Heat Exhaustion

We had three of the meat chickens die of heat exhaustion yesterday. They had water,  they had shelter but I was off the property for a few hours buying supplies, then we treated ourselves to lunch and did not see them go down. cows

By the time we had got home the wind had turned and was blowing hard and hot from a different direction, gale force hard and I think the fat chickens just got too hot and as they are coming to the end of their time they are a bit hefty.   They have a moving wall that shields them from the wind but I was not here to shift it in time.

Immediately the girls and I dragged the cage further in under the tree, moved their wall, put ice into their water, actually standing the worst of them in the cold water for a minute, put electrolytes into their drinking water and they were all ok an hour or so later, except for the three who had already succumbed.


Everyone else was fine, the turkeys, who are also in a chicken tractor, were standing in their water when we got home.  And they are not known for sensible behaviour.  The pigs had their wallows and the cows were loitering under trees.  (I took these few shots in the last of the daylight yesterday after it had started to cool down).

I am trying to think what we have learnt from this except not to go out for lunch!  I have raised hundreds of chickens for the freezers and never had this happen. A combination of bad luck and bad timing. pig

The little pigs are finally allowed out in their garden with a mud puddle. They are a very happy bunch especially when they found a hidden cat toy! Poor Egoli moved fast!


I hope you have a lovely day.




37 Comments on “Heat Exhaustion

  1. Could you ‘recycle’ the chook carcasses usefully, or had they been dead too long? The plonkers are sleek and chunky, they’re doing a lovely job of fattening the Farmy way. How does Alex cope with her heavier coat. Lady A looks positively satiny by comparison, it must be cooler in the heat…

  2. Run Egoli run 🙂 Sorry about the chooks, but glad you are warm at last. Laura

  3. As you said, meat birds are delicate; sometimes there isn’t anything to do. You do have to eat and sleep.

  4. Oh that iS sad but it could have been a lot worse……

  5. The cat-toy looks irritated for being found out in the patch. It was probably in the midst of a creature stalk when it was rudely interrupted by the thundering herd.

  6. Live and learn. I have seen a turtle drown who got stuck to a filter it had lived with all of its life. These things happen. I’m sorry you lost some chickens.

  7. Egoli thought he had a hiding spot but obviously your piggies were smart enough to root him out! Sorry about the chooks—I think it was just one of those bad timing things and they probably are not the smartest creatures in your barnyard either. Don’t beat yourself up about it—it is all part of your farming experience good and bad, right?

  8. So strange isn’t it…just a few days ago the posts were about the awful cold and how it had to go. Well, it has gone. Replaced by its evil twin, the horrible hot. Such are life and nature.

  9. wow amazing how fast the weather changed- sad for your chooks….but not your fault- love your piggy pics!

  10. That wind has been here for days and days. I was hoping it would move on but no luck yet. It will be here until all the snow is melted in the mountains. Sure makes for a fast melt, but wearing on the nerves.

    I had to laugh at that poor kiity’s face!


  11. I’m so sorry you lost the chickens to the heat. The weather has just been so unpredictable but you can’t be there all the time. We are cold one day, too hot the next. Loved all the photos, especially the cat. I’m sure he can take care of himself but he did look unhappy about being disturbed. 🙂 Have a wonderfilled day too.

  12. Glad your loss was only 3, but it’s a kick in the shin when they were almost ready to harvest. I hope the rest of the day was more rewarding.

  13. Oh I’m sorry to hear about the meat chickens. I remember reading an essay or short story I think by Sherwood Anderson how delicate chickens are. Our weather–yours and mine–has been just terrible for flowers, that is for sure. My Gerbera daisies aren’t doing well at all. Ive lugged them in and out of the house for at least 3 weeks now. Today it’s supposed to be 90! Too hot for them.

  14. Sorry to hear about the loss of your chickens. Bad luck.
    It’s not too hot here yet but not enough rain > almost drought -like conditions already!
    Love your blogs

  15. I love the idea of the piggy garden! What do you have growing in there? How long did it take to grow, and how long will it take to recover?

  16. It stinks when these things happen while your back is turned, so to speak. We had a hen who got her head stuck in a feeder and die and we were right there. We plant trees over our fallen fowl! Somehow your description of it all made me feel all prickly and hot – those cool green leaves in the photos made me feel better!

  17. I had no idea chickens were so fragile. And to think we just had snow. But it is nice to hear that hot air is coming my way.

  18. Land and animals. You can not turn your back. Bad things happen when you don’t watch. This is a great post as it ties into this week’s theme for me, ‘sentinels’. Thanks

  19. Unfortuhate about the chickens. Hard to be everywhere, and there are no foolproof plans… as Egoli discovered.

  20. Chickens are very smart, are they? At least I’ve found them to not be too smart. As I mentioned before, the Rhode Island Reds we had still had some sense of Chicken Intelligence…. but the white ones…. they had had all the Chicken Intelligence bred out of them. My husband’s cousins raised meat chickens for a while in Quebec and they tell a story of having to go home one time because it was raining… and the chickens wouldn’t have know enough to come in from the rain. Actually, that’s an old folk tale that seems to be true. Do you think the turkeys may have been standing in the water to cool off?? ; o )

  21. Alex swishing her tail caught my eye in the first photo.

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