Summer is here, and that means our animals need some attention. Use these tips on how to keep chickens cool in the summer so your flock is healthy and laying all summer long.
Raising chickens is a 12-month job, and depending on the weather, how you house and feed them will differ. Let’s go over a few ideas that you may want to use when things get warm outside and in.
When the summer heat hits, you can be sure your chickens will be feeling it too. The good news is there are plenty of ways to keep your flock cool and relaxed during those hot days. Simple things that can make a huge difference in the health of your hens. Whether it’s providing some extra shade, frozen treats, additional water, or even a water shower – there’s something for everyone (or should we say every chicken) to beat the heat.
What temperature is too hot for chickens?
The ideal temperature for chickens is between 65-75°F (18-24°C). Temperatures above 80°F (27°C) can be dangerous, and if the heat persists beyond 85°F (29.5°C), then there is a risk of heat stroke or, in some cases, even death. To prevent this from happening I find it’s important to take extra measures to keep chickens cool before the high temperatures hit.
How to Keep chickens cool in the Summer
Before we get started, you first want to be sure you have the basics all set and in place for your chickens.
- Shelter – A protected area for your chickens to get out of the elements during the day and out of predators’ reach during the night. This is known as a chicken coop, and it is meant to protect not only your flock but their eggs as well. Read How to Turn Your Old Shed into a New Coop here.
- Protected run area – An area that keeps out both land and air predators so your chickens can scratch and bathe without risk. Read How to Build a Chicken Run Here.
- Food – Good quality food that is easy for them to get to.
- Water – Enough water sources so that they can get a drink inside and outside of the coop.
Once you have these four areas set, you can move on to the extra care and advice for summer care.
Provide Plenty of Shade
First, ensure your chickens have plenty of shade to rest in. Trees and shrubs are a great source of natural shade, but you can also construct some artificial shade if needed. An overhang extending off the side of your coop is a great way to give your flock relief from the hot sun.
Another tip is a tarp. Hang a tarp off the coop or the run to cover up a section of the ground. Be sure you have enough for your entire flock to discourage bullying.
How can you tell if your chicken is overheated?
Chickens do not sweat and instead release the heat through respiration. There are a few things to watch if you think your chicken is overheated.
Signs of heatstroke in chickens include:
- Holding their wings away from their body
- Increased heart rate
Be sure to monitor your flock closely in hot weather and take steps to keep them cool!
Chickens love treats, and in the summer, the best treats are cold ones. You can offer them watermelon or melon rinds or freeze a treat of fruit or veggies.
How to Make Frozen Treats for Chickens
- Cut up lettuce, spinach, fruit, or veggies.
- Put into a freezer-safe container.
- Add a bit of water.
- Freeze until solid.
- Give to the chickens to enjoy.
You can make frozen treats all year long and store them in your freezer. This way, you will always have something for your chickens when the weather is hot.
Have several Water Options
Chickens need plenty of water on hot days just as much as they do any other day. I have found that if our chickens don’t see it, they may not look for it. To help, be sure you have water inside the coop and outside as well.
Keep Water Clean
Another tip to use is always have fresh water for your chickens. Change out all water bowls each morning and again in the afternoon if you are having a really hot day.
Ice cubes are a great way to keep chickens cool on hot days. Add a few cubes into their drinking water so they can enjoy something cold and refreshing throughout the day. You can also freeze large blocks of ice so they can peck at it throughout the day.
Water Shower or bath
A fun way to cool off your chickens is to put a small kiddie pool in the run and fill it with water. Another tip is to spray your chicken’s feet with water to help cool them off. Just be sure you watch to keep your run from getting muddy and messy.
When it comes to keeping chickens cool in the summer, a little bit of extra effort can go a long way. From providing plenty of shade to offering frozen treats and even setting up a water shower, there are many ways to ensure your chickens are comfortable during those hot days.
Now that you know How to Keep chickens cool in the summer, you can have a summer full of farm fresh eggs!
More Chicken Care Resources:
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