Topic of the Week - Keeping Chickens Cool in Summer

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    38,616
    18,591
    1,172
    Jun 28, 2011
    Tipperary, Ireland
    400.jpg
    Pic by @tnt-ranch

    Summer time is a wonderful time, but with the sunshine and long days comes a potential hazard for our flocks: extreme heat. Chickens naturally wear a warm coat of feathers and can overheat easily, therefor it's essential that we provide means for them to cool down, if needed, and regulate their body temperatures. What do you all do to help your flocks beat the heat?


    For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Songster

    2,152
    394
    196
    Feb 15, 2017
    Texas
    Plenty of shade, and fresh cool water.
     
  3. MasAhora

    MasAhora Songster

    226
    124
    136
    Nov 20, 2016
    Paraguay
    Also try to minimise any hard surfaces eg pathways, concrete, that get full sun all day. These grab and radiate heat far more than grassy patches. Soil/dirt that goes hard and dry like concrete also grabs heat, dig it up a little, scatter leaf/garden litter and a bit of water late evening now and then, it helps some. A few shallow water bowls for wading/standing in is popular with some of my DP birds.
     
  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

    13,026
    45,823
    1,292
    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Hydration is key with my flock. Giving electrolytes in the water helps. When they are drinking more and eating less they can get out of balance.

    I also give mine watermelon.... Not to much mind you. They will tend to load up on it and have reduced protein intake because of that. I give half of a large watermelon for my 32 chickens twice a week during heat waves.
    I add electrolytes to two out of every three water dishes. They have the option then to not consume it.

    I get home from work, let the dogs out, set the hose to run in the run and get the third dog out. By the time the dogs are done with business the water has made a nice cool pool in the run. Most of my birds are standing in it and a couple actually lay in it.

    We get over 100* here for days on end. :barnie
     
  5. My chickens' run is of a light dry sandy dirt (more of a dust) and the few inches of straw I've added. Would it be a good idea to wet it down on hotter days (typically it's very dry and temps max out at around 95F - 100F). I'll have to take water over via a bucket so they won't get as much as if they had a hose.
     
  6. jeria

    jeria Songster

    1,390
    1,751
    236
    May 5, 2017
    Independence MO
    What do you use for shallow water dishes that the chickens can stand in? My run will be 8x10 and the small kiddie pools I've found would take up a lot of space. Summer can be really hot in MO and my coop in a yard with little shade though it and the run will have a roof topped with white metal roofing.
     
  7. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

    13,026
    45,823
    1,292
    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I would think pie pans, the old style roasting pans (I find them at second hand stores) or anything 2" deep or so will work well. In training them to use them you may need to set the bird in and gently control the chicken. It takes a very short time before they realize it feels kinda nice.
     
  8. I use one of the following as a feed bowl (found at Tractor Supply) and will probably get another for cooling water.

    13218.jpg
     
  9. jeria

    jeria Songster

    1,390
    1,751
    236
    May 5, 2017
    Independence MO
    Thanks, will start looking at thrift shops. The black rubber gets hot, we used to use them for feed buckets for the horses and goats, so wonder how well that would work for cooling.
     
    nenebynature and scottcaddy like this.
  10. MasAhora

    MasAhora Songster

    226
    124
    136
    Nov 20, 2016
    Paraguay
    I use terracotta bowls like the ones for under a large pot plant, large but fairly shallow, seems to do the trick. Metal or black is no good for my hot humid summers, even in shade metal heats up too much

    Also as of last summer, I now give them only fermented feed and I keep it quite wet - I think they possibly get hydration with probiotics.

    Mostly I try to avoid adding tasks to my day to keep them cool - shade/water/wet feed/cool dirt patches are things I can manage and be away for the day.

    Most of my chickens are built for heat, only a few are less heat tolerant varieties (so I have to accept a bit more effort for them as I chose them! Yes I've even laid a small wet towel on the coop floor for them near the pop door -they love it, but I hate the laundry!).
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: