Articles about Poultry Care
How to help your chicken during the summer heat.
By Emily Garland
Summer is here and with the sun comes the heat. We all worry about the winter and the cold with our birds, but heat is actually harder on our chickens. Chickens have a higher baseline temperature then other animals and a down coat that makes keeping cool harder. Here is a list of ideas to help your feathered friends stay cooler.
1. Provide a variety of water sources and add electrolytes to one or two of the waterers so they have the options of plain or electrolytes. Change the water at least twice daily to help keep it cool and fresh. Make sure to have a waterer in each of your chickens’ favorite hangout spots to increase their water intake.
2. Frozen water bottles in the water helps keep it cooler. If you are changing it every few hours this isn’t necessary, but it helps to lower the water temperature so the chicken will drink more.
3. Use fans to get the air moving. If you wish to cool the air you can place ice in front of the fan and create a simple swamp cooler. I have used frozen gallon bottles of water and it helps to cool the area for a bit longer than a bag of ice or small water bottles.
4. Sometimes chickens can get upset about something when it’s not as hot and overheat themselves. Placing them in cool water can lower their temperature. Have a cool bucket of water in shade outside the pen. Water from the tap is cold. Cold water can be a shock to your chicken’s body and can cause the chicken to have heart attack. The cool water in the shade isn’t a shock to the chickens’ body and will help an over heated chicken cool down. I always have a 5-gallon bucket near the coop with cool water starting in late May through September.
5. Shade: My runs get afternoon sun, so I added a shade cloth to increase the shade and limit the heat on the outside coop wall. Adding the shade cloth cools the run areas enough that my bird returned to enjoy their outdoor spaces in the afternoon. Providing your flock with shade allows them to escape the sun and gives them a cool place to enjoy on a hot day.
6. Misters: Misters and spraying the coops roof to cool the coop or the area around it works well. Remember to watch the humidity levels during the day to make sure they are safe to use the misters. Humidity levels above around 45% will cause the hot air to become thick and hotter rather than cooler. Providing a place for chickens to wade will help the chickens coop down. A shallow bowl works best. They just need a little spot to get their feet wet.
7. Remember when you are treating sick chickens that taking them inside can be a shock to their bodies. They are already quite stressed and a rapid change in temperature will stress them even more. Keep them in a cool garage or shed is ideal for helping them to recover. You can use a fan to help move the air and keep it cooler. The best place to treat a sick chicken is somewhere out of the sun and where you can keep them cooler, but not cold.
These are things I have found that works and I hope they help you as well.