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Vegas heat & chickens

 
Amber Parry
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I, unfortunately, live in Las Vegas & am in the process of building a chicken coop. I'm trying to figure out the best chickens for this heat. Any thoughts? It's not a huge space, but should do for about 3-5 chickens.
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I'm not up to speed on chicken breeds but I'd be thinking carefully about planting shade trees for them - anything to keep them cool. Creepers over some kind of arbor could work well, especially if you can yeild some kind of crop like grapes.
 
John Elliott
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Any breed that doesn't have extra feathers for the cold should be OK.

What will be more of a help is to think how to include evaporative cooling in the design of your coop. This includes making sure it gets lots of shade during mid-day, there is plenty of airflow and places for rising heat to escape, and some way that water can drip onto the coop and evaporate. You may want to think about a version of a patio misting system to put above the coop.
 
Amber Parry
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Thanks. I really appreciate it. It's hard here to do anything like this.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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In that environment, I would be looking for breeds with large combs.
Chickens use their combs to vent heat away from themselves.
(People in cold winter regions look for breeds with small combs due to the frostbite problems.)

Chickens do not normally prosper much above 95* F
Their coop should be extremely airy - with a good cross flow of ventilation.
A turbine vent at the highest point should help venting the heat out, and sucking fresh air in.

For part of the shade, a large piece of burlap could be used. If the bottom of the burlap is immersed in a trough of water, the water will wick up towards the top. This will give you a swamp-cooler effect.

(If you have a dark colored car, you can fry the eggs right on the hood. lol )

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Hi Amber!

I'm in Phoenix so we have similar "issues" with heat.

Here are the things I've done:
--Make sure there's lots of airflow
--Make sure there's shade and lots of it in the hot season(s) - this could be a tree (like a mulberry which would drop fruit into the hen yard) or vines, or shade cloth or a combination of all of the above.
--In the summer time, I do have a mister system and a fan going. However, I find that this wastes water BUT I want my hens to be comfy. So during the very hottest time of the year, I let them roam the backyard. They will do their foraging early in the morning and then find the coolest spot for themselves for the heat of the day. Usually this is under my densely planted urban orchard that's planted in a swale. And sometimes it's on the back patio because they can look in at me in the office through the back door. I put frozen 2 litre bottles of water out on the patio for them. I prop the bottom up on a brick and open the top. The water slowly melts throughout the day. They enjoy drinking the cold water as well as standing (and pooping) in the puddles that form.
--This year, I may try building this tiny swamp cooler for them

 
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