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I was just reading an article about turkey farmers that are losing turkeys by the thousands (some by the tens of thousands) due to the extreme heat. I'm wondering what chicken owners are doing to keep their chickens cool.

I only have a small flock, but here's what I am doing. I have a barn fan that I turn on to create a breeze when the temperature reaches 90 degrees. When the temperature/heat index is truly oppressive as it is now, I put ice cubes in their water two or three times during the day and I put a few ice cubes on the ground. Of course, I ensure that they always have water to drink and food to eat.
 

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I lost my rabbits yesterday to the heat. Completely my own fault and feel terrible about it. I should have done for them what I did for the chickens.

I put their water right out under the cool places they like to lay so they wouldn't have to walk for it. And I put out a bunch of freezer packs for them to lay on. I just scattered them on the ground under the deck. Last night I tossed them all in a bucket of bleach water for a bit and washed off then refroze them for today.
 

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Sounds like a fairly decent plan. If you see your chickens holding their wings out and away from their bodies or the same and flat out on the ground trying to keep cool than they are being heat stressed.

Ideally a chicken coop is well ventilated and the building itself is shaded by trees.

Those turkey farmers are losing turkeys to heat stress because they are packed in like sardines. As far as turkeys go, a thunderstorm will kill quite a few as they tend to huddle in a corner due to noise and thereby suffocate themselves.
 

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Hose down a patch of dirt every now and again for your chickens and they will roll and dig in it. It helps cool them. Make sure its nice and wet and in a shady area. Also spray water on the roof of the hen house. If your chicken house is raised off the ground hang wet hessian bags and attach to the floor level hanging down. If there is any breeze it will act as a cooler.
 

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Besides plenty of fresh water everyday, I feed them in the early morning and early evening so as to not have them moving around much. That and I mist them down a couple of times a day, wetting the ground also.

Haven't lost one yet due to the heat
 

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Large commercial production units will often use mechanical ventilation and water misting systems to cool the birds. While chickens don't sweat, they will benefit from evaporative cooling.

The benefit of a small flock is that you provide more space for the birds, so the ground / litter conditions will stay dryer and won't have as significant disease breeding impact.
 

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my flock is spoiled.....I have a constructed misting sysem around the run.....................they love it. Side benefit..........to utilize the mist that falls I have constructed a protected (wire covered) bed under the misters that I keep planted in grass and such..........extra food for the flock
 

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Thanks for the ideas folks .
for my chickens I set up a solar panel and a automotive defrosting fan (chepe) so as the sun hits the solar panel the fan comes on and the chickens have figured it out now and sit and stand in it' breeze. they have a plenty of open area and a roof and shielded from direct sunlite, and still doing well .
My rabbits seem to be doing fine as well under the roof at the back of the house lots of breeeze goes through there and I may add a mister for the especially hot days . I'll have to set it up on a timer as I am at work during the day . A sprinkler timer will work I think just fine. For my fish in the car port I am expirimenting with a cooling tower 4' above the top of the tank. So far 78 degrees at worst 90 degree day .
Using a rag, and some expanded metal they use for dry wall, and a fountain pump .
 

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A small sprinkler system will help, especially setting up the coop under big trees for shade. Just as a FYI - Apple Cider Vinegar is often used in summer to keep water containers free of algae. Unfortunately with the heat it can cause death by acidosis. If you need to keep the algae away, try using some colloidal silver instead.
 

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Our chicken house is off the ground and they have windows on 3 sides. The previous owner built this house right in the middle of large trees. It is perfect. Our temps get up to 110.5 on some days ours are doing fine. We change the water out and they have a large sand pile and plastic swimming pool. So far, no stress. They are also spoiled.
 

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Don't throw out any extra feed like scratch. Just let them eat their normal feed. I will throw out some scratch when the weather is cool just to help keep them occupied and it helps keep them warm in cold weather.
 

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i lost 2 hens yesterday, and i had a fan going in the coop. they can come and go inside as they please and have a shaded cover over the run. It makes me wonder about them cause yesterday wasn't as hot as it has been for the last few weeks.
 

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I've been freezing bottles of water to put out with my girls, and I make sure they have water at all times.

I gave them a few handfuls of ice cubes today, too, but I'm not sure what they think of that. :)
 

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when it gets unusually hot my chickens go underneath a bush and dig a hole until theyre half covered. the hole is deeper than the ones they make when taking their dirt baths.

the most important thing for outdoor animals in heat is water. if animals arent acclimated to extreme temperatures (heat or cold) bring them indoors. chickens dont mind being caged up with little to no walking room as long as it isnt for a long period of time. people have enough sense to bring their dogs inside, its no different from any other animal...chickens...rabbits...etc. it would only be for the hours of peak temperatures then they can go back outside. granted, theyre 'only' livestock, its still inappropriate to not treat them properly.

while chickens have a built-in down parka and high body temperature that gives them some protection from temperatures that are far too cold for humans, the same traits that allow them to fare well in the cold are the same ones that are detrimental to their health in heat. the same applies to rabbits...theyre little more than hopping fur coats.

the positive to this is now the animals that survived are better acclimated to the heat and can pass this on to their next generation. the strong survive. darwin...at his finest.
 
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