Chicken Health / Chickens

Beating the Heat

Recessive white EO cockerel panting in the heat in the shade under the coop

Shade and water.  When it’s hot, the most important things to provide for the birds are shade and water.  Thankfully, there is always a part of my runs which are in shade.  There are a few hours during high summer afternoons where the trees cast no shadows in the runs, but the coops do so there is respite.  Rosie’s section of the run had no shade, but the tarp which keeps the rain off of her coop also blocks the sun during these hot afternoons.

GNHs playing in the shade

Chickens, like dogs, do not sweat, so they pant.  You’ll also see a hot chicken holding its wings away from its body to cool down.

When Henny was a pullet – holding her wings away from her body

I usually just have one nipple waterer hanging in each coop, but when the days are hot, I like to provide a few tubs of cool water to drink or wade in.  I also like to mix their food with cold water to present as a mid-day treat, and I change their water more often.

Rosie digging a cool place to lay for her chicks

They love the shade under their coop and often dig down to find cooler dirt.  Mama Rosie is actively digging to make a  cool place for her and her chicks to sit on this summer afternoon.

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3 thoughts on “Beating the Heat

  1. Great Ideas. I sometimes hose the walls of the tractors and movable coops to keep the temps down. And I spray the water hose into their dustbath holes or onto any shady grass. Usually after half an hour someone will be laying in the hole or in the cooler shade!

    I have an old floor fan for at night if they all roosting with their wings out like Henny too. We have had it on quite a bit lately!

    • Those are great ideas as well. They do love cool, wet dirt! If I had electricity up at the coop, I would give a fan a try. So far, we’ve been lucky to have pretty cool nights despite the hot days.

  2. It’s hot here too! Opened up the windows in the hen house for some evening cross ventilation. They’re roosted up w/ wings out.
    What lovely hens Heather.
    *anna

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