If you live in an environment that is hot, you already know that you sweating helps keep you cool. This is with the help of sweat glands that humans have. Besides humans, sweat glands are found on most animals. As for chickens, you may wonder if they are one of the animals that have sweat glands.
No, chickens do not have sweat glands. They regulate their body temperature by using the heat from their own wings or by standing in an area where there is a lot of sunlight.
Why Do Chickens Release Body Heat?
There are two main reasons why chickens release excess body heat. One is the process of regulating their body temperature.
The process of regulating their body temperature takes place through a process called thermogenesis. This is when the chicken’s metabolism heats up and breaks down food into usable energy. This process also aids in controlling the release of excess body heat because it will be burnt off during this time as well as conserved by their feathers and fur which will keep them warm as well as dry.
The second reason for releasing excess body heat is because they want to look bigger in order to scare away predators and scavengers. Chickens can grow up to 18 inches tall, but will often puff out their feathers to make themselves be bigger and look more aggressive.
How Does Chicken Release Excess Body Heat?
The layer of feathers that cover the chicken’s skin does a good job to keep the heat in, so they need a way to release it.
The uropygial gland is also called a preen gland. It produces an oily substance that keeps the bird’s feathers and skin healthy by reducing water loss and increasing insulation. The gland consists of a sac, which secretes an oily substance, called preen oil, through pores in the skin or feathers. This oil is then spread over both surfaces of the feather and skin with each stroke of the bird’s wing or tail.
In addition, preen oil is used to cool off the chicken’s skin by coating it.
Signs Your Chicken Is Suffering From Heat Stress
It is important to know the signs of heat stress in chickens. Chickens can suffer from heat stress if they are not given enough shade, if they do not have enough water and if they are not fed properly. Heat stress can also be caused by being in a hot and humid environment for too long.
Signs your chicken might be suffering from heat stress are:
- It tries to preen itself constantly to cool down
- Its comb turns red or dark pink
- The droppings turn black or grey
- It becomes lethargic and immobile
- It starts panting excessively with an open mouth
- Reduced egg production
- Frequent drinking
- Weight loss
How to Treat and Prevent Heat Stress in Chickens
Heat stress is a condition that can cause chickens to die. It is a common problem in the summer months and it usually occurs when the temperature of the air is high. Chickens are susceptible to heat stress because they have no sweat glands and their respiratory system cannot release heat as fast as humans do.
Heat stress can be treated by providing plenty of water, shade, and cool areas for the chickens to rest in. There are also specific medications that can be used to treat heat stress in chickens if it’s severe.
Below are some of the ways in which you can help treat and prevent heat stress in chickens:
The Air Flow
Heat stress can be prevented by providing adequate airflow around the chickens. The air they breathe should be between 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit, anything higher is too hot.
The Placement of the Pen
The placement of the pen can have a significant impact on how well chickens are able to regulate their body temperature.
Placing the pen near a wall or other cool surface will help the chickens to stay cool and reduce heat stress.
To prevent heat stress in chickens, provide shade. Make sure that the chickens are not exposed to direct sunlight.
Provide shade for the chickens by placing your hand under their wings or by placing them in a shady area. Some people recommend that you should build a shaded pen around the coop to provide the birds with more protection against heat stress.
Provide Plenty of Water
The most important thing is to provide plenty of water for the chickens. This will help them cool down and also prevent dehydration. Chickens should also be given shade or a fan to prevent excessive heat exposure.
How do chickens keep cool?
Chickens have a unique way of keeping cool. With their temperature-sensitive feathers and air sacs in their legs, they can also adjust their body temperatures according to the ambient temperature around them.
The blood vessels in chickens have a unique way of cooling down by absorbing heat energy from the air around them. This is achieved through an intricate structure of microscopic blood vessels that connect with each other across the surface area of the chicken’s body.
Should My Chickens Be Panting?
The answer to this question is not so simple. The decision to keep chickens in your backyard depends on a number of factors, including the type of chicken you are keeping and your backyard space.
Panting is an instinctive sound chickens make when they feel stressed or scared, for example, if their coop has been moved or if they have been squeezed into too small a space.
Many people may assume that the noise is just “chicken noise” and unnecessary to worry about. However, panting can be a sign of some serious health problems like heat exhaustion, fowl typhoid, or lead poisoning.
In the summer, when you’re in a hot place, your body starts to sweat. The sweat evaporates from your skin and cools off your body.
Unfortunately, chickens don’t have sweat glands that can help keep them cool. They depend on air flowing over their feathers to cool themselves off. And in heat, they can’t do that very well because it’s hot and humid outside and their feathers stick together and get wet. They need to be placed under shades to help cool them down.