How to Identify a Dehydrated Chicken
We are in a heat wave here…along with most of the country. It’s mid July and there’s no break in sight. As you know, a chicken’s feathers act like a winter coat. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine wearing a winter coat in this heat! Along with their feathers, chickens don’t have sweat glands. This combination can provide the perfect storm for your chickens to overheat. Once they overheat, chickens can go downhill really fast. According to Chicken Scratch, in hot climates chickens will begin to die within 12 hours if they do not have access to water. Yikes! I cannot stress this enough. Chickens need fresh, cold water at all times!
Signs of a Dehydrated Chicken
Signs of a dehydrated chicken can look a lot like a chicken who’s hot, but not necessarily dehydrated. In both situations they will pant, have their wings spread out from their body in hopes to get some air moving through their feathers, and will slow down in the activity department. There will be a couple factors that set a dehydrated chicken apart. A dehydrated chicken will have those signs as well as lethargy, weight loss, pale comb and wattle, and diarrhea. Heat stress is no joke, but chickens can also get dehydrated in the frigid winter temps as well.
Dehydration in chickens can cause a whole host of problems. The biggest problem, of course, is death. Dehydrated chickens can take some time to bounce back. They will slow down in their egg production and possibly have some respiratory and digestive system issues. These are all things we can avoid, but taking proper care of our flocks.
How to Help a Dehydrated Chicken
What should you do if you suspect a dehydrated chicken? Act fast! Sometimes, chickens may not be hot or cold, but will have a digestive issue that causes diarrhea. You will have to determine the “why”. Once you figure that out, decide whether you need to adjust the birds environment, temperature, and/or separate them from the flock if needed.
To help a dehydrated chicken, dip their beak into water that’s mixed with Flock Fixer. Flock Fixer is a powerhouse supplement for your chickens that contains electrolytes (a must for dehydration), organic oregano essential oil, and prebiotics and probiotics to support their digestive system. I use Flock Fixer whenever the chickens may be experiencing stress whether it's extreme temperature changes, cleaning their coop or adding new chicks to the flock. One scoop in one gallon of water and you’re ready to go!
Strong Animals Chicken Essentials also carries electrolyte + vitamin packets for a quick boost. One packet to one gallon of water is the perfect combination to get your flock rehydrated.
My chickens are like family. We love to spend time out in the coop watching all their personalities. Keeping our chickens hydrated is not hard to do when you have a good water source and Strong Animals products on hand. Because of this, I’ve never had any trouble with dehydration.
I hope you and your flocks are weathering this heat! I’m choosing to embrace it, because I know that where we live, the white stuff will be flying before we know it!
Until Next Time,
–The Wing Lady