Whilst Summer is a great time of year for us, full of fun and festivities, this can be a tough season for your backyard flock.
We are so lucky in Australia, having beautiful long summers days, but anything over 30 degrees celsius can cause heat stress and heat related illnesses in our chickens. Did you know chickens can’t sweat to cool themselves? Instead, chickens dissipate excess heat from their combs, wattles, beaks, and feet.
Some signs that your chickens are suffering heat stress to look out for are:
🔥 holding their wings away from their body
🔥 panting- almost like gasping
🔥 increased thirst
🔥 looking lethargic and floppy
🔥 pale or discoloured combs and wattles
🔥 egg production may also decrease with prolonged heat exposure
Here are my top tips to keep your chickens hydrated this summer:
✔️ The most important and easiest thing you can do is to sort their water supply out. Our automatic waterers are fantastic as they hold a larger supply of water than traditional watering systems. They also have a fully removable lid, making it easier to add ice cubes. Often a large bag of ice over a hot summers day can be of great assistance. If your chickens have access to cool water, this will cool them down very quickly.
✔️ Frozen treats work wonders. You can freeze anything really, berries, fruit, herbs or even grain in some water and then in ice cubes. Frozen watermelon is ALWAYS a winner. How about freezing berries in some yoghurt? I
✔️ Shade. Please make sure you have some shaded areas for your chooks. Whether that be trees or with umbrellas and shade sails. Shade in the coop nesting areas is not sufficient, as the actual coop will get very hot. Chickens need open shade. They like to scratch down a dust bath in cool earth.
✔️ Hydration supplements. During the height of summer, give your feathered friends some Avi-Lyte. This is an Australian made liquid electrolyte which provides energy and replaces electrolytes lost during periods of stress, particularly heat stress. Or make your own electrolytes – recipe here.
✔️ Misting. I am often out in summer with a sprinkler. I tend to set the sprinkler up to target half the coop at a time. The chooks can stay out of the water if they don’t like it. Then I move it to the other half and the chooks can enjoy the cool damp soil. I rotate like this through the peak of the day and it works wonders.
✔️ Peak condition. Get your chooks ready now. Feed them up and provide some of our natural supplements to give them the best opportunity through extreme weathers. Our Superfood Blend, improves the function of the pancreas, tummy and liver. Improves yolk colour. Boosts the immune system and prevent infection. All ingredients are food grade, all natural, pesticide free, non-toxic, no artificial scents – NO NASTIES!
What tips do you have for getting through a hot summer? I would love you to share them below!