Got Chickens? Here’s Help
We’re living in an oven. Today 114, tomorrow through Wednesday we are flirting with a chance of temperatures reaching 120 degrees. Keeping chickens is a challenge to say the least, but it can be done with the right survival tools.
Chicken keepers have extra duties during this time, every flock is at serious risk of heat stroke /exhaustion. Making sure they have shade is #1 priority, also try and provide a mister and fan. If you don’t have either, don’t keep them confined. Allow them to dig a hole in the dirt under a tree or bush, preferably with a hose nearby on a slow stream or drip. More Information
Important: Don’t bring them inside the house, it will be difficult for them to acclimate to the heat when returned outdoors.
Spring is saying it’s last goodbye here in Phoenix. Temperatures are reaching the 80’s during the day and that means only one thing… the real HEAT coming. I took advantage of the mild weather yesterday and prepared the chicken coop for the dreadful 115 degree days which inevitably are just around the corner.
Mist systems are in place and in working order, even the old fan has been replaced with an industrial grade high powered oscillating model specifically made for barns. Sun screens are all new, and double layered on the east and west side of the coop. I dragged out the big drinkers to help keep the water cool, and replaced the covered nest boxes with the open tops. After a thorough cleaning and fresh shavings, we are ready for summer, bring it on! How do we look?
It’s definitely a challenge keeping chickens in extreme heat, this article will give you lots of tips on what you can do to keep your flock safe. Cold weather is not a problem, but heat is a whole different story… and it can be a deadly one.
Dedication, that’s what it takes when raising chickens in the Sonoran Desert! These ladies are just four months old and experiencing their first summer in temperatures of 116 degrees. They’re a bit frazzled looking at times, but incredibly resourceful in finding ways to stay cool. Of course, I’ve given them a hand providing those resources, but it’s up to them to actually use them. Most members of the flock do, but there’s always those few who insist on going broody in hottest place possible.
To make them as comfortable as possible, a mist system is available at one section of our open air shedrow barn. It certainly has helped, but without air movement it just wasn’t enough, especially for the broodies who stuff themselves into oven-like nest boxes.
This week I hired an electrician to get power to the barn. I don’t even want to think what the cost of having fresh eggs has risen to now! Nevertheless, we now have airflow from a giant barn fan. Feathers are blowin’ and the flock is happy! Whoo hoo!
Not so much whoo hoo over the $$$ though. Oh well… love my birds.
Shade, the Crucial Necessity for Survival in Phoenix
Sunday was the perfect day to get the chicken yard ready for the summer, 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We hung the shade sail overhead offering the birds at least a small area out of the sun. The summer nest area is in place, and the little mud pond for them to cool off in has been repaired.
They will need a new box fan, but otherwise we’re ready to battle temperatures that literally can cook a chicken before its time. In about two months 115+ degrees in the shade is a given. In the full sun, don’t really know for sure, haven’t found a thermometer that exceeds 120 yet, not kidding.
The summers in Phoenix are brutal, and my chicken keeping skills are tested each and every year. As a newbie I failed my birds a few times over, but last year there was only one fatality. This year the goal is zero!
I have only three heavy birds this year, the rest are exhibition birds who fair quite well in the heat. Two of the three heavy birds are free-range, so they’ll be fine. The other heavy bird is the only one I’ll have to watch closely.
I sold all the heavy breeds, Orphingtons and Partridge Rocks a few weeks back. They are the first ones to drop from the heat if in confinement. When I say confinement, I mean an area 24ft by 20 feet, not a coop. Keep chickens in a coop here in summer and you’ll have dead chickens by noon.
For more information and suggestions on keeping chickens cool in Phoenix go here