Keeping Your Chickens Cool in the Summer
Many places during the summer experience high temperatures. Just in case some of you are in those hot places, here are some tips and tricks to help you deal with your chickens in the heat. Chickens are quite hardy but we have to help them along occasionally.
Chickens are pretty good at fending off the cold, but the heat they don’t as have many mechanisms to cool down. The comb and wattle serves to help cool the blood down by passing the flow of blood through the fleshy part. This acts as a sort of radiator to dissipate the heat. Cooling the blood down cools the birds internal temperature down.
Temperatures very much above 80 can get chickens to start panting. It is said that this exchange of air in this manner cools the blood throughout the length of their neck. Another method chickens naturally try to cool down is digging a small pit in the shade and lying in the cool earth. Coming from the jungles of southeast Asia, chickens naturally have some means to deal with excessive heat. Centuries of selective breeding have created breeds that are less tolerant than others however.
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 on the roof can help. Double walling (2 layers of roof with an inch or two between the layers) the roof will help also. Creating this channel for hot air to rise and pull in cooler air between the ‘airfoil’ helps keep air moving and insulates against the sun. This doesn’t 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 from the bottom. This moving layer of air keeps from heating up the inside of the coop quite so much. It acts as a layer of insulation between the beaming sun and the inside of the coop.
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 their 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.