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Egg production in hot temperatures.
My wife commented on the slow down in egg production the other day. I started to look into it and find out what was wrong. They get proper food and water, and there has been no change to their environment. Then it dawned on me
It has hit over 100 degrees everyday for a little while now, so I thought, its got to be the heat. Egg production will drop at such a high temperature, usually 95 and up is where you will notice a drop in egg production. That being said not all birds will drop in production, but most birds will be some what affected by the heat. I have also noticed a decrease in feed consumption, I am sure this is due to the heat and plays a part in the lack of eggs.
Now that I have identified the issue, what can I do about it? Well, the first thing would be lots of water. Make sure that the water is clean, and also take efforts to give access to cold water. An easy way to provide cold water would be to toss some ice in the chickens water. The ice will melt after a few hours, so you might want to make an ice chest waterer of some sort. You can also keep the ice longer,if you use bigger blocks of ice instead of smaller ice cubes. I recommend using spent butter tubs to make your own ice blocks in your freezer.
Another way to relive heat, is proper ventilation. Remember that heat rises, so be sure to have some vent holes for the heat to escape your coop. If you don’t have any ventilation you can add some with a hole saw, and a drill. Just drill out some holes in an area that will let air out, and not let water in when it storms. You don’t want to have a coop full of water.
If the chicken coop is still too hot, consider making your self a solar exhaust fan. Find your self a low draw fan and a small solar panel, and then hook them together. You could save some time and effort by purchasing a pre-made unit like the one in this link. You don’t need a battery because it only needs to work in the hot parts of the day, and that is while the sun is out.
Make sure that your chickens live in an area that has lots of shade cover. The chickens will need access to shade in all parts of the day not just morning or afternoon but both would be ideal. If you don’t have any natural shade such as trees, then consider building them some canopies. Think of how nice it is for you to take a break in the shade on a hot day, it is just as nice for your birds.