As a backyard chicken owner, you already know your chickens are “cool.” But things can change quickly when the summer temperatures rise. With a core body temperature of 104 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit and a blanket of down feathers, chickens are not as great at adapting to warmer temperatures as they are to cooler winter months.

This summer make sure they stay cool, comfortable, and safe by following these must-know backyard chicken tips.

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Tip #1: Keep them hydrated. Just like us, chickens need to stay hydrated to keep themselves cool and healthy. If they do not have easy access to cool, fresh, quality water, they are less likely to eat and lay eggs — therefore, ensure they drink up! We recommend adding more waterers around your backyard or perhaps putting large blocks of ice or frozen water bottles in them to keep the water cooler longer. Tip: A good rule of thumb to ensure your chickens are receiving the hydration they need is to provide 500 milliliters of freshwater per bird per day.

Tip #2: Keep their coop cool. Providing your chickens with the right type of shelter and environment is crucial during the summer months. We suggest starting with your coop. Evaluate ways in which ventilation can be improved. Some of our ideas include switching out any solid doors with screen doors, avoid overcrowding, opening any windows and vents, adding fans, and keeping the lights off during the day. Remember though, chickens are always suspectable to predators, so make sure their safety is also a priority.

Tip #3: Provide shade. If chickens spend the majority of their day in the backyard roaming or are confined to a run, ensure you are creating shaded areas in your backyard using tarps and cloths. You can also add misters to these locations to help cool the air.

Tip #4: Feed your flock with the nutrients they need. The summer heat can reduce appetites and feed intake. Therefore, it is important that your flock is receiving the nutrients they need through high-quality chicken feed before enjoying any special summer snacks. Our non-GMO Backyard Chicken Grower/Starter Feed and Layer Feed are both excellent options that provide the proper nutrients, protein, and energy balance your flock needs. Tip: We suggest feeding your flock in a shaded area to help stimulate their appetites.

Tip #5: Know how to spot a chicken in distress. On days where the temperatures are high, take extra precautions and ensure you understand how to spot a chicken in distress. A chicken suffering from the heat may display a variety of symptoms. These can include labored breathing, pale comb and wattles, seizures/convulsions, and unresponsiveness. If this happens, submerge the chicken from their neck down in cool water for a few minutes to help lower their body temperature.

If you’re still learning about what it takes to take care of and nurture your chickens, learn more about flock management on our website or visit our blog.

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Purina Backyard Poultry: Summer Flock Care: How to Keep Chickens Cool

Hobby Farms Chickens: When the Heat is On: Keep Your Chickens Cool in Summer