Our tip of August (however I fear the weather may have changed !!)
Heat stress has been an issue with all livestock (us included) this year. This can lead to a few problems, heavy fast-growing birds and older birds can suffer from heart attacks and as with any kind of stress it can lower immunity raising susceptibility to other problems such as worms and mites which we all know about and need to be extra vigilant about.
The most common problem made worse by the heat are the various respiratory problems especially in the chickens, we have found consistently the best cure is ‘prevention’. So, ensure correct bedding is used shavings, chopped straw any advertised as for poultry and equine are normally the best products to go with.
Avoid using hay, make sure the bedding is kept dry and use of a dri bed supplement such as Agrivite works wonders alongside a well-ventilated house.
The best preventive supplement you can give your poultry which can help prevent a whole host of ailments is unpasteurized cider vinegar (sometimes advertised – with mother) Not the super market product but one you would find in any agriculture / farm store as well as pet /equine stores we stock … A little in the water preventing bacteria from multiplying which in this heat – water drinkers can be almost perfect environment for bacteria production, the addition of a little garlic only further helps heighten your birds immunity to a whole host of issues especially respiratory
How can you tell if your birds are suffering from the heat
A change their normal behavior.
● Move away from other birds.
● Move against cooler surfaces, such as the block walls or into moving air streams.
● Lift their wings away from their bodies to reduce insulation and expose any areas of skin that have no feathers.
● Elect to pant slowly.
● Rest to reduce heat generated by activity.
● Reduce feed intake.
● Increase water consumption.
● Divert blood from internal organs to the skin, which darkens skin color.
● Begin fast panting.
So please ensure that your chicken house is well ventilated with a good air flow . That areas of your chicken run has shade shelter, they have an area to dust bath in plus a plentiful supply of water. A temporary structure such as a sun umbrella Treats such as grapes are great in this weather and the addition of a water sprinkler in the garden seems to be popular with chickens as well as ducks ..