This is Sable, one of our very unhappy auracanas. With the temperature hitting 106F, and slated to be that way for much of the week, our lovely hens with extra plummage are struggling in a way that our black australorps, and barred rocks are not. On the flip side, these same hens with extra plummage are the ones who continue to lay in the coldest weather.
How can you spot a chicken struggling with the heat? Sable is doing a great job of demonstrating both the open beak for panting, as well as the "droopy" wings. Chickens will try to keep their wings held away from the body or droop them to try and increase air circulation. I wanted to make sure folks could view a picture of this, since the first time I saw a chicken doing this I thought perhaps they had a broken wing!
The next few posts will high light the methods I like to use to help our chicken flock cope with the heat. Keep in mind that we live in the temperate rainforest that swaths the Pacific Northwest, so not all of our solutions are a perfect fit for every region.