It’s summer once again, which means the temperature is rising. With that being said, humans usually eat something cold or simply head to the beach to swim in the cool waters. However, it’s not only us who need to get rid of excessive body heat. We also need to consider our two-legged pals – chickens – as they too struggle and face the consequences brought about by the hot summer sun.
How do you raise your chickens properly and ensure they stay cool during the summer season? Here are some ways:
Put Ice on Their Water Supply
This is probably the fastest and easiest way you can do to keep your chickens cool. Normally, poultry farmers just provide 30 litres of water in their coops. But when it is extremely hot, they often replace their waterers with something very shallow because these are easier to refill and keep the water at a moderate temperature.
Here’s one useful advice. Make sure you put the waterers in a shady area in the middle of the day. If possible, put some ice cubes in order to achieve a low temperature.
Freeze Their Food
After you have added some ice cubes into their water supply, the next thing you need to do is to feed them with something frozen or cold.
Although chickens eat grains, they also love to feed on fruits like pineapples, watermelons, apples, and bananas. If you are wise enough, you can take advantage of that fact by making sure they eat only those that are taken from the refrigerator or are chilled. But when using apples, you have to core it as its seeds are poisonous.
Apart from fruits, they also love to eat yogurt mixed with fruits. Simply dump an ample of yogurt into their trough. And later on, you will enjoy watching your chickens go wild.
During a heat wave, there are foods that you must avoid feeding your birds. Diced corn or maize is just among them. Since it takes a long time for their tummies to digest it, the temperature of their body will eventually rise.
Provide Them Shade
If your chicken coop doesn’t have any shade, well, you need to do something about it. Or else, you’ll experience the worst summer of your life. And you don’t want that to happen.
During a heat wave, chickens that don’t have a comfortable and cool hutch usually dig or hide underneath nesting boxes. If you don’t have such shelter for them, it is best that you set up a tent, or put them in a temporary area perhaps.
Get a Misting Device
In order to ease the warmth brought about by the hot summer sun, you can always install a misting device for your hose. Next, leave it on throughout the day.
But then again, when choosing one, make sure you get something of high-quality. You don’t want to sacrifice the comfort of your chickens for something that doesn’t last a couple of uses. Also, you have to ensure you use it properly so that your water bills will not rise.
Once you have attached the mister on your hose, you can decide whether you want to hang it down a tree branch or directly on top of the pen. At the end of the day, it’s going to be your decision.
According to those who have used these devices, it effectively lowers the ground temperature by around 15 degrees, which is considered a safe temperature for backyard chickens.
Ventilate Their Shelter
If you live in a very hot region, then you will need to adjust or find a better chicken coop that has better ventilation.
The easiest way to do this is to put a window in your coop and leave it slightly open at night. This will provide them with fresh cool air in the entire night. But if you are concerned about possible predators that might steel your chickens through the window, you can install a fan instead. Just let it run during the day so that by the time your birds go to roost at night, it won’t be very hot.
In addition, you can place a thin layer of bedding on the floor of the coop. This may act as an insulator and prevent heat from building up inside.
Put Up some Frozen Gallon Jugs
Find a spare gallon or milk jug and fill it up with water. And then, freeze it. Once it is solid, bring it to the chicken pen and put this in their favourite nesting places.
It would be a great idea to wrap it with a small towel so that your chickens can perch on top of it when they need some cooling.
Hopefully, you have learned a lot from us on how to keep your chickens cool and refreshed throughout the summer days. But always keep in mind that you need to monitor your birds from time to time to find out whether they are already suffering from excessive heat. If you notice signs of heatstroke, do not just rely on these tips. It is best to consult a vet.