Very Helpful share from "Backyard Poultry" SRN
By Dave Anderson, President
American Poultry Association
Shade and plenty of fresh water are a must in summer. Birds can withstand some very extreme temperatures if they are shielded from the sun and can cool off via the intake of water. In addition, they love to take dust baths and work the cool dirt particles into their feathers. It is amusing to watch birds with access to dirt lie on the ground and develop a hole by ruffling their feathers and digging with their claws. This not only helps keep them cool but also aids in controlling lice and mites and other parasites.
I provide fans for my birds that are housed inside and do not have access to dirt. The fans move the air which results in a cooling process. I also make sure they have fresh, clean water at least twice a day and are not exposed to direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight also has a negative effect on feather condition and can render birds unshowable until they have gone through a molt. This is particularly true if you live in an area that has high heat and low humidity. Low humidity dries out the feathers and they become brittle and more susceptible to breakage. The males of many white breeds and varieties will sunburn readily; especially if they do not possess the "silver white" gene that is often discussed in discussions of poultry genetics. The color on non-white birds such as buff or partridge, will fade rapidly and not return until a molt is complete.
In summary, birds need extra care and attention in summer just as they do in winter. If you want to keep them in production and in show condition, it is imperative that they have continuous access to fresh water and shade and minimum exposure to direct sunlight.
To learn more about the APA please visit their website at www.amerpoultryassn.com or contact the APA secretary, Pat Horstman, via telephone at (724) 729-3459 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.