In the same way that humans can become victims of stress and exhaustion from high temperatures in a hot summer climate, it can also happen to our chickens. Remember, if a hen cannot keep her body cool, egg production and laying performance will be greatly reduced. Also, if a chicken’s body temperature is too high for a long time, the chicken can die from heat stress.
Signs that your hen is suffering from heat stress
To determine if your chickens are suffering from heat stress, closely monitor their behaviors as they try to keep their body temperatures down. Chickens don’t have sweat glands, so the only way they can cool their bodies is by panting to allow the moisture in their lungs to evaporate and dissipate heat from their bodies. The first sign you will notice is that they are still panting and keeping both of their wings away from their bodies. When you notice that they are listless and that their breathing is difficult, they suffer from heat stress.
How to reduce stress in chickens
Here are some helpful tips on how to keep your chickens cool in hot weather or seasons:
Fresh water all-day
When the weather is extremely hot make sure your birds have fresh, clean water all day. This is very important. Be aware that chickens tend to drink more water in hot weather than in a cold period. The drinkers should be placed where the sun’s rays do not reach. When the water is very cool and cold, your chickens will use it to cool their bodies.
A sprinkler can also be used to sprinkle cold water over the birds to keep their temperatures low. You can also add vitamins A, B complex, D, and E to supplement the water for broilers and vitamin C for poultry farming.
Establish feeding times
Feed your birds during the cooler parts of the day, as the birds produce heat as they digest. For broilers and turkeys, remove feed 6 hours before peak afternoon temperature. Once the peak temperature has passed, power can be reintroduced.
Provide adequate space
Make sure your chickens have enough room in their pens. Chickens have a natural body temperature of 107 ° F. Placing them in a small space will make it very difficult for them to cool down their body temperature. The recommended floor space for poultry is 4 square feet/bird. Reduce body heat by putting fewer birds in each pen.
The plumage of your hens should be kept well ventilated. If there is good airflow in the pen, the heat and moisture removed by the birds will be easily removed. In a situation where natural ventilation is not possible, it is recommended to install a fan to remove the heat and cool the feathers of your birds.
Provide shade for your birds
Ideally, always place your chicken coop or pen under a tree or where there is a shade to avoid direct contact with sunlight and minimize ambient temperature. If there is no shade, white metal roofing material can be used to roof the pen.
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