Hens in summer: Chickens Coop Tips
It is not easy to manage a poultry coop in hot weather. Because of the high temperatures, chickens can show the first signs of overheating.
Hens have a body temperature of around 40° and their heart beats 280 to 315 beats per minute. In order to decrease this, they use some tricks, such as keeping their wings spread and their beaks open while panting.
Excess heat in chickens: what are the symptoms?
Chickens from 25 -30° start to suffer from heat. The symptoms are quite evident. The animals tend to:
- Having their wings down and spread;
- Becoming apathetic and dejected;
- Gasping and panting laboriously;
- Having difficulty standing up;
- Having a lack of hunger;
- Losing weight;
- Dropping or stopping egg-laying;
- Producing liquid excrement.
Poultry owners, however, can use some tricks to help their chickens cope better with the heat. Here are 10 ways to manage the hen coop in hot weather summer.
1 – Ensuring shady areas in the henhouse in summer
It is always necessary to provide an area of shade in summer, especially during the hottest hours of the day. A low wooden shed or dense bushes allow the chickens a good, refreshing rest. It is also possible to organise shade cloths and pergolas over which grapevines and other plants such as glycine or passiflora can climb.
2 – Ensuring fresh and clean water
It is important that the animals always have fresh, clean water. It is therefore essential to place several bell drinkers in the poultry, located in several places, preferably in the shade, so that the hens do not have to walk far to access the water.
The drinking bowls should be cleaned regularly to avoid the formation of parasites and algae. Also, the water must be changed often, and if the heat is too hot, a good tip is to put ice cubes in the water as well.
3- Animals must eat a fibre-rich food
A diet rich in fibre, contained in foods such as bran, cereals, apples, pears, stimulates animals to drink more and this allows better hydration. For preparing healthy food for your hens, you can use an electric grain mill.
4 – Limiting corn and foods too rich in water
Corn, due to its long digestion time, can overheat the animals, while foods too rich in water, such as watermelon and melon, can cause dysentery. It is better to moderate the feeding of these foods.
5 – Using a tub of water for bathing
When it’s hot, chickens can soak their feet in water and splash their skin and plumage. The evaporating water will cool them down. The animals can also be bathed with a rubber hose, used as a sprayer.
6 – Leaving space in the poultry house for ground bathing
Chickens love having a bath on the ground to remove ectoparasites such as lice. In summer, it is preferable to provide an area of shade so that the animals can also cool off.
7 – Don’t overcrowd the chicken coop
It is important that the poultry house is not overcrowded to prevent them from becoming overheated. In addition, the animals must be given wide spaces to move around and spread out. Hens living in small spaces experience a lot of stress and this also affects the quantity and quality of eggs produced.
8 – Don’t build the hen house with high-heat materials
It is essential to avoid building the chicken coop out of metal material as it overheats in summer. It is important to circulate air by adding a window closed by a grille to prevent other animals from entering the chicken coop. The window should be placed on the wall opposite the door because the warm air accumulates at the top of the house.
9 – Keeping the chicken coop clean
It is important that the chicken coop is kept clean at all times: cleaning the litter and feces frequently prevents infestations of flies and invasions of red mites.
10 – Providing a block of ice in the water
In order to help the chickens in summer, you can cut fruit and vegetables into slices, put them in a container, fill it with water and leave it in the freezer for a day. The following day you can use a feeder to give the ice block to the chickens, which will certainly cool them down and give them relief.
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