Keeping the girls cool in hot weather

Rex Mom

In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 10, 2009
Castro Valley,CA
Hello everyone,

Since I am new at this hobby I figured I'd throw this out to all the pro's out there. It's about 83 degrees out today and while I do have shade cloth over my run it is still warm enough for the girls to be panting. I put a big bowl of ice and water out for them in the shade but so far they are avoiding it. Any tips on keeping them cool in the heat? Thank you in advance~

My chicks won't even go outside when its hot. They stay in their coop where its actually hotter. I'll try the frozen milk jug idea. I put a fan in there hoping that would help.
We are also having a heat wave, temps in the high 90s with humid just as bad. We are using frozen watermellon and they love it. We slice them lengthwise in quarters and score them and then in the freezer. Frozen treats that they eat up and it cools them down. Read about it here and it is working good for us.
Mid-90s and very humid here like a steam room so heat index is 105 F. Tomorrow, it is supposed to be 100 F and humid so heat index even higher. It is staying over 80 F past midnight. It is real hard on my birds.

I am running three fans 24/7, one fan is running across the roosts all night. I am putting frozen soda bottles (ice) in their waterers. I have plenty of permanent shade. I do not bother them except in the early morning. I have 2 broody hens I need to bust up but I can't spare the fans to put on their (busting) cages & they'd be too hot otherwise so they are having to sit & wait to be busted.

Tomorrow, I am going to place water hose pipe at a trickle into the run so they can stand in the water puddles to cool off.

This is only June. Our hottest month is August but this is already feeling like August! Imagine what could happen in August or even July (which is hotter than June). The hens aren't laying as well in this heat.
Fans are essential. Run a electric cord to your coop if you have to.

Place a kiddie pool in the run with about 1 to 2 inches of water in it.

They will eventually find it. If not for a drink at the very least.

Change your water in your waterers EVERY DAY no matter what.

Force them out of the coop if you have to. Chickens are dumb and they will choose shade over a lower temperature.
This is why about 1/4 of the north wall and fully 1/2 of the south wall of my coop are hardware cloth. (For some reason, the winds here are mainly north to south.) Easy enough to erect a draft barrier for the few cold days we have. I also have a box fan running 24/7 in this weather. My chickens stay in the coop much of the day, but with this air exchange, it is cooler in there than out in the sun. I change the water morning and night.

Not convinced that ice cold drinking water will help them. In people, warm drinks work better in the heat. If you drink something cold, your body puts out heat to warm it to body temp. If you drink something hot, it puts the body's cooling mechanism to work, to cool the hot drink. Seems odd to drink coffee in summer and iced tea in winter, but it actually makes more sense than the reverse.

Need to find a small wading pool and put a few inches of water and a couple of frozen milk jugs in, though.
I thought of this too and did try the ice jugs and the chickens are happy, but I thought to my self... what about farmers 100 years ago? I do no think they were hauling ice jugs out to the hen house/run?

So I opted to give the chickens fresh water every day in the morning and add ice on blistering days.

Chickens have survived for a looooong time with out ice in the coops/runs. Its a nice idea... but I do not think they will die without it.
I am hoping for a not too hot summer and an early fall.......
Thanks for a great idea! I am in the process of designing my coop right now. I don't want to be one of those people who ends up building because they have a "great idea," only to have a greater idea a few days later, followed by another brainstorm, followed finally by an epiphany ... you get the picture and I'm sure a lot of you have been there. I can see how easy it would be to do!

I am in Southwest Florida and it is very hot and humid. Keeping a full wall open is a risk because of all the afternoon thunderstorms. I may have to erect some sort of large awning system ... and the wheels are turning again. Ideas ideas ideas! Anyway, thanks for the great thread. I'll keep you posted on how we beat the heat down here!

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