Someone turned the heat on this past week! With temperatures in the 90s and heat warnings well over 100 degrees out here in Eastern Iowa, it’s important to keep your chickens cool. Here are some summer heat busters for chickens. Did you know that the summer heat is harder on chickens than the winter cold? If it’s sweltering where you are, here are a few quick ways to make sure that your chickens stay cool.
Lots of water
Fresh, cold water during hot weather is so important not only for chickens, but for all of your animals. Make sure that waterers are full and accessible. It’s a good idea to add ice cubes if you can. Double check water throughout the day as chickens drink a lot more during hot weather.
Lots of shade
Make sure your chickens have access to shade. I check on my chickens more often during hot weather and move food and water as necessary to keep it in the shade. If you don’t have shade in tall grass or around trees, making temporary shade with tarps is also an idea.
During hot weather, you may want to change when you feed your chickens. Feeding them in the morning or evening when it’s cooler will be better for them than feeding them during the hotter afternoons. Your chickens will also appreciate cool treats like watermelon or frozen fruit and veggies when it’s really hot out.
Use misters or wet the ground
Using misters is a great way to keep your chickens cool. If you don’t have misters, you can wet the ground with a hose to give your chickens a place to wet their feet. Burying a frozen bottle partway in the ground to give them a spot to rub on is another good idea.
Make sure the windows are open in the coop. If you have fans, you’ll probably want to run them during very hot weather.
Recognize signs of heat stress
Chickens can’t sweat so it’s important to recognize signs of heat stress. You may notice your chickens spreading out their wings and panting when it’s hot as chickens lose heat through respiration. This is perfectly normal behavior during hot weather, but if they become lifeless, lethargic, or their combs start to discolor, you will want to cool them off as soon as you can. Cool them off by putting them in cool water, but don’t submerge their heads. Then, keep them in a cooler spot until they are completely recovered and running around as normal.
Here is another resource to keep chickens cool and keep summer pests out of the coop: Chickens Surviving The Heat.
Do you have another tip for keeping your chickens cool during the summer? Share your ideas with us!