CREATIVE Ways to Cool Your Chickens Off In Summer
Picture this! It’s a hot summer day, and your chickens are nowhere to be found. Looking around for them, you discover they have all retreated to their coop where they’re all kicked back chilling with the AC on. Oh, wait. That’s not the chickens, that’s YOU!
Putting all humor aside, chickens and hot weather don’t mix too well. Chickens don’t do well with high temperatures. They would LOVE to have an air-conditioned coop in the summer!
Heat stress becomes a health emergency for chickens that have no way to cool off.
We’re going to give you some NIFTY ideas on how to keep chickens cool during the summer. Are you ready to get creative?
Why Can’t Chickens Tolerate High Temperatures?
Chickens can tolerate cold weather much better than hot weather. They have no way to sweat like we do to cool off. Their only means of heat relief is through their combs, wattles, feet, and of course, whatever you provide for them.
Contributing Factors That Make a Chicken Susceptible to Heat-Related Illness/Death Include:
- Size – Large breeds are more prone to overheating.
- Age – As chickens grow older, they can easily succumb to heat.
- Climate-Specific Breed – Heat-tolerant breeds do better in heat compared to heat-intolerant breeds.
- Dehydration – Lack of access to fresh water.
- Density of Feathers – Breeds with heavy feathering are more prone to overheat.
- Environmental – Lack of cooling systems (shade, misters, fans, etc.)
- Climate – High humidity, high temperature, and no wind flow cause heat stress and death in chickens.
How Hot Is Too Hot For Chickens?
Well, a chicken’s temperature averages about 106 degrees (F.) When temperatures start to begin to reach 75-80 degrees (F), it’s time to employ cooling strategies.
Heat Tolerant Chicken Breeds
Ideally, we should choose breeds of chickens that are suitable for the climate we live in. We have a list of breeds that tolerate heat fairly well but remember, they too can easily overheat.
|Andalusian||Barred Plymouth Rock||Brahma||Buttercup|
|Leghorn||Minorca||Naked Neck||New Hampshire|
Signs and Symptoms of Overheating in Chickens
Overheated chickens can easily fall victim to heat stress. How do you know if your chickens are overheating?
We truly hope you never have to handle heat stress in your chickens, but at least you’ll know what to look for and what preventative measures you can take to avoid it.
- Rapid panting with beak open
- Neck is hyper-extended
- Wings are angled away from the body
- Changes in egg-laying; no eggs, quality of eggs changes
- Pale coloring in combs and wattles
If you notice any of these symptoms, act quickly! So, how do you cool down chickens if they become overheated?
Emergency Treatment for an Overheated Chicken
The best thing to do for any overheated chicken is to get it cooled down quickly. Remember, we don’t want to cause MORE stress for your chicken. The least stressful way to cool your chicken is to take it indoors where it’s cool or wet it down.
Consult with your vet before you attempt to administer electrolytes. Too much, and you’ll end up harming your chicken!
- Take the overheated chicken indoors.
- Place it in a crate or box in a quiet room.
- Place a fan near the crate/box and turn it on low to cool the chicken down.
- Allow the chicken to quietly rest. Check in on it after an hour or so.
- If it appears to be better, take it back outdoors.
- Be sure to provide a way for your chickens to stay cool.
Cooling with Water
- Pick the overheated chicken up and place it in water.
- Pour cool water over the chicken’s entire body, especially its feet.
- Use a water hose. Be careful using a water hose. In the summer, the water coming out of a hose is hot.
- Take chicken indoors and place them in the sink or bathtub.
Avoid Heat Stress
- Pay close attention to the temperature gauge. When temperatures start going up, be prepared to act!
- Prevent heat stress by having a plan on how you’ll cool your chickens off.
CREATIVE Ways to Cool Your Chickens Off
Your chickens will LOVE you if you set up a cooling station. If your flock is large, multiple cooling stations are highly suggested. You can get as creative as you want in creating your “makeshift chook waterpark!”
Keep in mind that the coop acts like an oven in the summer. Please don’t expect your chickens to shelter inside their coop during the heat. Provide fans or misters in the coop for hens sitting on eggs.
Three Things Chickens Need to Stay Cool in the Summer
- Air Flow
Using a timer for your chicken’s misters and/or wading pools is a godsend, so you aren’t running back and forth, turning the water off and on. They can be purchased at your local hardware store or online.
Always ensure your chickens have fresh, cool drinking water.
Chickens drink a LOT when they are hot.
They won’t drink warm water and, because of this, they quickly become dehydrated.
Your chickens will enjoy wading and dunking themselves in a kiddie pool or small container of water they can easily get in and out of.
If you don’t have a kiddie pool, you can always set up a garden sprinkler!
|Misters for Chickens
Misters are a MUST for anyone that has chickens.
Your chickens are like little kids…they love frozen treats on a hot day too.
We have some AMAZING ways to serve up some chilly treats for your chickens.
Fans and Ventilation
Your coop quickly becomes an oven when summer temperatures climb. The temperature inside a coop will be hotter than outside.
Try a DIY air conditioning system!
Place a fan in the coop to circulate the air and cool it off. Placing a plastic tub or large bowl of ice in front of the running fan helps to cool things off.
We talk more about the importance of keeping your coop ventilated here.
Providing some form of shade for your chickens is a MUST. Temperatures in the shade are 10-15 degrees (F) cooler!
- Planting shade trees
- Repurposed vintage bed springs hung up with plant vines intermingled
- Hang a tarp or sheet
- Wood Pallet Lean-To
- Pop-up Canopies
- DIY Adjustable Cover
- Garden Plant Tee Pee
The Last “Cluck…”
So, are you ready to get outside and play in the water with your feathered friends?
You may find that sitting in the mister with them on a hot summer day is the best!
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