Keeping coops cool

Nikki71

In the Brooder
Jul 4, 2020
38
51
43
Hi all,
Can everyone please post their best tips for keeping chickens and coops cool in the summer heat? My poor silkies seem to struggle with anything over 30 degrees, no matter how much water, shade etc..I provide.
I’m thinking of installing a small fan in the coop (wooden cubby house style)
 

docteurshepherd

Songster
Nov 23, 2020
516
2,501
236
My Coop
My Coop
I suppose there's only so much you can do. I've never done much though and mine have always seemed fine. I mean no fans, or whatever. The coop is nice and shaded, I can't think of what else you could really do besides a fan and bringing down cool or icey water. periodically. Unless it's some absolutely crazy temperature you should be fine if you're providing water and shade like you say. Folks overthink the weather too much. I know it comes from a place of care and concern but really we do lol.
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
5,683
11,693
671
Connecticut, USA
My poor silkies seem to struggle with anything over 30 degrees, no matter how much water, shade etc..I provide.
Yeah mid 80s Fahrenheit and above is tough on most breeds of chickens.
I have raised coops and the chickens hang out underneath and dig holes in the cool dirt.
20190627_143538.jpg

My pullets find shade under plants in their pen.
20200827_135232_resized.jpg

I also provide pans of cold water they can step in.
20190820_132300_resized.jpg

I make them a wet mash with crumbles and water from the fridge and serve midday.
20200618_134804_resized_kindlephoto-4851370.jpg

I've also provided a fan overnight when temps stayed in the upper 70s F, 25 C.
20170619_090443.jpg

I placed it on the floor near a lower vent and blow cooler air under roosts.
My coops also have lots of upper ventilation and windows.
@aart has gone further than me to keep her chickens comfortable. GC
 
Last edited:

Bluskeeper2020

In the Brooder
Dec 10, 2020
5
27
36
Hi I'm Mike and I'm new and haven't yet done a coop but am gathering info to begin. I live in southern Arizona in Tucson. This is the first year here and in the summer it can get up to 113 and maybe hotter here. Does anyone live in a climate like that that can help me with info on what they do?
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,666
27,347
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
Here is your Arizona state thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/arizona-chickens.31227/

I'm in the steamy southeast, where the issue is heat combined with humidity rather than your oven-like dry heat, but IMO, the key factors are:

Choose suitable breeds. Most hatchery catalogs include heat and cold tolerance in the information they give you about different chickens. Also, if you choose chicks from a hatchery/breeder located in a similar climate you can be more confident that they can tolerate your conditions.

Ventilation, Ventilation, Ventilation: The more airflow the better in the heat. The open air concept is particularly valuable for hot-climate people, with at least one wall of the coop made of wire. This is a great thread on a coop in Texas: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/texas-coop-build-pic-heavy.1371038/#post-22557467

Shade: Natural shade from vegetation is best, but in places where that's not available artificial shade of any kind is good. I put up a picnic fly over my small coop. Some people put up beach umbrellas. Some people cover their runs with shade cloth. Some people build little shade structures or even go as simple as a pallet up on concrete blocks.

Water: Lots and lots of water freely available all the time from multiple sources in case one fails.

There are some additional options available beyond the basics:

Access to ground they can dig in: Because it's cooler below the surface of the soil. On the shady side of the coop where I'd pilled up pine straw and dried grass clippings my flock dug holes deep enough to about bury themselves for dustbathing and loafing.

Electrolytes: Some consider this a key factor, others don't find it necessary. Offer one or more times a week according to the conditions but don't offer it as the only source of hydration because the taste may put the chickens off drinking enough. Imagine if you had only Gatorade to drink and never got regular water. :)

Wading Pools: Shallow tubs of water for chickens to walk in.

Ice Blocks: Either frozen to add to the waterer in order to keep the water cool or offered in a tub so that the chickens can either drink the cool water or stand/sit on the ice.

Misters: More valuable in your dry climate than my humid climate (where adding water to the air is more likely to increase the misery than decrease it). There are all sorts of models available or you can put a dial a setting nozzle on your garden hose to mist the area by hand for short-term relief.

Frozen Treats: Peas, berries, chunks of melon, whathaveyou. Can get expensive and you have to watch quantities so as not to unbalance your chickens' nutrition. I don't use this, except for when I toss some freezer-burned cooked meat into the pen still frozen.

