When it gets hot in the summertime, you can retreat inside your air conditioned home or gulp down a bunch of ice-cold water to beat the heat. But unfortunately, your chickens aren’t able to do the same. They have to stay outside where it’s hot, and if you’re not careful they can overheat due to exposure to the sun and the humidity. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to cool them off.
Watch what you feed them.
Corn and scratch are fine to feed to chickens in the cooler months, but these foods require chickens to undergo a lengthy digestion process, which can in turn cause their body heat to go up. During the summer, you can supplement your chickens’ diet with fresh fruit or vegetables to keep their body temperatures lower.
Provide them with cold water.
This might go without saying, but just like you, your chickens will need a fresh supply of cold water at all times in the summer to stay hydrated. This means that you’ll have to make sure they have cold water, and then replenish their water early and often since it will heat up quickly during the summer. Do your best to keep it out of the sun as well so that it will stay cold longer.
Set up shady areas for your chickens to roam.
There can be a significant difference between the temperature in the sun and the temperature in the shade during the summertime. If possible, find areas where you can provide plenty of shade for your chickens. Whether it’s in their coop or on another part of your property, they should be able to find shade and stay in it for as long as they want to stay out of the sun. Be sure their coop has enough ventilation to provide them with a nice breeze while they’re inside as well.
Provide Proper Ventilation
A chicken coop is very much like a home: to remain airy and cool, it needs to ventilate. Have the windows to the coop open always so air can come in to cool down your chickens. With windows installed, you’ll pretty much be able to ensure that chickens will remain cool from the cross-breeze.
Give them cool treats
Sometimes, cold water isn’t enough. Providing your chickens with cold, tasty treats will not only delight their taste buds, but keep them cool as well. Treats that are cool and high in moisture are your best bet. Watermelons are usually your best bet, but you can also give them frozen fruits and berries. Of course, all treats should be given in moderation no matter the time of year.
Set up a kiddie pool or mud puddle
Chickens may not swim as much as ducks, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy some time in the water. Some chickens will love standing in a pool of cool water on a hot day. You can set up a kiddie pool or even a mud puddle to help keep their feet cool. Keep in mind, though, that not all chickens will like standing in water. As such, this should not be your only solution.
By keeping your chickens cool, you can make sure they are as happy and healthy as possible during the summer. For more helpful tips, check out our comprehensive chick care information here!