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.