Top 8 Tips for Keeping Your Backyard Chickens Cool in the Summer

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Summer Backyard Chickens Poultry Care

Well Memorial Day has come and gone and the summer heat is here to stay.  With that in mind, it is important to maintain a cool environment for your flock.  All across the country, temperatures for mid-summer can reach 90+ degrees with high humidity.  Although chickens are very adaptable to weather changes, they usually perform their best around 75 degrees and below.  Consistently high summer temperatures can cause your chickens to suffer from heat stress, overheating, or even stop their egg laying process.  For heavier breeds, extreme heat can even cause death.  Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to help combat the high summer temperatures.

In no particular order, here are the top 8 tips for keeping your chickens cool in the summer:

1)      Add electrolytes to their water: Electrolyte tablets are important for extreme heat and can prevent dehydration.  Manna Pro’s Life-Lytes MEGA TABS are easy-to-use and each tablet makes a gallon of vitamin/electrolyte solution for your chickens.  Life-Lytes MEGA TABS come in a bottle with 30 total tablets.

2)      Avoid foods such as corn and scratch: Corn and scratch require longer digestion processes, which creates more body heat.  Instead, feed your chickens fresh fruit and vegetables like watermelon to keep them cool.

3)      Keep cold water available 24/7: This tip is pretty self-explanatory, but maybe the most important.  The cold water will regulate the chicken’s body temperature and keep them cool. Make sure it is always available so your chickens can regulate water intake themselves.

4)      Install a fan in the coop: This tip isn’t always possible without messing up the structure of the coop.  However, if it is possible, a small fan can circulate air and keep your flock cooler in the summer months. Caution: Be very careful about electrical wiring exposure.  Accidents can occur if exposed wiring gets wet or if your chickens break the wiring

5)      Offer shade for chickens: Again, pretty self-explanatory, but it can make a huge difference.  Without shade, chickens won’t have any place of refuge to escape the heat.  You could add a small table over a corner of your coop for your chickens to rest and enjoy the shade.  In extreme heat, any small difference helps.

6)      Keep interaction with flock at a minimum: Interaction with your chickens causes them to be more active and create more heat.  On extremely hot days, try to leave your chickens alone and only check on them as necessary.

7)      Spray around the coop with cold water: Spraying around the coop and the roof can cause evaporative cooling for your chickens.  You can also create small pools of water for the chickens to wade in and keep themselves cool. 

8)      Offer frozen treats: Fill a large Tupperware container with berries and water and freeze overnight.  Leave the container out the next day for your chickens and they can pick at the frozen berries and stay cool.  You can also slice a watermelon in quarters and freeze for a similar result.   

So there are some tips for keeping your chickens cool during the hot summer months.  Always remember to monitor your chickens, as often you are the best judge of whether or not a chicken is suffering from excessive heat.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or message me directly on our Facebook page (Manna Pro Poultry). We are always interested in the behavior of your flocks and would love to hear any stories on how you have handled the summer heat with your chickens.

Do you have your own tips for keeping chickens cool in heated conditions?  Share them in the comments below!


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