Although the ideal temperature for most chickens is between 40 and 80F, most chickens are pretty heat hardy up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit for at least a short period of time…
Chickens naturally loose their temperature hardiness as they age so keeping birds that are advanced in years (three years or more) cool during the hottest parts of the year is important. The breed selection also plays a key role in heat resistance because some breeds do well in colder climates (like Chanteclers) and others (like Catalanas) lean more towards hotter climates. Some breeds are not very hardy either ways and do best in more neutral climates.
Although healthy chickens are pretty tolerable in most types of weather, you should keep an eye on your chickens for signs of overheating if the temperature rises above 90F… Particularly if it does so for extended periods of time.
Signs/Symptoms of Overheating:
- excessive panting
- wings extended from body
- drooping wings
- pale skin
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- general fatigue
- lack of enthusiasm for normal chicken activities
- drop in egg production (for hens)
- diarrhea/irregular/runny droppings
If your chickens are overheated or you are concerned that your birds are not coping with the heat well, please visit my other article on ways to help your chickens stay cool: Easy Ways to Help your Chickens Beat the Heat!
Above: Beep, a Silkie mixed breed, in the shade, underneath a bench.