We have had such a strangely mild summer here in Oklahoma, but I know that other areas of the country have suffered in extreme heat. I gave you some tips for keeping chickens cool last summer, but I thought I’d expand on that list a bit this year.
Big Ice Cubes
Last year I suggested that you drop frozen water bottles into your chicken waterer, but since then I found what I think is an even better way. I freeze water in Solo type cups and use those as ice cubes for both my waterers and my chickens’ wading pool. The large chunks keep the water cooler longer, like the frozen water bottles did, but they don’t take up extra room, reducing the capacity of the waterer like frozen water bottles do.
Year round I keep a Tupperware bowl in my fridge to put kitchen scraps in for the chickens. I put in vegetable and fruit peelings and cores, wilted lettuce, and leftovers that I know we won’t finish. In the summertime I usually put in a few extra summertime treats like some mint sprigs from the garden or a handful of berries or melon cubes. The rest of the year, I just take the scraps out each morning to throw to the chickens, but when it’s really hot I add water to it before bed and stick it in the freezer. The next afternoon, I run a little warm water over the bottom of the bowl, and pop out the “flock-sicle” to take to my chickens. The love it!
Don’t forget the basics!
I know I’ve said it before. I know that it’s common sense. But I just have to remind you that more than anything else in the summer your chickens need three things.
- Fresh Air – Be sure your coop has adequate ventilation.
- Shade – Be sure your chickens have access to shady areas inside the coop and out all day.
- Fresh Water – Be sure there is an abundance of fresh water at all times.
And watch for signs of heat stress which include panting, holding wings away from their body, and a pale comb. If you see those things, consider taking measures to cool them down, either from this post or the one I linked above.