How to Treat Heat Stroke?

by Karen
(AZ)

Temperatures where I live have reached 43 degrees and my chickens are suffering. They're panting and not moving.

I've read that if I have a chicken suffering with the heat, I should dunk her completely head to toe in a bath of ice cold water. Is this right?

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Treating heat exhaustion.
by: Cath

The short answer to that is "no". Completely submerging a chicken in ice is likely to cause her to go into shock, from which she can die.

The right thing to do is to have patience, and cool her down slowly. 

1. Make sure you know the signs of heat exhaustion in chickens - it's always better to prevent than to need to cure. There’s a detailed article about this, here.

2. Stand the hen in a bowl of cold (not iced) water about two or three inches deep. Always supervise her - hens with heatstroke will often be very wobbly on their feet. You don't want her to drown.

3. Spraying lightly, particularly under the wings (using a plant spray bottle, or placing her under a mister system, if you have one) can help reduce her overall temperature. There's more about misters here.

4. If she's still distressed and panting, soak an old towel or shirt in cold water and wrap her in it, 

5. Encourage her to drink water with electrolytes added (see this page). If she won't drink naturally from a bowl, use a dropper, but be careful to give only a tiny bit at a time.

Hope that helps - stay safe!

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