I've probably missed a couple options. I personally didn't feel the need to go beyond the once a week electrolytes. As a matter of livestock-keeping philosophy I don't want to have breeds that require extraordinary measures to keep them healthy and would only start providing ice if we got temperatures significantly above our normal 95F with 95% humidity.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,659
13,586
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I was going to jump in on this, as I've had success in 90F+ degree heat and high humidity with breeds (like CornishX and Dark Brahma) not considered well suited to it, but @3KillerBs said it above much more eloquently than I.

To echo some of the most (in my view) critical points above...

I use a relatively large hen house, raised floor (3') which provides plenty of shade so the birds can dig into the ground on the hottest days. LOTS of ventilation. The bottom of mine is open on three sides, protected by livestock fencing and hardware cloth, providing roughly 70 sq ft of venting even with the door closed. Broad roof overhangs with soffit and ridge vents provide additional airflow. The floor of the house itself is a "U", leaving an open central shaft to the cool ground below, so as warm air rises from the chickens it naturally moves up the shaft and out the ridge vent. The soffit vents reinforce that motion, and help mitigate radiant heat off the metal roof panels. With the door open, as typical, I add another roughly 30 sq ft of venting.

Shade, and air flow. Because our humidity is so high, I do not use misters, however I frequently have a small, deep pond in the run (for the ducks) which requires constant maintenance (do not recommend). I have no power at the hen house, so forced air via fan is not an option for me. It may assist your efforts however. Careful of your air flow patterns that you don't create a draft where your birds roost.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,666
27,347
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
I was going to jump in on this, as I've had success in 90F+ degree heat and high humidity with breeds (like CornishX and Dark Brahma) not considered well suited to it,

My Light Brahmas don't seem to suffer either.

It seems that the same thick feathers that protect them from the cold also protect them from the heat.
 

Bluskeeper2020

In the Brooder
Dec 10, 2020
5
27
36
Here is your Arizona state thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/arizona-chickens.31227/

I'm in the steamy southeast, where the issue is heat combined with humidity rather than your oven-like dry heat, but IMO, the key factors are:

Choose suitable breeds. Most hatchery catalogs include heat and cold tolerance in the information they give you about different chickens. Also, if you choose chicks from a hatchery/breeder located in a similar climate you can be more confident that they can tolerate your conditions.

Ventilation, Ventilation, Ventilation: The more airflow the better in the heat. The open air concept is particularly valuable for hot-climate people, with at least one wall of the coop made of wire. This is a great thread on a coop in Texas: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/texas-coop-build-pic-heavy.1371038/#post-22557467

Shade: Natural shade from vegetation is best, but in places where that's not available artificial shade of any kind is good. I put up a picnic fly over my small coop. Some people put up beach umbrellas. Some people cover their runs with shade cloth. Some people build little shade structures or even go as simple as a pallet up on concrete blocks.

Water: Lots and lots of water freely available all the time from multiple sources in case one fails.

There are some additional options available beyond the basics:

Access to ground they can dig in: Because it's cooler below the surface of the soil. On the shady side of the coop where I'd pilled up pine straw and dried grass clippings my flock dug holes deep enough to about bury themselves for dustbathing and loafing.

Electrolytes: Some consider this a key factor, others don't find it necessary. Offer one or more times a week according to the conditions but don't offer it as the only source of hydration because the taste may put the chickens off drinking enough. Imagine if you had only Gatorade to drink and never got regular water. :)

Wading Pools: Shallow tubs of water for chickens to walk in.

Ice Blocks: Either frozen to add to the waterer in order to keep the water cool or offered in a tub so that the chickens can either drink the cool water or stand/sit on the ice.

Misters: More valuable in your dry climate than my humid climate (where adding water to the air is more likely to increase the misery than decrease it). There are all sorts of models available or you can put a dial a setting nozzle on your garden hose to mist the area by hand for short-term relief.

Frozen Treats: Peas, berries, chunks of melon, whathaveyou. Can get expensive and you have to watch quantities so as not to unbalance your chickens' nutrition. I don't use this, except for when I toss some freezer-burned cooked meat into the pen still frozen.

I've probably missed a couple options. I personally didn't feel the need to go beyond the once a week electrolytes. As a matter of livestock-keeping philosophy I don't want to have breeds that require extraordinary measures to keep them healthy and would only start providing ice if we got temperatures significantly above our normal 95F with 95% humidity.
Thank you for this info. These are great things to know and with the dry heat here I'm going to have to use a few of these. Going to start building a small 4 x 4 coop as soon as I find a link with a good complete plan to go from.
 

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