We have had a number of calls from turkey keepers concerned about heat stress in their turkey flock, and with the recent ‘very hot days’ it can be a problem. But do remember it is the hot sultry nights in the hen house that can cause most problems, and particularly so if it is overstocked and unventilated.
Below are just a few simple pointers which I hope help:
- Shade is essential and your poultry must have somewhere they can get out of the sun, and this can be provided by simply placing a sheet over part of their run or somewhere within a pen.
- Adequate airflow within the coop itself is essential on hot nights, and this can be easily achieved by opening windows and roof vents to allow the hot air to escape.
- Replacing solid coop doors with mesh doors will significantly improve ventilation. But do be careful to ensure the safety and security of your poultry is not compromised when creating a cooler environment for them.
- Fans can significantly improve air circulation and ventilation within a coop, but do be careful to ensure it doesn’t cause a hazard within the coop.
- Mist sprays work well and in our experience our poultry enjoy them. However, we recognize that ‘misting’ cannot be provided by all poultry keepers.
- Dust baths will certainly help keep your poultry cool, and do add diatomaceous earth as this will deter red mite that thrives in hot weather.
- Clean, fresh water is an essential provision for poultry at any time of the year, but it is important to understand that to keep cool they will drink twice as much in hot weather.
- Frozen ‘ice packs’ in drinkers will help keep their water cool, and in really hot weather these should be provided throughout the day.
- Cool fruit such as watermelon is beneficial at any time, and particularly so in a heatwave. Some poultry keepers give frozen sweetcorn or peas in an effort to help their poultry to keep cool.