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5 Simple Tips for Helping Chickens Stay Cool in the Summer

Chickens don't handle summer heat well. Here are 5 tips for helping your chickens stay cool during a heatwave.

If you live in the South in a hot climate where you deal with heat and humidity on a regular basis, then you should have all sorts of safeguards in place to keep your backyard flock cool in the summertime.

You likely raise heat-tolerant chicken breeds, and your coop is probably very well-ventilated and set in a shady area. You might have fans or even air conditioning running in your coop.

But what if you live in a place where it doesn't generally get much warmer than 80 degrees F. on a typical summer day?

What if your coop is better protected against the cold than the heat? What if it's positioned in full sun.

All. Day. Long. Like ours is?

And what if they're predicting a sudden heatwave for your area? What then?

Fortunately heatwaves typically only last a few days, so here are some quick tips that you can implement quickly which can help your chickens (and ducks) brave a sudden rise in temperature.

5 Simple Tips for Helping Chickens Stay Cool in the Summer

  1. Cool water
  2. Electrolytes
  3. Fresh fruits and veggies
  4. Shade
  5. Dust Bath Area

Cool Water

Chickens, like all animals, need plenty of water to drink. And they won't drink warm water - they will actually dehydrate before drinking warm water.

So it's important to fill and refill their water containers many times throughout the day when the mercury rises to be sure they always have cool water.

Adding ice cubes or an ice block to their water is helpful too. So when a heatwave is predicted, I always make some extra ice cubes and will even freeze water in loaf pans that I can place in the chicken and ducks' water tubs to keep it cool.

Freezing chopped fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries into ice cube trays or muffins tins is another quick and easy way to provide your flock a cooling treat.

And of course give your ducks a kiddie pool to splash around in.


Electrolytes can help your flock replenish minerals and re-balance their body pH in times of extreme heat, so adding some electrolytes to their water is critical.

Plain Pedialyte will work, or electrolytes specifically formulated for poultry, or you can easily make your own electrolyte powder.

I keep some on hand at all times in the summer months, ready to stir into their water at a moment's notice.

Cooling | Water-Laden Treats

Offering chilled watermelon, cucumber slices, berries and other fresh fruits and veggies is another way to keep your chickens cool and give them something to eat other than their regular feed.

So when a heatwave is predicted, I am always sure to stock up on lots of produce, including melon and berries. Eating the water-laden foods help to keep chickens hydrated.

My flock also loves when I pour cold water over their regular layer crumble and turn it into a cool mash-like consistency. This is also a great way to keep your chickens hydrated.

And that way, they're getting nutrition while also getting some more fluids, which is important in the heat.

And that's something that's so easy to do as you refill waters - just pour some fresh, cold water over their feed.

Shade, Shade and more Shade

Of course shade is really important.

If your coop and run are in full sun, then putting tarps or shade cloth over the top will provide them shade while still allowing for air flow through the enclosure.

An old shower curtain or sheet will work too. Anything to provide as much shade for as much of the day as possible for your flock.

Cool Dirt or Dust Bath Area

It's important to provide your chickens with an area where they can dust bathe on a regular basis. That's especially important when it's hot. 

Filling a galvanized tub or kiddie pool with dirt and setting it in the shade will help your chickens stay cooler as well. They love to wriggle down into the cool dirt on a hot day.

If you can, let them free range as much as possible when it's hot. They're likely to find a cooler spot in your yard than you could create for them in their run.

And predators aren't likely to be out hunting at the peak of the heatwave anyway, so the risks are lessened.

These few simple tips should help your flock get through the next few days' heatwave as comfortably as possible.

I know that I for one am counting they days until we get our first snowfall! You can keep this heat!

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Further Reading
5 Easy Ways to Summerize your Run
5 Things your Chickens DON'T Need this Summer
Help your Chickens Beat the Summer Heat
How Do Chickens Stay Cool?
DIY Electrolyte Ice Cubes
How to Make Homemade Electrolytes
5 Best Summertime Treats

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