It has been miserably hot here the last couple weeks. It was 97 degrees this morning by 11 AM. Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are a big fear during this time of year, and we go above and beyond trying to keep the chickens, turkeys, and guinea fowl cool. A chickens optimal temperature is 75 degrees. Anything hotter than this, and their bodies begin to experience stress. We have learned several ways to battle the heat over the years. For a few ideas, click here.
Heat and Electrolytes
Because the effects of heat are cumulative, meaning every day with extreme temperatures will compound the resulting heat stress issues, we have been attempting to keep frozen treats in the coop during the hottest part of the afternoon. Not only does this give them something to do while they are waiting out the heat, they are getting additional liquids, electrolytes, vegetables, and fruit.
We use plastic containers, and I collect things like overgrown cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, peas, carrots, corn, etc. I chop them up, and put them in the bottom of about 8 containers. Then I mix up some vitamin/electrolyte water mix, and pour the containers full. (You can also make your own electrolytes out of things that are probably in your kitchen. Click here.)Then, I line them up in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, I stack them up, and do it again. I am typically using two or three of these per day, but it is well worth it to ensure that they are intaking plenty of liquid and nutrients throughout the hottest days when heat exhaustion and heat strokes are claiming the lives of so many chickens.