Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Keeping Chickens Cool when it's HOT!

The past few days at our new house have been super hot.  We haven't built the permanent chicken run yet, so my girls have a make-shift run in the back of the yard where there isn't a lot of shade in the heat of the afternoon.

I think most people don't realize chickens handle the cold much better than they handle the heat. Here in Pennsylvania it gets really humid when it's hot, so my poor girls really pant in the afternoon.  Here are a few ideas I have come up with to keep them cool.

  1. This is the most important, and almost a duh: they must always have access to water. In intense heat, a chicken can go downhill really fast if they don't have access to clean water.
  2. Secondly, they should have some shade that isn't the chicken coop. I've found that coops get super hot because of a lack of circulation.  Even well ventilated coops can get really hot on the hottest days.  If your birds aren't situated under trees or some other shade, get them a tarp or a shade umbrella.
  3. Try freezing a cup of water in a disposable plastic cup.  On hot days around noon, I replace their water, and drop this huge chunk of ice in.  It only stays cold for about an hour, but they drink up the cold water gratefully.
  4. Refrigerated watermelon is also a nice afternoon treat.  It's cold, and full of water and should help them beat the heat.
  5. Frozen berries are also a great treat. They take some time for them to get into so it's also a good boredom buster.  Cold, sweet yummy treats on a hot day.  Yes, please?

During really hot days, chicken stool may be more lose than usual.  This is possibly due to all the extra water they are drinking.  When chickens are working on staying cool, they will pant, and pull their wings away from their body.  This is all healthy behavior, but be on the look out for droopy behavior, or pale comb and wattles.  If you see this, give your chicken a dip in a cool bucket of water.  

What are your ideas to keep your chickens cool on these hot summer days?


  1. Great tips! I do all of these things. Whenever I see any of my girls looking especially hot, I will get a pan of cold water and make them stand in it for a while to cool them off. They also like it when I run the hose for a while in their run to give them puddles to play in :)

    Your chickens are so cute!

    1. Thanks...it's so silly how much I love those girls. My girls so far are terrified of a hose, but I think I could definitely add the pan of cold water to the list. :)

  2. Hi Kim, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris



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