Overheating is a serious issue for any animal and can be dangerous if gone unchecked. Since chickens don’t sweat, it can be difficult for them to cool down in high temperatures… Okay, you may not be a modern-day super hero who controls the weather patterns or anything like that but… Here are some fun things that you acctually can do to help them beat the heat!
Note: for more information on overheating in chickens, please reference my other article: How Hot is to Hot For Chickens?
Here are some fun ways for you to help your chickens stay cool!
Chickens love frozen goodies, particularly on hot summer days. Refrigerated fruits/vegetables can be a pleasant treat enough when the weather starts to get hot but frozen goodies are a bonus and aid significantly in dropping their little body temperatures. Good examples are: Frozen Melon (you can also put pieces of frozen melon in a dish full of water. This will keep chickens busy for a long time!) and frozen apple cores. However, chickens will go for just about any frozen fruit that they can peck away at. Some chickens will even go for just plain and simple crushed ice!
Chickens love this recipe! The neat thing is, it is simple, healthy, nutritionally balanced and hydrating. For the base in this recipe, all you need is pellet feed or crumble and tap water. Step one: Mix pellet/crumble feed with water (Your ratio for feed may differ depending on which feed you use but start with 1 part water, 1 part feed). Step 2: Let mixture sit until the pellets/crumble lose their shape and take on a creamy (not to thick or sticky) consistency (This should take 5-10 minutes). Step 3: refrigerate or freeze the mash until it is thoroughly cold but not frozen solid and feed it to the chickens! Optional: Throw in some wild bird seed or wheat berries for an added treat.
Mud Bath Spa:
Chickens love rolling around in moist soil when the temperature gets up there. For the chickens, it is not hard at all to create a refreshing spa. All you need is some soft/semi soft soil/dust (generally low in rock content preferred) located in the shade and some cool hose water.
Chickens can’t swim and generally don’t like being hosed down with water but they enjoy a place to cool their feet. For added effect, sprinkle grass clippings in the pool to keep the chickens busy, happily pecking and splashing away.
Lawn Sprinkler Party:
Chickens do not like being sprayed with the hose or being soaked in water. However, most chickens enjoy a gentle misting from time to time and will congregate near sprinklers when the temperature rises. If you have a partially shaded lawn, turn the sprinkler and let the chickens roam. The soggy turf and crisp, cool, freshly watered grass underfoot will delight any chicken’s senses.
Tarps can provide shade and may be better than direct sunlight. However, nothing can beat plant shade when it comes to staying cool. Opt for keeping your coop/run in the shade of trees/bushes and out of reach of the sun’s rays.
Have you ever noticed the drop in temperature after consuming a cold beverage? Frequently changing water and keeping it fresh and cool can do wonders to prevent overheating for chickens. When it gets really hot, just stock the chickens’ waterer with a few handfuls of ice to keep it cold and refreshing throughout the hot day.
For days when the chickens can’t roam free, try putting a drip hose in the chickens’ run or even just soaking the ground once or twice a day. This can make a huge difference. Just a cool ground to sit in or scratch in can keep chickens much cooler. Plus, as the water evaporates, it cools the air molecules close to the ground and provides a pocket of coolness near the ground (I.e where a chicken’s body level is).
Chickens’ combs and wattles are designed to regulate temperature. If chickens are panting with their wings spread away from their bodies, try lightly, gently misting their combs and wattles. Some chickens enjoy this but for others, it can be stressful. Stress results in the production of more body heat and is not healthy. In conclusion, if your chickens appear overly distressed, try another tactic to keep them cool.