Keep Those Waterers in the Shade

We had a few hot days in a row, and Karen noticed that the broilers looked pretty stressed. It reminded us that modern hybrid broilers don’t like sunshine on hot days and often won’t leave the shade, even to drink. They can actually die of heat stress because of this.

Karen gently hosed down the birds to cool them off, and they recovered almost instantly.

The fix is to make sure every broiler pen has at least one waterer in the shade. In most pen designs, this means having a waterer at the back of the pen. We always use two waterers per pen in case one fails, and now we’ve got one in the front and one in the back.

This reluctance to leave the shade is most pronounced with modern hybrid meat chickens. Other types are less reluctant to go out in the noonday sun. My hens have waterers smack in the middle of the pasture with no shade at all, and they don’t hesitate to go there for a drink at high noon. Still, hens like shade. People sometimes complain that, when they see a free-range flock, the hens aren’t scattered decorously across the pasture, but are hanging around the henhouse. If the critics came back near sunrise or sunset, it would be a different story.

I Publish Books! Norton Creek Press

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

1 thought on “Keep Those Waterers in the Shade”

  1. Timely! But about the same time some of the grapes started dropping, so did egg production. Coincidence? Or is there something in grapes that chickens shouldn’t have?

    It’s not a coincidence, exactly: egg production is seasonal, peaking in the spring. During harvest season, it’s dropping fast, and will keep dropping until sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day. So both the drop in egg production and your grape harvest are tied to the season.

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