Texas in August is hot. Like crazy hot! We had “feels like 110” for about a week straight! I know there are areas of the country (and world) that get hotter, but that’s pretty extreme for this homesteader! Thankfully, all the chickens were able to stay cool in extreme heat. Here’s how!
Pick The Right Birds
I knew before purchasing our initial breeding stock that I wanted the birds to be able to handle hot weather. In general lightweight birds with large combs will handle heat well. Our little silkie bantam frizzle mutt flock has been handling the heat like champs!
Pick the Right Spot
Shade is essential. Shade that comes from buildings will be hotter than shade that comes from plants. Our coop is situated in a corner of the yard that receives almost 100 percent shade throughout the day. Not great for growing veggies. Perfect for keeping chickens cool in the summer.
If you know you live in an area where you need to keep your chickens cool in extreme heat, make sure they have access to as much shade as possible. If you don’t have shade, make it!
Build The Right Coop
Also knowing that we live in Texas, nine plus months of the year were going to be hot, so we built a hot weather chicken run. Ventilation is key! Our summer coop is four sides of wire mesh and a roof. Tons and tons of airflow!
If you can’t have four open sides, then make sure to add a fan to keep the air moving. Airflow is so crucial.
Our next door neighbors have chickens as well, and our two coops actually receive shade from the same trees. Their coop has two open sides and is against a building, so it does not have as much airflow. Unfortunately the neighbors lost a bird to heat stroke even after trying emergency measures to get her cooled down.
Keep Them Well Watered
I like to use automatic waterers for my birds because they stay cleaner, but when it’s 110 degrees, they need more than that. Put pans of cool water out for your birds. The evaporative cooling will help cool the air a touch, and they will have plenty of fresh water available to them with very little effort on their part.
Aside from choosing good stock and coop design, the only extra care I did for my birds during this extreme heat was to provide lots of cool water to drink, and also keep the ground damp in the coop.
Well, I say that I did, but truthfully it was my husband who hauled the majority of the five gallon buckets to the back corner of the yard. I do recommend getting a hose that will reach your coop. Unless your backyard is essentially your gym, like us. Then lift away!
Next summer, we will have a rain barrel with a hose, which will reduce the work needed, and also reduce the ambient air temperature.
A little pre-planning can make the difference between life and death for chicken keepers in hot areas. I hope these tips on how to keep chickens cool in extreme heat are able to help you be prepared.
If you need more tips or are experiencing unusual heat in temperate climates, check out the post 8 Tips For Keeping Chickens Cool In The Summer.
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