Summer is in full swing. Temperatures are in the 90s, and people are looking for shade. What better time to chill with your chickens in the backyard? Just, make sure your chickens have ways to stay cool, too.
Dehydration is the first sign of possible heat-related problems. Just like humans, chickens' electrolytes become unbalanced when dehydrated. It is a good idea to add electrolytes to their water to lessen the impact of dehydration.
Make sure their water is cold. Cold water helps regulate a chicken's temperature so keep it readily available during hot weather. You may need to change the water periodically to keep it cold.
To keep chickens hydrated, place berries in water and freeze overnight. Set the frozen treats out the next day. The chickens will peck at the ice and berries, creating another way to keep them hydrated.
Make sure the chickens have a shady place to rest. If possible, construct their coop to provide ventilation. You could consider placing a fan in their coop, but only operate it in the daytime when you are at home.
Reduce the bedding in the coop to a minimum. Thick bedding acts as an insulator, holding heat in the coop.
You can mist the chickens and the coop. If misting isn't enough, you can wet down the coop and create cold water puddles for the chickens to walk through to cool off.
Leave the chickens alone as much as possible. Chickens generate heat when they interact with other chickens and with humans. In close quarters that could significantly increase the surrounding temperature.
Cut back on hard to digest foods. Chickens generate heat when they digest their food. The harder their system works the more heat it generates.
See if your chickens like to swim. Fill a kiddie pool with an inch or two of cold water. Watch them jump in, or not.
As you look for ways to stay cool when the temperatures rise, remember these tips for keeping your chickens cool.