Keeping Chickens Healthy in the Summer Months
From mild summer weather to harsher conditions, it's important to take special care of your feathered friends. While certain chicken breeds fair better in heat or cold than others, you can't always rely on the breed's natural defenses to be enough. And even if you enjoy the mildest conditions, beware the summer pests!
I live in St. Louis, Missouri where we get to enjoy very hot and humid summers, with below freezing temperatures in the winters. Extreme conditions like these mean I am always paying attention to how my flock is acting.
During the summer heat, I have found the following suggestions to be especially helpful:
- Check your flock's water twice a day as they will be drinking more, and the heat evaporates their supply more quickly.
- Keep scum and buildup in the water to a minimum by utilizing a product such as Water Protector.
- Ensure they have plenty of shaded area available to them. If you don't have a covered run, pull a tarp or drop-cloth over a fenced corner or temporary supports.
- Make sure your coop has proper ventilation.
- Provide cold, moisture-rich treats such as fresh or frozen fruit. I like to buy large watermelons on sale, cut them in half or fourths and stick them in the freezer.
- Collect eggs as often as possible.
Whether summer heat is a concern for you or not, one seasonal issue shared by all poultry owners is pests! Flies, lice and mites are the most common culprits during the Spring and Summer months. To prevent an infestation in your flock, observe the following:
- Provide areas where your chickens can take dirt/dust baths.
- Keep chicken coops and runs clean with fresh bedding.
- Regularly spray your coop, run and birds with a safe product such as Poultry Protector.
So enjoy your summer vacations, outdoor grilling, swimming pools and fireworks - just don't forget to provide the proper summer care for your flock!