When the temperatures reach the 90's and dew points are hovering in the mid 70's...it's HOT! Chickens need some extra attention during the hot weather. Then again we all do. Chickens are like dogs in that they don't sweat when they get overheated, they pant. (In the big picture, chickens are easier to take care of than dogs, as I was reminded of by dog sitting for my sister's dogs over the past weekend. Hmmm, I see the topic of my next blog!)
They also hold their wings out away from their bodies. We all know how good that feels when the breeze blows. Another way to stay cool is to dig around and lay in the cool sand in the shade.
Here's what we've been doing to keep the chickens cool. Below are some things that help.
Frozen bottles of water, watermelon (or cantaloupe, frozen grapes, cucumbers...) and chicken "gatorade", which is an electrolyte/vitamin powder added to water. The frozen bottles can be just tossed into the run on the sand to cool the sand off as it melts. I've heard that they will sometimes lay next to the frozen bottles, but I have yet to see that. One bottle was put in the main waterer and another on the sand in the run to see what happens.
The watermelon gets eaten.
The refrigerated chicken "gatorade" goes into 2 smaller chick waterers I keep in the run.
We've also added a pan of cool water for them to splash around in. Although chickens don't generally like water, when it's this hot a few of them don't mind getting their feet wet. We also add a chunk of ice to this during the day.
|Penny dipping her toes.|
To give them some extra shade I hung a tarp on the west side of the run which is also where the sun shines directly on in the late afternoon.
By the time I was done with my photo shoot and changing all the water, they had eaten up a 1/4 of a watermelon. There is another 1/4 sitting in the freezer that they will get tomorrow morning.