Although the ideal temperature for most chickens is between roughly between 40 and 80F (from my experience), most chickens are pretty heat hardy up to 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit for at least a short period of time (largely depending on breed, of course)…
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 and Fayoumis) do well in warmer climates. Additionally, some breeds are not very hardy either ways and do best in more neutral climates (like Naked Chickens) while others are pretty hardy both ways (such as Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Rocks).
Although healthy chickens are pretty tolerant in most types of weather, you should keep an eye on your chickens for signs of overheating if the temperature rises to 90F or above… 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
- 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!