So lately its been hot as **** (take that word for what you will..) and its only going to get hotter! Now some of you will say man, chickens have been around for thousands of years, why do we need to do anything! Well, you’re right, but also many many chickens die every year due to the extreme heat! So with just a few simple measures you can help your feathered friend through this long hot summer!
Lets get a few facts straight. Chickens don’t swim.. Well. At least not like ducks. DO not throw them in a pool thats deeper than they are tall. Also, don’t feed a corn based scratch! Corn actually will raise an animals internal temps due to the way it digests! Corn is great for the winter! Not so good for the summer!
Watch for these symptoms!
- panting (not in the same way that your dog does – rather they will open their mouths, and appear as though they’re trying to intake more air)
- holding their wings away from their body
- looking lethargic and droopy
- increased thirst
So lets get down to business. In NO particular order here are some tips. Please note that you may have some success with some ideas more than others!
1) Add electrolytes to their water: Electrolyte tablets are important for extreme heat and can prevent dehydration. Just like we drink a gatorade or a pedialite when we are sick, it works the same for animals! Do your due diligence and read some reviews! There are tons of them. See link below for what we use! Super easy to add to water and go!
2) Avoid foods that have corn and heavy starches as I stated above!
3) Hydration is key :Your chickens must always have access to cool, fresh water – especially in summer. Staying well hydrated is the best way for your flock to beat the heat. If they’re looking a little droopy, you can add some electrolytes to their water to help quench their thirst. Use an auto water so you won’t forget to water them! You can easily make your own or buy one!
Use these nipples screwed into PVC to make your own!
We actually use a water such as this:
4) Install a fan in the coop: This tip isn’t always possible without messing up the structure of the coop. However, if it is possible, a small fan can circulate air and keep your flock cooler in the summer months. Caution: Be very careful about electrical wiring exposure. Accidents can occur if exposed wiring gets wet or if your chickens break the wiring. We use a box fan when its needed!
5) Offer shade for chickens: Again, pretty self-explanatory, but it can make a huge difference. Without shade, chickens won’t have any place of refuge to escape the heat. You could add a small table over a corner of your coop for your chickens to rest and enjoy the shade. In extreme heat, any small difference helps.
6) Keep interaction with flock at a minimum: Interaction with your chickens causes them to be more active and create more heat. On extremely hot days, try to leave your chickens alone and only check on them as necessary.
7) Setup a water mister! Misting systems work great and hardly use any water!
8) Put frozen bottles of water near the nesting boxes
Your chickens won’t be very motivated to lay in their nesting boxes when it’s hot, no matter how comfortable the boxes are. Putting some bottles of frozen water near the front of the nesting boxes gives them a bit of relief while they’re working hard and producing a delicious egg (it’s like their own private air conditioning!)
9) Offer frozen treats: Fill a large Tupperware container with berries and water and freeze overnight. Leave the container out the next day for your chickens and they can pick at the frozen berries and stay cool. You can also slice a watermelon in quarters and freeze for a similar result.
At the end of the day your chickens will probably be fine. But some of the methods above are cheap and hardly take any time at all to help alleviate some of the heat they are dealing with. I mean its the least we can do for our egg dropping machines, right? 🙂
Feel free to share some of your tips and ideas below or on our facebook page