry climate, it also helps with the dust problem.

4. On super hot days I buy a 10-pound block of ice and put it on the floor...they stand on it, peck at it, lay by it and scratch around it. In the adjoining bachelor pad for the roosters I put down a 10-pound bag of cube ice. They can always go outside and find shade under a birch tree once I let the gals in from their morning forays on the range and unlock the roosters.

5. Also on super hot days, I replace their water with cool water or put ice cubes in it. (I rinse and fill water founts twice a week with one time being a bleach solution scrubbing too). For the roosters in their bachelor pad I keep 2-liters bottles of water frozen and put them on the floor in there.

6. I soak the dirt in the yard with plenty of water for them to stand over and scratch in.

7. I worry.

Hope some of this helps and would love to hear what others do for heat besides running to KMart to buy the little A/C unit they have on clearance right now!

Posted by: Susie

Re: Chicks and heat - 07/22/02 10:50 AM


Totally normal. Every brood I have raised does this the first time they get outside! They were enjoying basking in the sun and feeling the grass and dirt. I've seen this behavior regardless of temperature so I just think they are having fun and relaxing. smile
Posted by: Susie

Re: Chicks and heat - 07/22/02 10:55 AM


I don't have the heat concerns that you do. We have about a month here where we will hit low 90's and that's about it. My yard is very shaded with huge, old trees so actually my chickens have to work hard to find sunny spots. But on hot days, I hose down their dustbath area under this big maple tree and I hose the tree trunk down also. They run from the hose but as soon as I'm through, they are all there laying in the cool, damp dirt and they seem to enjoy that. Beyond that, I have a fan in their coop (haven't seen it get above 85 in there, even in the heat of summer, maybe because the whole building is shaded and it's concrete block construction) and I make sure their water is in the shade and always cool. I don't use small waterers. My chickens have plastic kid pools as waterers and with that much water it just doesn't get very warm. Also, I'll refill it on a hot day from my well, which is ICE COLD water!

That's about all I do for the heat.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Chicks and heat - 07/22/02 11:37 AM

Thank you! Normal is good! Nice to hear my birds are like the others. They will have a trip outside again today then!