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5 Easy Ways to Summerize your Chicken Run

Summer heat is rough on backyard chickens but you can easily "summerize" their run to create a more comfortable place to spend the hot days.

Summer can be tough on backyard chickens.

If left to free range, they'll naturally seek out the coolest spot they can - under bush, likely, where there's a nice cool breeze blowing.

So it makes sense that in order to "summerize" your chicken run, you'll want to mimic the conditions they would be able to find roaming your yard.

In the winter, I "winterize" my run.

That entails putting up plastic tarps as wind blocks, adding straw, logs and pallets on the ground to cover the snow and ice and setting up an electric dog water bowl to provide unfrozen water throughout the day.

5 Easy Ways to Summerize your Chicken Run

In the summer I do things a bit differently.

Provide Shade

Of course shade is important in the summer. Planting bushes and shrubs in and around your run is helpful, but I like putting up a shade cloth.

Easy to put up and move as needed as the sun moves, a shade cloth like the one above will provide a nice shady spot for your flock to hang out in the heat of the day.

By putting the shade cloth over the top of my run, I still allow a cool breeze to blow through the run from the sides, but block most of the sun's rays from above.

Keep the Water Cool

Providing cool water is also important in the summer.

Plenty of water stations should be set up in the run, especially if you're at work all day, to be sure everyone has access to as much water as they need.

Adding a few ice cubes or a block of ice, or even frozen berries and herbs to the water dish is a good idea if you will be away for much of the day.

Chickens will stop drinking if their water gets too warm.

Control Flies

Flies can spread disease and be a nuisance for your chickens and family, so keeping flies away from the coop and run is important.

Keeping the feed and water outside is the first step to controlling flies in the coop.

Regularly sprinkling food-grade diatomaceous earth on the ground around the feeders will do a great job at reducing the fly population safely and effectively.

Set up a Dust Bath Area

Much like pigs love to wallow in the mud on hot days, so do chickens. But chickens prefer dry dirt.

Just below the surface, the dirt is cool and refreshing, and wriggling around in the cool dirt is one way chickens stay cool in the summer, so be sure to set up a dust bath area for them in a shaded part of the run.

Provide Outdoor Nesting Areas

When it's hot outside, chances are it's even hotter inside the coop. Even the most well-ventilated chicken coop can get steamy during the summer.

So help your chickens out and set up some open-air outdoor nesting areas. You can use a basket or crate, a box or barrel.

Really just anything that allows them to lay their eggs outside in the shade where it's cooler.

A little nesting material (I LOVE these aspen nesting pads!), fresh herbs and edible flowers or some dried nesting herbs, and a quiet spot in the shade, and you've got a nice spot for egg-laying to continue.

You might be interested in reading some more ways to help your backyard flock beat the heat in this article from the blog archives.  And check out my five favorite summertime treats in this article.

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If you enjoyed these tips, be sure to order a copy of my book 101 Chicken Keeping Hacks from Fresh Eggs Daily: Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for You and your Hens 

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