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Heat Stress

During hot and humid weather conditions, chickens are especially sensitive and are at risk of overheating. Since chickens have a high body temperature and no sweat glands, they rely on panting to release heat from their body. Without relief from the heat, birds will often tire with heat exhaustion.
When chickens pant excessively, it increases their respiratory rate that impacts their egg laying cycle. This is due to the amount of ionized calcium in their bodies.

There are several things you can do to help prevent your chickens from overheating.
  • Always provide fresh, cool and clean water to all flock members: Position waterers in the shade, add ice, refill with cool water, and check often.
  • Provide multiple shade areas: There should be enough shade area throughout all times of the day, for each member of the flock to get out of the sun.
  • Ensure good ventilation: Chickens that are in poorly ventilated areas are at a heightened risk of heat stress as it blocks air flow.
  • Keep air moving: Provide fans and/or position the chicken's outside enclosure in such a way as to maximize wind exposure and good airflow. Alternatively, remove items that may be blocking air flow, such as trimming shrubs and trees, or relocating other structures to a different area.

Clinical Signs

Increased thirst
Reduced egg production
Raised wings
Reduced feed intake
Watery droppings


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Necropsy


ManagementMaximize air flow and ventilation and do not overcrowd chickens.
FansProvide fans with or without misting ability
Ice cube snacksCan be a refreshing treat during hot days
Cooling perchesProvide for chickens to keep coolStrong RA et al., 2015
Boldo (Peumus boldus molina) extractAdded to drinking water source at a dose of 1 g boldo leaf extract/4 L waterAbo Ghanima, Mahmoud M., et al., 2020
Moringa oleifera seed powder0.3% added to feedAbou-Elkhair, Reham et al., 2020
ProbioticsAdded to dietAbd El-Hack, Mohamed E et al., 2020
Lemon verbena powderAdded to feed at a dose of 0.5 to 1.0%Rafiee, F et al., 2016
Vitamin C250 mg/kg added to feedRafiee, F et al., 2016
Vitamin E200 IU kg-1 added to dietGouda, Ahmed et al., 2020
Gingseng extractAdded to feedSandner, Georg et al., 2020
CurcuminAdded to feedNawab, Aamir et al., 2020
Milk thistle extractDietary supplementation at the rate of 15 g/kgAhmad, Munib et al., 2019
ResveratrolAdded to dietHe, Shaoping et al., 2019
BetaineAdded to diet , at 1000 mg/kg feedAttia, Youssef A et al., 2019



  • Build coops with plenty of airflow by ensuring proper ventilation
  • Line coop walls with insulating material and paint exterior walls with white or light-colored paint to better reflect heat
  • Feed in the evenings or early morning when its cooler
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Antioxidants
  • Don't overcrowd birds.

Scientific References

Good Overviews

Risk Factors

  • Hot weather
  • High humidity levels
  • Poor ventilation or air flow
  • Living in tropical or subtropical regions
  • Not providing multiple areas of shade
  • Overcrowding



Also Consider