While we were on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, we saw dozens and dozens of chickens everywhere we went, frolicking in the balmy weather just as we did in our t-shirts and shorts. I’ll probably do a whole separate post on those chickens, who are a hoot in their own right, but that whole experience was misleading with regard to how chickens actually like their weather.
You can read more at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service about the temperatures where chickens start feeling poorly (and egg production sinks) but the basic sweet spot for chickens is where humans live – 65-75 degrees Farenheit. Above that temperature, chickens suffer because unlike us humans – they can’t sweat. When they get too hot, pant like dogs to get rid of heat, and it’s just not as efficient as our system.
Climate change has made summers in Seattle quite variable and in 2009 we reached the high 90s and at least one point 100 degrees. Jason feared for the chickens as did I, so he moved them to the side of the yard where the house and shrubs blocked light and then ran an outdoor extension cord and fan straight down the Eglu. You can see he also kept the water dishes very full, and he tried different fan arrangements.
Chickens don’t like eating in wind tunnels but they did all survive the heat wave.