Aside from arguing that “are chicken reptiles or birds”, people also debate about another confusing topic concerning chickens’ internal temperature.
“Are chickens cold-blooded or warm-blooded?” is a very important question that the answer would have a huge impact on how you take care of your backyard friends. Let’s find out.
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Differences between cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals
Cold-blooded animals are also known as poikilothermic animals that are not able to control their body’s temperature according to the temperature of their surroundings. As a result, they don’t have a fixed body temperature, it is adjusted accordingly to the environment.
Their metabolic rate completely depends on the temperature of the environment. Plus, they tend to adjust their inner temperature by bathing in the sun, changing body colors, etc… Cold-blooded animals don’t have high-energy consuming organ systems, which allows them to survive on much less energy than warm-blooded counterparts.
Some cold-blooded animals you may know are invertebrates, fishes, sharks, frogs, crocodiles, etc..
Warm-blooded animals are capable of sustaining almost steady body temperatures, independent of the environmental temperature. They usually maintain their body temperature in a range of 35-40 degrees Celsius.
Their metabolic rates are not likely to depend on the environment temperature. Warm-blooded animals can easily produce heat within their body by consuming food. They have much more complex organ systems in comparison to cold-blooded animals.
Birds and mammals are classified as warm-blooded animals
Are chickens cold-blooded or warm-blooded animals?
As mentioned above, chickens are warm-blooded animals because they are birds or more accurately fowl.
Just like many other warm-blooded species, chickens’ internal temperature is not dependent on environmental changes. They maintain their inner heat by altering their metabolic activities which affect temperature loss or gain. For most birds, they have feathers to keep them safe from unfavorable weather conditions, the unfeathered part would usually be covered underneath to keep them warm.
Chickens use their respiratory system to thermoregulate their internal heat. They have multifaceted respiratory systems that execute a range of functions, including the elimination of excess heat from their body.
Chickens are homeothermic animals. This means when a chicken gets too hot, in order to counteract this affection, it will eliminate the excess energy through their respiratory tract and skin. You may find them spreading their wings and taking cover in the shade when it gets too hot.
How about in cold weather? They can fight through this thanks to their feathers and body fat.
Read our related article, What Temp is too Hot for Chickens? Learn what temperature is too much for chickens and how to keep them cool!
How to care for chickens in winter?
Despite the fact that chickens are capable of thermoregulating, they can still get too hot or too cold during extreme weather. In such harassed conditions they might fail to stabilize their temperature, in some cases could lead to fatal.
Young chickens are much more vulnerable to extreme temperatures and will easily fail to keep their consistent temperatures. They tend to have more trouble regulating their temperature because of their relatively wide surface area in comparison to body weight.
To protect your flocks during freezing cold winter, you need to stick on some important points:
1. Keep them warm
Providing shelter for your flocks during winter is a must. This helps them avoid exposing directly to the notably cold atmosphere and somewhat give them a helping hand when they need to thermoregulate.
Don’t put in heat lamps. Your chickens could endure the cold but not the sudden changes in temperature. It means that they can’t regulate when it’s warm in their shelter then freezing on the outside.
2. Feed them well
Like most warm-blooded species, chickens produce heat by consuming food. They essentially eat more because they need to keep themselves warm during the harsh winters. Feeding them grains, layer feed in winter is always considered good practice.
3. Making sure water is not frozen
Your chickens will require more water alongside with food. It’s best that you give them heated water. Just like we do in the winter right?
4. Collect egg more frequently
Eggs are easily frozen at freezing temperatures. As it’s frozen, the content will expand resulting in the eggs to crack. Basic physics.
5. Keep the chickens’ coop dry
Check for wet spots every day, remove them immediately if any. Give your chicks more bedding than they normally have in other seasons so that they have a place to burrow and stay warm.
Read our related article, How Cold Can Baby Chicks Handle? Chicks need hotter temperatures to survive the first few weeks of life. Here are the temperatures that are too cold.
Understanding your chickens’ nature plays an important part in caring processes. Fully aware of whether chickens are cold-blooded or warm-blooded animals could help you make well-informed decisions when it comes to providing what they truly need and what are harmful to them.