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15 Ways to Keep Chickens Cool in Hot Summer Weather

Oh boy, grab your fans and ice packs, folks, because we’re discussing the hot topic of keeping your chickens cool when the mercury rises. Yes, you guessed it—we’re talking about chickens in the scorching summer heat. Is that even a thing here in Western NY?!

15 Ways to Keep Chickens Cool in Hot Summer Weather

Before we get into it, here is a quick word on why this matters: Chickens can suffer from heat stress just like us. The only difference is that they can’t whip out a fan or turn on the AC.

Imagine wearing a down jacket in July. Not fun, right? If your chickens are panting, looking lethargic, or spreading their wings away from their bodies, they’re probably too hot.

Some Signs your chickens are in heat distress:

  • Panting or open-mouthed breathing
  • Lethargy or lack of movement
  • Spreading wings away from body
  • Droopy combs and wattles
  • Decreased egg production or abnormal-shaped eggs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale comb and wattles (can be a sign of dehydration)
  • Diarrhea or watery droppings

If you notice any of these signs, taking action quickly is important to help your chickens cool down and prevent heat exhaustion.

So, let’s explore ways you can keep your chickens cool in hot summer weather.

15 Ways to Keep Chickens Cool in Hot Summer Weather

Keeping Your Cool (And Theirs)

Here are 15 actionable tips that have personally saved my sanity—and my chickens’—during those sweltering months. Fair warning: Some of these might seem like common sense, but common sense can fly out the window like a hen escaping bath time in the summer heat.

Shade, Glorious Shade: Trees, awnings, or a strategically placed umbrella can work wonders. If Mother Nature hasn’t blessed you with natural shade, get creative! Your chickens will thank you.

Adequate Ventilation is Key: Consider it the coop’s cooling system. Windows, vents, or a good old-fashioned fan can help. Ensure the ladies aren’t in a draft; it’s a fine line between a gentle breeze and an unwanted gust.

15 Ways to Keep Chickens Cool in Hot Summer Weather

Frozen Treats Galore: Ice-cold watermelon is the chicken’s popsicle. Chop some up and watch them go to town. It’s entertainment and hydration wrapped in one juicy package. You can even use blocks of ice for the chickens to peck at.

It has been popular on Pinterest to freeze corn into ice cube trays and then give it to the chickens to peck at. Sometimes, I’ll throw ice cubes into the smaller coops for the chickens, too, but it helps to have something for them to see and peck at within the ice.

15 Ways to Keep Chickens Cool in Hot Summer Weather

Hydration Station Upgrade: Speaking of water, ensure those waterers are in the shade and add some ice cubes to keep the water cool.

Consider setting up multiple drinking stations to prevent hot-headed queueing. We use a kiddie pool for all the animals on the homestead, which is easier for everyone to drink water from.

The Mud Bath Spa: A shallow area with cool dirt can be perfect for your chickens to cool down. They’ll roll, dig, look ridiculous, and love every second. This is also known as a dust bath for chickens. Dust baths keep your chickens clean from mites and other bugs.

I also use diatomaceous earth in the coop and other pens in the barn all year round. Read this to learn how to make a perfect chicken dust bath.

Coop Design Tweaks: If your coop feels like a sauna, it’s time for a makeover. White or light-colored paint can reflect heat, and adding windows can increase airflow.

Nighttime Airflow: Remember those cooler evening breezes. Securely opening parts of the coop to let in the night air can significantly lower temperatures. A

The Frozen Bottle Trick: Freeze water bottles and place them around the coop or run. Your chickens might snuggle up against them, or at worst, they’ll be utterly confused but cooler, nonetheless.

Early Bird Gets the Worm: Shift your chickens’ heavy eating to cooler morning and evening hours. Eating generates body heat, so keep the noontime snacks light and breezy.

New to raising chickens? Grab my favorite Chicken Keeping Binder here.

Avoid Overcrowding: Nothing raises the temperature like a packed coop. Make sure there’s enough room for all your birds to spread out, especially during the night.

15 Ways to Keep Chickens Cool in Hot Summer Weather

Elevated Roosts: Heat rises, so consider installing roosts at varying heights, allowing your chickens to choose their preferred sleeping altitude.

Water Misters: If you live in an exceptionally dry area, setting up a mister can dramatically reduce temperatures. Just be mindful of creating too much humidity. The solar bird misters are pretty cool, and you can grab them on Amazon.

Limit Handling: We all love to cuddle our chickens, but extra handling can increase their stress and body temperature. Save the love for cooler days.

Health Check: Watch your birds for signs of heat stress. Early detection can prevent a small issue from becoming a disaster.

Community Pool: Okay, maybe not a pool, but a shallow dish where they can wade can be a real game-changer. Just change the water frequently to keep it clean and cool.

I learned some of these tips from fellow chicken enthusiasts, and a few were born from desperate innovation (necessity is the mother of invention, after all). Each summer brings new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow alongside your flock.

Your turn! I want to hear your tips, tricks, and hilarious fails regarding keeping your chickens cool. Drop your stories and suggestions in the comments below. Together, we can ensure our chickens have the coolest summer yet.

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