Friday, May 26, 2017

Heat Stroke in Chickens

It's getting hot here in South Georgia. The heat is sticky, making everything including your clothes feel as if they're stuck to your body. 
So it's no surprise that these feathered babies are getting a little hot too. 

Okay, so before I tell you what happened, let me begin with why I was there... 

**We changed the locks on our house**

7:00 AM yesterday- The farmer tells me, "Adrian, I left the new key on your key chain." I mumble "okay" and then roll over.
4:00 PM- I come home from work and realize that the key is no where to be found on my key chain.

*RING, RING*

"Hey Sweetie!" "Kevin, didn't you tell me that you put the new key on my key chain?" "No, it's on your key THING." "Oh." "You're locked out, huh?" "Yup." "Well, I won't be home till about 7:00." "It's okay. I'll just sit out here and smolder to ash while I sit in the sun, it's fine."

>>10 minutes later<<

I'm sitting in the chicken coop and I notice that one chicken is huddled in the corner of the coop so I go get him and something isn't right. Something is seriously wrong. His feathers are fluffed out, he is acting lethargic and he can't stand or walk. I stood him up and he stumbled around like a drunkard then plopped back down.

I immediately began to think, "What could be causing this?" He was acting like he may be trying to cool himself off with his feathers spread like they were. "What if this chicken was having a heat stroke?"  I ran and grabbed my phone and looked up the symptoms of heat stroke in chickens.

THE SYMPTOMS: 

Panting

Wings held from body

Not Eating or Drinking

Diarrhea

Droopy acting - Lethargic

It will seem disinterested

Seizures

Death

WHAT TO DO: 

  1. Cool down the bird. Place them in cool (NOT FREEZING) water. Rub it into their feathers, under the wings, and on the head. 
  2. Try to get them to drink water. You can put electrolytes in the water if you have them. Pedialyte is good for this! 
  3. Keep them away from the other birds until they're acting normal again. Keep them in a shady, breezy area. 
So what happened to my chicken? 

I placed him in the cool water and he seemed to be doing better. He was drinking a little bit of water and seemed to actually be getting a little cold, he started shivering so I took him out and sat him on a towel that I just happened to have in the trunk of my car. I couldn't take him inside because I was locked out so I sat there on the towel with him. Then I was holding him and his head tilted back. I thought it was strange so I just kept an eye on him. He did it again and ended up having a seizure. I placed him on the ground and he took his last breath with the last of the seizure. 

It was heartbreaking. I began reading where others had similar experiences with heat strokes and the only way to really prevent any of this from happening to your flock is by prevention. Make sure your feathered friends have plenty of: 
Water
and
Shade 

I got all my facts from Raising Happy Chickens, the advice she gives is great. I wish it could've worked out differently for my baby but I think I got to her too late. 😢

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