7 Top Tips for your Chickens in a Heatwave
Let's make sure you have chilled chickens this summer! Keeping your chickens comfortable and happy in hot weather is relatively simple and easy to achieve with a little planning and extra attention.
1. Provide shade
Make sure your chickens have access to a shady area where they can escape the direct sunlight. Hens don’t sweat to cool down like we do. Add a Rainshade over their run or coop, place a Chicken Shelter within their area or plant trees or shrubs nearby.
2. Plenty of water
Chickens need access to clean, fresh water all the time and it's especially important during hot weather. Add extra drinkers and place them in the shade to keep it cool and prevent algae build up. Make sure they are stable and cannot be knocked over leaving them without any water. On average, an adult hen will drink 200ml-300ml of water per day.
3. Ventilation at night
Make sure there is plenty of air circulation in the coop overnight. If you have meshed ventilation windows, keep them open. Ideally the coop should allow air to be drawn up from the floor level and expelled through the ridge ventilation higher up. If the henhouse is ‘sealed’ the hens will be in danger of suffocation.
4. Make a Dustbath available
Chickens will use a dust bath to control mites and lice, and to cool off. Chickens will roll around in the dust and this will help to keep them cool. It can be simply allowing them to make their own under the henhouse or providing a purpose made one with a medium like Play Sand or dry soil. Why do Chickens need a Dust Bath?
5. Cooling their run area
Use a hosepipe mister to cool the ground: Just spray an area of grass/ground under their shady spot with a hosepipe mister and it will cool down with evaporation.
6. Give extra green treats
During the hot weather, a handful of greens (not too many) can be a great addition to your bird’s diet. A nice, tasty cabbage leaf which is rich in iron can, for example, be a great boost to your girls. Be careful not to over feed them on greens though as it can upset their stomachs.
7. Be vigilant for Red Mite
Red Mites adore hot damp weather and, considering the British summer involves a certain amount of rain, the summer months will see Red Mite appear as if from nowhere. Giving the coop a thorough clean with a red mite eradicator e.g. Net-Tex Total Mite Kill, will help keep on top of things.