Nearly lost Basil yesterday

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chrismahon
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Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by chrismahon »

Basil is a 5 year old Buff Orpington cock. Built to show standards unfortunately, this means he is as wide as he is long and weighs in at 6Kg. This also means he has very poor tolerance to heat and yesterday it hit 39C in the shade. Having given him extra drinking water and stood his feet in water he clearly wasn't getting better so was taken inside to 26C. He doesn't like going inside and as a result he just sat on the cold floor and didn't eat or drink.

Several hours later and he was taken back out as it was getting cooler. In the meantime we were distracted and didn't join him in the Orchard until half an hour later. The timing was so lucky! As we arrived at the enclosure Rosie noticed Basil in the run was purple. He was choking and couldn't breathe. She quickly picked him out and started massaging his neck after a few moments he coughed and swallowed and began to turn back to a normal colour.

Seems he was so hungry he just stood and ate and ate without pausing to drink. The result was the pellets stuck in a large ball in his throat which must have been blocking his airway. So he's still with us very fortunately and it's far too hot and dry here to be digging a hole!
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Marigold
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by Marigold »

Whew, what a terrible experience, for him as well as you! Glad he's still with you.
Have you still got Bottom, Chris?
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BabyBantam
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by BabyBantam »

Poor boy :(
Well saved Rosie :)
chickenfan
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by chickenfan »

Poor Basil. It must be like wearing a huge duvet being an Orpington in all that heat. So glad Rosie managed to save him.
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chrismahon
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by chrismahon »

Bottom is still with us and asleep on the kitchen floor at the moment Marigold. He also suffers from the heat, I think mainly because he is so old now he can't regulate his body temperature very well. He only goes outside in the mornings and evenings now. All the Orpingtons suffer from the heat though, including the three French hens we have bought locally. The only one coping with it is Charity, because she isn't carrying much weight after her protracted illness. The Marans are suffering and even the Leghorns have been panting.

Yesterday was the last of the exceptionally hot days for a while. The last Summer heat wave they had here was 2012 and the death toll in the under 12's and over 65's is already double that, so this is a particularly hot one with records being set all over France. Whilst we were at 39C further Northeast they hit 41.4C. Our local breeder lost 8 Orpington cocks to the heat a few weeks ago and they were in a stone barn with a big fan and water sprayed.
MrsBiscuit
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by MrsBiscuit »

Gosh, I do feel for you, it must be so traumatic, the boys are so big, although the girls possibly have thicker feather coats on. I was watching the Tour de France yesterday as it went past the road we used to live on in the Tarn, and the story of the day was the heat, about 35-37 I think, but they were saying that the heat is held in the valleys and reflects off the roads. I hope the rest of your stock stay safe, it must be hard for you to relax during these days.
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chrismahon
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by chrismahon »

It all becomes very stressful MrsBiscuit. The government advises you stay indoors and we have to be out all day keeping drinkers cold and spraying the runs. At night we have had to leave all the coops wide open. To discourage predators (there are no 'urban' foxes here) we illuminate the enclosure at night. But we have decided the best deterrent is multi-coloured exterior Christmas tree lights set on a random flash, so they will go up for the next heatwave. Problem is they have to be taken down every day because the intense sunlight destroys plastic.
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dinosaw
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by dinosaw »

Glad you were in the nick of time and also good to see that Bottom is still with us Chris. Was reading a couple of bits on heat stress when the temperature started to rise here a couple of weeks ago and came across the following from an aussie producer of agricultural electrolytes. As you would imagine they are big on promoting the use of electrolytes to combat heat stress (which you can produce yourself) but the info on the processes involved in heat stress and dehydration were interesting, especially the effect humidity plays. In a nutshell 80% of heat is lost through panting, when humidity rises the air can't absorb the moisture from the lungs which leads to the bird panting faster which in itself causes the bird to produce more heat. They make a good suggestion in their booklet to not feed birds between 10am to 4pm so the internal heat this produces comes at a cooler time of day.

http://www.rci.com.au/HowtoUnderstandHe ... ultry.aspx
http://www.heatstress.info/heatstressin ... fault.aspx
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chrismahon
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by chrismahon »

Interesting information there Dinosaw. When it gets hot ours stop eating, so perhaps they've read the manual? They are all still laying well, which is remarkable in the circumstances. We often have to prop the nest box lids open to cool them down and we have had one TNN go crazy in the box and she had to be taken inside. After yesterdays thunderstorms the 5 week drought came to an end and temperatures are set to remain at seasonal norms, so typically 25- 33C.

Longer term we now consider a stone barn absolutely essential for poultry here, both for Summer and Winter. We also intend to create a utility room with air conditioning, both to treat sickies and to revive ourselves!
MrsBiscuit
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Re: Nearly lost Basil yesterday

Post by MrsBiscuit »

Sounds good :-)08 When we eat our body temp goes up, so I guess its the same for the birds? I think the real problem is that in the height of summer it can still be in the 30s, in the evenings. I remember one summer in the Tarn, la canicule, it got to 40 on several consecutive days, we didn't use to eat till 10pm, but it was still far too hot to bear, maybe that is why the Spanish eat so late. Inland Spain registers 40 routinely.

I've seen poultry (and pigs, goats and sheep!) in stone barns in Portugal, but most poultry seems to be in breeze block type constructions, which is useless at heat control. The difference between the two is staggering. In fact, all the old dwellings in the part of Portugal I know best are stone built and were made so that man lived on the first floor, the animals, wine production and storage are on the ground floor. This is still true going back 30 or 40 years, not just back into medieval times :D Its quite common for older country people to live on the ground floor in the heat, even with beaten earth floors, or now with rough concrete, but still surrounded by tractors, wine making equipment, stored equipment, fruit and veg. A lot of people have a table and chairs down there, a 2nd rudimentary stove/sink and some form of dresser to store cutlery. Strangely, they sleep outside or in their beds upstairs.

I sometimes think we don't know we are born :roll:
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