Why the Weather Changing Causes Stress in the Flock

The weather is always changing, and for backyard chickens, that can mean a change in their stress levels. Chickens are incredibly sensitive to changes in the environment, and even small fluctuations in temperature or barometric pressure can cause them to become stressed. In this article, we will discuss the effects of weather on chickens’ stress levels, and offer some tips for keeping your birds as calm and relaxed as possible.


Chickens are very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. When the weather gets too hot or too cold, they will start to pant and their body temperature will rise. This can lead to stress and even death in extreme cases. Chickens also don’t do well in high winds, which can cause them to lose their balance and become injured.

Here’s how cold weather affects your chickens’ body:

When the temperature outside drops, chickens will start to experience a decrease in their body temperature. In order to keep warm, they will begin to pant and fluff out their feathers. This helps them trap heat close to their bodies and stay warm. However, if the temperature gets too cold, chickens can actually die from hypothermia.

Here’s how hot weather affects your chickens’ body:

Chickens can also overheat when the weather is too hot. When the temperature starts to rise, chickens will begin to pant and spread their wings in order to cool down. If the temperature gets too high, chickens can suffer from heat stroke, which can be fatal.

What you can do to help your chickens during extreme weather:

If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, there are some things you can do to help your chickens stay comfortable and safe. During the winter, make sure that your chickens have access to a warm, dry place to sleep. A well-insulated chicken coop will help keep your birds warm during cold nights. You can also provide them with a heat lamp or a ceramic heat emitter to give them some extra warmth.


In the summer, make sure that your chickens have access to plenty of cool water and shade. Giving them a misting bottle of cool water to drink will help them stay hydrated and cool. You can also frozen water bottles or bags of ice in their coop to help keep them cool.


Changes in barometric pressure can also cause stress in chickens. Just like humans, chickens can feel a change in the pressure and it can make them anxious. If there is a storm coming, you may notice your chickens huddling together and trying to hide.


There are a few things you can do to help reduce the amount of stress your chickens feel during extreme weather conditions. First, make sure they have plenty of shelter from the sun or wind. If it’s too hot, provide them with a cool, shady spot to escape the heat. If it’s too cold, make sure their coop is well-insulated and that they have access to a heat source.


Herbal remedies can also help keep your chickens calm. Adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to their drinking water can help relax them. Giving them a small amount of valerian root or chamomile in their food can also help reduce stress levels.  You can add these to their water or spray them around the coop.


You should also make sure your chickens have access to plenty of food and water. A full stomach will help to calm them down, and having a clean, fresh water source will keep them hydrated.


By following these tips, you can help your chickens stay calm during periods of extreme weather. Just remember that chickens are very sensitive creatures, so it’s important to be understanding and patient with them during these times.

Published by Shelby DeVore

Shelby is an agricultural enthusiast that shares her love of all things farming with her husband and two children on their small farm in West Tennessee. She is a former agriculture education teacher and is also the author of the blog Farminence, where she enjoys sharing her love of gardening, raising livestock and more simple living. You can see more of Shelby's articles at: www.farminence.com