Finding the right breed of chicken for your climate is an excellent way to make life easier on you and your chickens.
Every breed has pros and cons, and the Cochin is no exception.
Cochin chickens are not heat tolerant and need serious help to stay cool if you raise them in a hot climate, specifically when it’s 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C) or higher several days in a row. Being 7-9 pounds with dense feathering helps them immensely when it gets cold outside.
But these qualities work against the Cochin in hotter temperatures, which is why they exhibit heat sensitivity.
We have plenty of recommendations for helping your birds with low heat tolerance make it through the summer months.
Keep reading to learn our tips for helping your flock of chickens survive the summer heat and discover similar birds to Cochins, who do better in high temperatures.
Raising Cochin Chickens in a Warm Climate
It is true Cochin hens are far from heat resistant.
However, if you have the determination and the resources, raising them in hotter climates is not impossible.
You must remember how warmer temperatures affect them and work to keep your gentle birds cool.
Cochin hens are big, often growing to be 8-9 pounds, which is why they are commonly used as dual-purpose birds.
Further Reading: Detailed pros and cons of Cochin chickens
They also have fluffy feathers and tight feathering, which help protect them in the winter when they need to survive cold temperatures.
Both these traits are detrimental in hotter temperatures.
So, how do we keep our Cochins cool in the summer?
Here are our tips for helping your sensational birds stay cool when temperatures rise:
- Provide plenty of cool water
- Make shade available
- Monitor and maintain coop temperatures
- Dirt baths
This is a rather obvious tip, but necessary, nonetheless.
All your chickens, not just your Cochins, need access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day in the summertime.
As a Cochin chicken keeper, it is crucial to keep an eye on your birds’ water and ensure it does not go dry or get too warm.
Drinking cool water is a way for Cochin hens to keep their body heat under control and avoid serious health complications from becoming overheated.
So, as basic as this might sound, keep it in mind.
Further Reading: Are Cochin Chickens Cold Tolerant?
This is another summertime staple for backyard chicken keepers.
Keeping shade available is especially helpful to your largest chicken breeds because they need help regulating their body temperature.
If your chicken coop is placed well in your backyard, your chicken yard may get plenty of shade.
If not, consider finding another way to include a shaded area in your birds’ pasture.
The temporary escape from the sun’s rays and the sweltering heat is a bigger help than you know for your active birds!
Chicken Coop Temperatures
I still remember when my mother brought home a thermometer for our chicken coop when I was a kid.
We had recently lost a couple of layers to intense heat thanks to an unusually warm New England summer.
The thermometer was a game changer.
When it was especially hot in the coop, we closed the door to keep the chickens outside and opened the outer door to increase airflow.
In cold climates, having a thermometer is certainly helpful as well.
But when you are raising Cochin hens, the summer heat is a bigger risk to your healthy chickens.
If you do not already have one, we recommend purchasing a simple thermometer for your chicken coop.
Here’s one we like on Amazon.
The display is easy to read, and it monitors humidity levels as well as temperatures.
The humidity measure is a huge bonus when raising Cochin hens, as these girls are especially prone to sickness and misery when their feathers get damp.
Getting a thermometer is just step one.
We highly recommend you make a solid plan for what you will do to cool the coop down when the temperature inside gets too high.
Keeping your chickens outside for a while to air out the coop is a good start. But consider taking it a step further.
Solar-powered fans are a great way to regulate temperatures in your chicken coop or barn. However, they are sometimes very expensive.
Small ones, such as this one on Amazon, are more affordable.
Some recommend cooling fans with mist, but the water would not be good for your Cochins.
Like any other animal, chickens take measures to keep themselves cool without human help.
One of the classic tactics they use is taking dirt baths.
This helps them keep their feathers and bodies dry and cool when high humidity and temperatures are elevated.
You do not need to do anything to help your chickens with this process except give them access to dirt.
Our chicken yard always had a nice shady clearing where the birds loved to take dirt baths.
If possible, finding a spot where your birds will have access to shade and be able to take dirt baths is ideal.
Heat Tolerant Chickens
We understand these measures are not practical for everybody.
Whether you are lacking in space, in funds, or simply in the motivation to take all these steps, it’s okay!
There are plenty of birds with similar traits to the Cochin chicken who tolerate hot temperatures better.
They will still need cool water and shade in extreme heat.
But you don’t necessarily need to monitor the temperatures so closely for these birdies.
- Rhode Island Reds
All three of these chicken breeds are strong layers, and two of them are similar to the Cochin in body type.
Buff Orpingtons and Brahmas are both large chickens with relatively dense feathering. However, they tolerate hotter climates and colder climates alike.
The Rhode Island Red is an immaculate layer and a more average-sized bird.
She thrives in the winter months and summer heat alike.
With these birds, the risk of succumbing to a hot environment is much lower.
However, they share many other traits with the Cochin chicken, making them a great alternative for anyone looking to raise chicks in extreme heat.
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