InTheMarket.ie Guide to Keeping Chickens in Summer

InTheMarket.ie Guide to Keeping Chickens in Summer

Chickens are like us…they are affected by the seasons and what is happening around them. In the vast majority of cases, they are not housed in insulated coops or buildings that can regulate the temperature and keep them cool in Summer and warm in Winter.

Hens in the back garden require defense against intense heat. Hens that lack the ability to sweat can quickly become overheated and die from high temperatures. The three most essential requirements for keeping chickens happy in the summer are shade, water, and ventilation. Birds may live in periods of high heat with the help of additional cooling, such as ice blocks and misters.

We sometimes forget about animals and the affect that the sun can have on them. We tend to think that just because their skin is not exposed to the sun, that they are not affected at all. Due to their thick feathers, most chickens do not suffer but if they are moulting or have a bald patch, then they can receive a burn.

A red and white chicken coop

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                      Egg Centre Coop

Chickens have been known to sunbath and you can find them sprawled out on the ground with their wings open, laying on their side for maximum sun exposure. They are warm blooded animals and this can regulate their temperature. They of course get Vitamin D and it can also regulate their egg production, as well as even controlling pests.

A hen who is merely “hot” may be noticed faintly panting, but otherwise will act normally. A hen experiencing mild to moderate heat stress could pant more vigorously. To help heat escape through the unfeathered areas under her wings, she may also hold her wings away from her body and stoop slightly, but otherwise she will behave normally. Although there may not be any immediate risk to these chickens, this is a warning that further cooling measures for the flock as a whole should be implemented to avoid heat exhaustion.

An overheated hen will be panting profusely and hold her wings away from her body. She may be weak, sluggish, or unconscious, with pale wattles and a comb. When a chicken displays these signs, it is in immediate risk of passing out from heat exhaustion and needs to be rapidly chilled. Place her somewhere cool until she is fully healed, and submerge her body in a pail of cool (not frigid) water up to her neck (not her head).

Here are our Top Tips

  1. Provide plenty of shade: Chickens can get heatstroke easily, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of shade. You can use trees, tarps, or even umbrellas to create shade for your chickens.
  • Keep their water cool: Chickens need plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated in the summer heat. You can add ice cubes to their water or even freeze some fruit or vegetables in ice cubes for a fun treat.
  • Provide a dust bath: Chickens love to take dust baths, and it’s a great way for them to cool off in the summer heat. You can create a dust bath area for your chickens by filling a shallow container with sand or dirt.
  • Give them frozen treats: Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great way to keep your chickens cool and happy in the summer heat. You can freeze berries, melons, or even corn on the cob for a fun treat.
  • Keep their coop well-ventilated: It’s important to keep your chicken coop well-ventilated in the summer heat. You can use fans or open windows to create a breeze and keep the air flowing.
  • Provide plenty of fresh food: Chickens need plenty of fresh food in the summer heat. You can give them fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden or even plant some herbs that they can eat.
  • Keep their bedding clean: Clean bedding is important for your chicken’s health and happiness. You should clean their coop regularly and replace their bedding as needed.

See our Full Collection of Chicken Coops Here

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