It is finally summer and the temperatures are heating up. Our chickens are panting during the day, but luckily it is still cooling down over night. As the temperatures keep getting warmer, we start looking at ways to keep chickens cool this summer.
What happens if chickens get too hot?
This was a big concern for us with our first flock. Living in southern California, we had days of temperatures over 105. This is definitely too hot for me to be outside all day. Chickens can also overheat and suffer heat stroke and dehydration. It doesn’t even take extreme temperatures over 100 for chickens to suffer. Chickens can even die if they aren’t adequately taken care of in hot conditions!
How can you tell if your chickens are getting too hot?
You can tell your hens are getting warm by how they act. The warmer it is outside, the more likely they will show signs of being warm. Chickens pant, similar to dogs and cats. They will also try to dig down to cooler dirt and roll around in it in an attempt to cool off. You may see your chickens fluff out their feathers in an attempt to radiate some of their body heat off.
6 Tips to Keep Chickens Cool
The best ways to keep your hens cool are also some of the ways you keep yourself cool.
1. Chickens will be cooler in the shade. Provide them with a place to get out of direct sunlight. Their coop may be warmer that open areas with a tarp.
2. Provide the chickens with ventilation if they have to be inside a shelter. Make sure they have plenty of space to spread out as crowding will make heat worse. You can use fans to create more airflow through their coop if you don’t have a run area.
3. One of our favorites, and I think our chickens favorite ways to keep cool is popsicles. We toss veggie and fruit scraps in a large stainless steel bowl. We fill the bowl with water and let it freeze solid. The girls get to peck at their treats and drink cold water as it melts. We also give the watermelon out of the fridge which provides a nice cool treat.
4. If your chickens already have a dirt bath area dug out, you can spray that down with water in the morning providing them a cooler way to bathe. Some people have also shared that they provide a kiddie pool and their chickens will wade in a few inches of water. Ours didn’t, but yours might. Mainly, they like to get their feet wet to help cool off.
5. Making sure that your chickens have access to plenty of cold clean water is always a priority. During a super hot day, you may want to add some ice to their waterer periodically.
6. A final option to help keep your poultry cool on super warm days, is to provide a mist. A sprinkler will work. The chickens may not like getting wet, but if it keeps them alive, I’m OK with a few hurt feelings.
Bonus: You can freeze 2 liter bottles of water place in a trash can on its side to give the chickens a shaded place with cooler air (ac like environment)