Hot temperatures are not good for chickens so finding tips on how to keep chickens cool in the extreme heat of summer is a great idea.
Learn how to keep your chickens hydrated, healthy, and laying eggs all year. Raising chickens is something I love, and I hope my tips will help you love it as well.
The older I get, the more I look forward to summer. I adore the sun and the heat and the birds and oh yes, the sun. Even though I love the heat of summer, my poor chickens do not.
If you are new to chickens, it can really tug at your heartstrings seeing them suffer in the heat.
When the temperatures get really high, chickens can struggle to breathe. Today I will share easy tips you can start to implement right now and give your entire flock some much-needed relief.
How To Keep Your Chickens Cool In The Summer Heat
Let’s go over a few tips that you can start using right now. Simple things that will have a big impact on how your chickens are fairing in the warmer temperatures.
Water, water, water!
Giving water may seem obvious, but it is by far the easiest way to cool your chickens down. Be sure your chickens have fresh water and plenty of it. This way, my chickens can drink whenever they need to. But not just that, it is important to ensure the water is fresh every day.
Think about it, if you are hot and miserable out in the sun, water is the best remedy, right? The same is true for your chickens. Just because you put fresh water out in the morning doesn’t mean it will stay cool all day long. Make a point to change it a few times a day to make sure it is cool and clean.
Provide more than one source of water.
I also like to add a second and even third water dish for my hens when it’s hot out. Chickens tend to scratch most if not all of the day and they may not drink while doing it, simply because the water is not close by.
Put a dish in the coop, one in the run and another further away.
Add a little mint.
Adding mint leaves to the water will encourage your chickens to peck at those leaves drinking more often. Another plus is the mint will help prevent parasites. You can add mint by crushing a couple of leaves and sprinkling them over the water that your chickens are drinking.
Ice it up!
You can add ice to the water on really hot days as well. They love to play with the ice and peck at it ensuring they drink more water.
Offer frozen treats.
Try this chicken-friendly popsicle treat. You can freeze leftover produce throughout the year, so you have a nice collection to use in the summer.
Place a handful of frozen cuttings in a dish and cover it with water. Place the frozen treats in the coop or run for your hens to peck at.
Hose things down.
In the summer, the ground can get pretty hot, and walking on it all day in bare feet can be quite miserable. Do a quick spray with the hose to cool the ground giving a cooler surface to walk on.
You can even go one step further and hose the coop roof down. Some chickens will even walk through the water spray.
Watermelon and cantaloupe
Nothing cools me off more when it’s hot out than a nice cold piece of watermelon. Chickens are the same way, and my girls love any melon.
I grow as much as I can in my garden, so I have treats during the hottest summer months of August and September.
If you eat watermelon or other fruits, you can save the rinds. Chickens love to peck at rinds and will usually take them down until they are paper thin. Rinds are also a great way to stop boredom.
Make a pool
Some chickens enjoy the water, but mine do not. I still like to offer a little pool to them just in case.
What can you use for a chicken coop pool?
- Plastic litter box for a cat
- Plastic wading pool
If you choose to put a water pool out for your chickens, keep the water at about an inch deep and change it every day or so, depending on how dirty it is.
Make sure you have shade.
If you are like me and your coop is in the sun, you need to ensure your hens have shade. We free-range in the afternoon, so they do have a few trees to rest under if needed.
But, there is no shade in their coop.
To fix it, I built a quick and inexpensive shady spot in the coop using a tarp and some zip ties. This worked great until we could build a more permanent solution.
Remember, it doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to give your flock an area to get out of the sun and the direct heat.
If you can, use a fan.
If you have electricity in your coop, a box fan can really help to keep the inside of the chicken coop cooler.
Place a fan in the coop so it is blowing from the inside out. This will help remove the hotter air allowing the cooler air in. It also will improve the quality of the air by bringing fresh air in.
We do not use fans in our coop, but we do have them in our barn and we use them in our home as well.
More Keep Cool Resources:
- How to Keep Your House Cooler Without Central Air
- Keep Animals Cool in the Summer
- Encourage Your Goats to Drink More Water
This is a new tip for me and one I plan on using this summer. Fill milk jugs or 2-liter bottles 3/4 of the way full with water and freeze.
Once frozen, place the frozen bottles in the coop and run. The hens will stand on or lay next to the bottles to cool off. When finished, clean the bottles with sopa and water and refreeze them.
Make sure to keep the bottles away from your food so you do not risk contamination. Remember, you do not want to get chicken manure on any of the food that you have in your freezer.
Set your hose nozzle to mist, and attach it to your coop fence. Let it spray for 20 minutes. Your chickens will gather in the spray cooling their feather down.
Think outside of the box
I love this tip, and I can’t wait to give it a try. It’s an easy way to make a “cool” room for your chickens using a trash can.
- Put a steel trash can on its side and place it inside your chicken run.
- Fill a few milk jugs with water and freeze.
- Put the frozen jugs inside of the trash can.
Your chickens will slowly make their way inside where the air is much cooler and more comfortable.
Remember that our animals depend on us for survival. It is our responsibility to ensure they are safe, healthy, and comfortable all year. Hot hens lay fewer eggs, and are susceptible to pests and illness.
Try out some or all of these tips to Help Your Chickens Deal With The Summer Heat. As a good rule of thumb, if you are hot and miserable, your animals are too.
Do what you can to keep not only your chickens but all of your animals cooler this summer.