6 Things You Should Be Doing to Keep Your Chickens Cool in the Heat

In the peak of summer, there are so many chicken owners trying to keep their feathered friends cool. It’s important to be able to recognize the signs that your chickens are being stressed by the heat.   I’m going to walk you through the signs your chicken is getting overheated and why you might be experiencing lower egg production. I’m also going to be telling you 6 things you should be doing to keep your chickens cool in the heat.

 

I’m so Hot….

If there is one thing I can tell you about Texas that you probably already knew: It’s cluckin’ hot. We haven’t experienced anything but triple digit heat for weeks. Except for yesterday… apparently it rained and didn’t get into the 90’s until lunch!

While most of us can escape the heat (except me), our chickens cannot.

I have seen many people pulling their chickens into their homes to keep them from becoming baked chicken in this heat.

I would maybe think about doing that if our house wasn’t worse than being outside.

It’s basically a sweatbox at all times.

You move, you sweat. At least there is a breeze outside.

You did what?!

Also, we did something…

Alex and I bought 9 more chicks. Our family thinks we need an intervention. I can’t say I don’t agree with them…

I recently had to cull some of our flock for meat and it was basically the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m not going to lie, I cried a little.

We love our chickens so much, but chicken is expensive and at least I know that ours have had a wonderful life with lots of hugs and cuddle sessions. I’m truly grateful for how they have served us and brought such joy to us.

I actually learned that two of our girls that I did end up butchering were most likely in heart failure and were on their way out.  When I saw that, it just kind of confirmed that I made the right choice. Butchering chickens is a post is for another day though.

 

Signs your chicken is saying, “I’m overheated”!

If you’re thinking about getting chickens, look for breeds that do well in the climate you live in. If you decide you want a certain breed that doesn’t necessarily do well in the climate you live in, then make sure take extra precautions to keep them happy.

You know what’s awesome about chickens? They show you when they are becoming a rotisserie. There are several ways your chickens will let you know that they are overheating.

  • They are panting (yes, like a dog but minus the noise)

  • Their wings are away from their body (like they are airing out their armpits)

                                             Sorry this picture is a bit blurry but I had to zoom in. Airing out the pits!

  • They are lethargic (too busy digging their dirt holes to acknowledge you)

  • Diarrhea – (sorry gotta check their poop- I’m not going to post a picture of poop lol)
  • Pale combs/wattles (I haven’t had this symptom in our flock)
  • Seizures/ convulsions (I certainly haven’t had this symptom either-)

Before you freak, I want to reassure you of something. 

Obviously, living in Texas, our chickens are going to get hot. If I had to throw a chicken in the bath every time they started panting or had their wings lifted from their bodies, then I would never get to shower.

I have also witnessed them being lethargic (so am I when I feel like a busted can of biscuits in the summer) and having the occasional diarrhea. I have yet to lose a chicken die from the heat (knock on wood!).

The point I’m trying to make is that if you see your chicken panting and holding their wings out and not greeting you because they are laying in a dirt hole and don’t feel like moving in the heat, don’t think they are about to die and stress everyone out.

Should you check water and offer cooler options? SURE!

Don’t you like a cool glass of water after being in the heat?

So what should you/we do? 

We do the best we can to keep our chickens happy and hope our efforts are enough . I can’t turn off the sun… I would at least dim it if I could, believe me.

What should you EGGspect with hens’ egg production in the hotter months?

I bet you’ve noticed your egg production has probably gone down a bit. If you’re new to chickens, don’t fret! A couple of your girls may not be laying as frequently and that can be completely normal with extreme cold and heat.

During these hot summer months they’re probably a bit more dehydrated than they usually are and it takes a lot of water to make an egg apparently. I’m going to make sure you know what we do here in the Hood and how it has increased our egg production by double! Even in these hot summer months!

 

Things I can do to keep my chickens cool this summer!

1. Probiotics/ Electrolytes-

This is the one thing that increased our egg production and I would dare even say one of the most important things to be giving your chickens in the extreme heat besides cool, clean water.

We were getting about 5 eggs a day and now we are getting about 10-11 a day.

Who knew chickens needed gatorade? Make sure there are electrolytes in their water.

We had probiotics and I was reading on the back of our bottle and it said there were electrolytes added into the formula. This is what we use, and you can find some at your local feed store or on Amazon!

2. Make sure there is ventilation in their coop

Your chickens need space and air! Make sure they have room to have some space from all the body heat. I went to our big coop the other day and they were all at least wing distance apart.

I thought, “Wow, did we have a fight everyone”?

Afterwards, I thought more about it and considered that you couldn’t pay me to sleep that close to anyone in triple digit heat. I feel you feathered friends!

3Offer shade!

Can you imagine sitting out in triple digit weather with the sun on your face? NO! That’s why someone invented one of my favorite things, an air conditioner! Allow your chickens to have a refuge. Make sure they have a place to get away from the sun.

4. Frozen Treats

I actually surveyed a chicken group I’m in for this one so I could have plenty of ideas for all you chicken people. Here are some of the things we do and that I found other chicken owners suggested.

  • Big Bowl of water- add ice cubes and cut up fruit that floats
  • Hang up a cool cabbage for them to peck at- cabbage has a high water content
  • Use an ice cube tray to put berries in and freeze with a little water to give them a sweet cool treat to peck at.
  • Give them their food frozen
  • Freeze water bottles and put them in their waterers to keep the water cool

5. Allow them an area for fresh dirt to bathe in

Chickens take dust bathes, we know this right? Well, the further they dig, the cooler the dirt-duh!

Some ideas for this are getting old tires and filling them with dirt or filling the baby pools with dirt. They are selling really big baby pools at Academy for $15.00!

We have actually been watering down the dirt so that the water can cool off the dirt as well. 

 

6. Lots of access to fresh cool water!

Obviously one of the worst things you can do is not have clean fresh cool water available to them. HAVE WATER AVAILABLE!

  We have several waterers around the land (in the shade) so that the chickens have water available whenever they are walking around.  

Even Freckles tries to stay hydrated! 

I would love y’alls input on what you do to keep your chickens cool! Comment below with fun ways to keep your feathered butts from going turning into KFC!

I went ahead and linked some of the things we use around the Hood to keep the chickens happy. I didn’t find the exact probiotics but the link is still to the same company that we get our probiotics from.

 



If you need more Life in the Hood- find out how to introduce new birds into your flock,  or read about the 3 crop issues your flock could be facing.

You should definitely save this on your Pinterest Board for reference later on or if you are thinking about getting chickens!

 

 

 

No Comments

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: