Pant­ing hens

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

Q In some of the hot weather we oc­ca­sion­ally had last sum­mer, one of my hens was pant­ing a lot. I read that hens can­not pant – she cer­tainly was! Is this a prob­lem? A Vic­to­ria says: The in­su­la­tion fac­tor of feath­ers is high, so that if hens are in hot con­di­tions, they will be­gin to over­heat (nor­mal tem­per­a­ture is 40-42°C) quickly. How they cope with this is a hus­bandry is­sue as they will first seek shade, then hold their wings away from their body to let air cir­cu­late; the comb and si­nus area has ar­ter­ies and veins run­ning side by side so that the blood is cooled, then if this is not enough, they do in­deed pant to lose heat. The hen hut needs check­ing for good ventilation, mesh on both sides at the top of the hut is the best with the pos­si­bil­ity of more mesh in the side which can be left open at night. Make sure that the mesh is the small square type as this is strong enough to re­pel preda­tors.

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