Well, it seems the weather in upstate NY has decided to skip Spring yet again and the Summer heat has already started to make us sweat. While this can be easily solved with A/C and fans for us, our chickens aren’t so lucky. Consistently high summer temperatures can cause your chickens to suffer from heat stress, overheating, and can even stop their egg laying process. For heavier breeds, high temperatures can even cause death. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to beat the heat and keep your chickens cool.
Add electrolytes to their water
Electrolyte tablets are important for when the temperature reaches the high peaks in Summer as they help prevent dehydration. You can find them on Amazon in bulk.
Avoid foods such as corn and scratch
Corn and scratch take a longer time for chickens to digest, which creates higher body heat. Instead, feed your chickens fresh fruit and vegetables with high water content, like watermelon to keep them cool.
Keep cold water available 24/7
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but is also the most important. Cold water will help the chickens to regulate their body temperature and keep them cool. Make sure it is always available to them and change out the water as needed.
Put a fan in the coop
This one might not always be possible without damaging the structure of the coop. However, if you’re able to do it, a small fan can circulate air and keep your flock cool in the summer months. One word of caution though, be careful about exposed wiring. Accidents can occur if exposed wiring gets wet or if your chickens break the wiring as you could end up with fried chicken.
Leave them alone
Interacting with your chickens can cause them to be more active and in turn, create more heat. On extremely hot days, try to leave them alone and only check on them as necessary.
Spray around the coop with cold water
Spraying around the coop and the roof can cause evaporation which will help cool off your chickens. You can also create small pools of water (or use a kiddie pool) for the chickens to wade in and keep themselves cool.
Frozen Gallon Jugs
If you don’t have a kiddie pool that you can use to keep your chickens cool, you can always make your own portable frozen water bottles. Take a spare gallon jug (milk jug will work), fill it with water, and then freeze it. Once it’s frozen solid, take it to your chicken pen, and bury it in a shallow hole in their favorite dusting spots. Place a small towel over the jug and let your chickens perch on it to cool down. Bonus points if you make sure to bury the jug in the shade.
We hope this helps to keep your chickens cool during the dog days of Summer. Be sure to let us know what tips you have yourself in the comments below!