First Aid for the Overheated Chicken
We had a heat wave this past week that lead to the death of two of our prized hens and the over heating of another. We had taken many precautions but it just didn’t help in this case, we had temperature highs of 122, 119 and 114 degrees. Really interesting thing is that on the 122 degree day everyone was happy healthy and we were blessed with 16 eggs. However Friday when it was 119 it was a different story. I went out to run some errands and when I returned I let the girls out. Everyone looked fine but hot and that is normal for our summers. When we came out to feed in the evening two of the girls had crammed themselves up against the cooler bucket and were deceased. The next day, Saturday, we went to pick up our feed order and when we came home to let the girls out Husband found Twiggy Chicken passed out. I was doing dishes when he came running up with what I thought was another dead bird. Much to my amazement she opened her little eye. The following is what I did to bring twiggy back from the brink of death. If you ever have an overheated chicken I suggest you do this too.
Remember that time is of the essence you have act as quickly as possible. That being said you don’t want to cool her off to quickly and trap the heat in her body or send her into shock.
- Start with submerging the chicken in lukewarm water. You want to slowly bring the temperature up so gradually let the water get cooler. (Twiggy continued to awaken and then pass out through out this.)
- If the chicken is awake try lightly running water over her face and beak to cool off her head and see if she will drink the water.
- Once the chicken starts to come around and her body feels like it is cooling down take her out of the water. (I laid Twiggy on a towel on the floor of the dining room. Making sure she wasn’t directly under a ac vent)
- Try getting the chicken to set up and lift her wings away from her body. This is naturally how chickens cool off. (I held twiggy chicken like that until she had completely came around and tried to pull her wings away from me.)
- You need to get fluids into the chicken. If you are knowledgeable and have the supplies you can use IV fluids to do a sub-q injection, or force fluids into their mouth. (I forced fluids with a syringe into her beak and let her drink it down until she fought me. I did this again later in the afternoon)
- Consider keeping the chicken in the house until they have fully recovered from the ordeal. (I set Twiggy up in Reagan’s crate in the Laundry room. She need 5 days to recover.)
Today I put her out and she did just fine. I am keeping an eye on her off and on so that if she gets into trouble again I can act quickly. Here is a video of her being released back into Chicken Society. Rembrandt was very happy to have her back and followed her around for about an hour.
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