Keeping the Chickens Cool This Summer

While we re not getting very high temps here in Seattle, there are quite a few places that are.  Just in case some of you are in those hot places like where I grew up, here are some tips and tricks to help you deal with your chickens in the heat.


Chickens are pretty good at fending off the cold, but the heat they dont have many mechanisms to cool down.  The comb and wattle serves to help cool the blood down by passing through the fleshy part.  Cooling the blood down cools the birds internal temperature (it shouldnt be 160 degrees internal unless they are in a roasting pan).

20110703-115615.jpgTemperatures much above 80 will likely get many chickens to start panting.  I have heard that this cools the blood through the neck but I am not sure as I havent researched that before.

Make sure they have fresh clean and cool water at all times.

Make sure there is sufficient airflow, wire floors should be clear, and deep bedding may be removed as it helps to insulate.

If temps are really high a sprinkler in the roof can help.  Double walling (2 layers of roof with an inch or two between the layers) the roof will help also.  Creating a channel for hot air to rise and pull in cooler air between the ‘airfoil’ helps keep air moving and insulates against the sun.  This doesnt work well on a flat roof but a shed roof or a roof with at least a slight angle upwards.  As heat rises it pulls in cooler air and keeps from heating up the inside of the coop quite so much.

Some like to freeze 2 liter bottle and lay them in the coop for the birds.

Feed your birds a smaller crumble instead of large pellets or whole kernel corn.  Save the whole kernel corn for the winter.  It warms thier bodies up digesting it.

Chickens that are way too hot can be taken indoors in a dog or cat crate temporarily.  Most times this isnt necessary but if they are in the sun without plenty of shade.

Let them free range and dig a depression in the cool ground.  This is one of teir favorite ways to cool down.  They will find a shady cool corner on their own the majority of times.  They scratch out a hole and lay in it.

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