Episode 2 – In this episode of the Online Chicken School Podcast, we offer some tips on for helping your flock deal with the heat of summer.

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Show Notes

Sadie is not happy anout the lampshade.

Sadie is not happy about the lampshade.

Our Dogs

We have three dogs on our little farm that help keep predators away from the chickens. Max is the adult of the group, Sadie is our six month old Mountain Cur, and Shep is our ten week old Australian Shepherd/Catahoula mix. Sadie just recently returned from the vet after getting fixed and she is having a tough time dealing with the cone and having to be caged so that she won’t run and jump and risk opening her incision.

 

Helping Chickens with the Heat of Summer [06:45]

Goldie Hen likes cool yogurt a little too much.

Goldie Hen likes her cool yogurt a little too much.

It seems like we just finished an incredibly cold winter… there were days it got down to 60º here on the Suncoast! But temperatures are rising and it is time to get your summer strategy in place to help your chickens deal with the heat this summer.

Some chicken breeds are great at dealing with hot weather, namely Brahma, Catalina, Cubalaya, Minorca, Naked Neck, New Hampshire, Penedesenca, and Rhode Island. Others will vary in their ability to deal with the heat but can certainly benefit from your help.

Panting is a sure sign of overheating, as is holding their wings away from their bodies.

Here are some things you can do to help with the heat:

Provide Shade [09:25]
If your chickens spend their day in a chicken tractor or a fixed run area, make sure there are plenty of shady areas so they can get out of direct sunlight.

For pastured chickens, be sure that your pasture areas have shady spots. If there are no trees, create your own shade structure with a tarp.

Clean Cool Water [11:38]
Regardless of the time of year, your chickens should never run out of clean water to drink. During the summer, expect their water consumption to go up.

Remember that their drinking water will become whatever temperature the air is around the water container. If you can make the water cooler, it will be more refreshing for your birds and will help them cool down. Regular ice cubes melt very quickly, making them useless after a short time in the heat of summer. Large blocks of ice, however, can last a while and keep your chickens’ water cool and refreshing.

Simply make larger blocks of ice on old Tupperware or plastic containers at night and add them to the water in the morning. You can also freeze water bottles and toss them into your waterers. At night, remove the water bottles and put them in the freezer again so they will be ready the next morning.

Add Electrolytes to Drinking Water [14:00]
You can find electrolyte powders to add to your chickens’ drinking water at any farm supply store and online at any poultry supply site.

The electrolytes are like Gatorade for chickens, and they will help them deal with the heat.

Increase Ventilation [14:10]
Fans help keep the air circulating in your coop or chicken tractor. Fans are inexpensive and come in all sizes to fit coops from the biggest to the smallest.

Run an extension cord out to your chicken tractor to provide power. Make sure you place fans in a place where they won’t get wet if it rains!

You can also improve ventilation by replacing some solid doors and panels on your coop with screened panels. You will have to look carefully at your coop design to figure out how to do this, but it isn’t a bad idea to have one set of doors and a few panels for winter and then swap them out for better ventilated ones in the summer. Make sure that any screened panels are screened securely with 1/2″ hardware cloth to make sure predators don’t have easier access to your coops.

Misters and Sprinklers [17:00]
For a real ‘Club Med’ feel, place some water misters in the chicken run. If your chickens aren’t locked up in a run all day, use a water sprinkler in their pasture to let them play in.

Rather than leave the water run all day, use a water timer to have the misters or sprinkler come on during the hottest time of the day.

Frozen Fruit & Veggie Snacks [19:12]
Freeze some fresh fruit or veggie scraps to give the chickens as a snack. Even room temperature fruits and veggies will digest easier than corn and grain based treats, which can help keep their body temps down.

 

Final Thoughts [20:08]

We hope you find this information helpful. Let us know what you do to help keep your chickens cool.

If you enjoy the show, consider giving us a rating on iTunes!

 

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