With the summers getting hotter and hotter every year, the heat can be dangerous to your birds since they haven’t been bred to endure such high temperatures. You can of course get heat-hardy chickens but if you have chickens that endure the cold well, you’ll need to take extra precaution. So how can you keep your chickens cool?
Keeping your chickens cool is key to their survival. If they get too hot their egg production will suffer immediately and soon their health will be at risk too. Chickens can’t sweat if they get hot. Instead, they start breathing more rapidly and panting. They also can’t just go swimming or live well under air conditioning -not that you’d be able to install a mini split in their chicken coop.
Here are 5 ideas to keep your chickens cool this summer:
1. Give them shade!
The easiest and most logical way to keep them cool is by not having them under the sun. If you free range your chickens, they’ll naturally want to get out of the sun and under a tree. But what if you don’t have one there?
Well you don’t need to go plant a tree just yet. You can simply install a cheap and sturdy sun shade like this one. A good one can not only protect your chickens from the sun but from the snow as well! Plus you’re sure to enjoy the garden more with it.
2. Drop an ice cube in their water
You’re not the only one who needs a cold glass of water during the summer! Your chickens will definitely enjoy the water more if it’s icy cold.
You should also replace that huge gallon waterer for multiple shallow water dispensers like these ones. They’re very cheap and you can scatter them all over the yard. Make sure that the chickens have access to water wherever they are.
They will be drinking more water during the summer, which can lead do diarrhea and, paradoxically, dehydration. Consider adding some supplements or electrolytes to their water.
3. Get frozen and cold treats
Following that train of thought, you can also keep them warm by freezing their feed. Now their grains may not freeze very well but you can simply get some frozen berries for them at the supermarket.
And it doesn’t have to be just small treats. Watermelon is usually readily available during the summer and has lots of water. Simply freeze one half for them and take it outside. It’ll help your chickens stay cool in the summer just like it helps you!
Berries and other fruits like bananas and apples (without the pits) are actually a great natural supplement for chickens. You can freeze freeze them in ice cubes or even mix it with some natural Greek yogurt for extra coolness and probiotic benefits. They’ll go crazy for it.
4. Misters are chickens’ a/c
Your chickens may not be able to sweat to stay cool, but with misters they may not need to! Nowadays misters like this ones are incredibly cheap and easy to install. If you’re getting a shade (or even if you have a large enough tree) you can easily install it so anyone under it can enjoy the fresh mist.
Misters actually can cool their surroundings by down to 20 degrees! With all these cheap and easy installations, you may even want to spend more time outside with your girls.
5. Improve their coop
Proper ventilation isn’t just important during the winter, it’s also critical to keep your chickens cool, specially with chickens in captivity. To achieve this you can install a small fan in the coop to help keep the air moving and decrease the humidity inside.
You don’t need to get a power line from your house into the coop. That’s dangerous and a hazard. Instead you can simply get a solar powered fan like this one, which is easier to install.
You also want to keep their chicken coop clean. Decomposing materials generate heat and the ammonia in the air can become unbearable faster during the summer. Instead make sure you’re using only a thin layer of bedding.
Heat stroke can kill a chicken quite quickly. Luckily, with these tips you can easily prevent it for your whole flock! What are your favorite techniques to keep your chickens cool this summer?