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Intense Heat: Help Your Hens Keep Their Cool When the Weather Won’t Let Up

Summer has arrived and it’s letting us know. With some simple, inexpensive tactics, you can keep chickens cool and happy during the summertime heat! In Florida, this means temperatures went from hot to ridiculously hot since there are basically only two seasons here.

close up of hot chickens looking at frozen fruit

I get concerned about my backyard chickens because of how HOT it gets. Poor girls. I’ve been researching ways to help keep chickens cool because heat stroke in chickens is a real thing.

One of the most important things is to make sure your chickens have an adequate amount of shade and a place for them to dust bathe to keep cool. Many people mentioned putting fans out by the coop but unfortunately, I don’t have power out there since the coop is in the back corner of our property.

two chickens pecking at fresh fruit and ice to cool off

Five ways to keep chickens cool

Ice, ice, baby

Fill recycled two liter bottles with water, freeze, and place them in the coop and run. As the ice melts, the cool air radiates and hens tend to lay down or stand next to or on top of the bottles.

Let them cool off with a swim

Buy a small hard plastic wading pool and fill it to about four inches of water. Chickens cool down through their feet so the idea is that they stand in the wading pool to cool down. Ideally you’ll put this wading pool in the shade so your poor, hot chickens are more likely to try it out.

My chickens, unfortunately, are big chickens (badum-psh!) so they stared at the wading pool and walked away. I even tried to put their favorite weeds in there but it didn’t work. I ended up turning the pool upside down and placing it against a wall to provide extra shade.

chickens pecking at frozen fruit

Related: How to Make a DIY Chicken Swing

Frozen treats

Help chickens cool off with frozen treats. Freeze fruits, veggies, herbs, and/or meal worms in containers. While it melts, the hot chickens peck at them for the treats but also keep cool by keeping their feet near the cool ice melting. My chickens tend to gravitate towards the sweet frozen treats — go figure, right? You can skip putting it in the refrigerator the night before, but it just adds a little bit more coolness to the treat.

fruit and ice in cake pans

If you’re feeling generous and want to spoil your chickens, here are a few frozen treats you can make for your hens:

  • Put meal worms, blueberries, mint, and water in muffin tins and freeze. Once frozen, pop out and let the girls at it.
  • Put pineapple, mango, mint, peas, ice, and water in a shallow pan. Place out in the run for your chickens to enjoy
  • Freeze grapes and place in a shallow pan with ice water
  • Make scrambled eggsicles (learn more about that here)

Watermelon

Frozen treats for the hens is one way to keep chickens cool. Here’s another: Simply cut watermelon into slices and place it in the refrigerator or freezer overnight.

Provide clean water

Of course, you should always provide your hens with clean water, but it’s especially important when you’re concerned about keeping chickens cool in the summertime heat. When it’s hot, they’ll drink more, meaning you might need to fill their water container more frequently. Water grows algae quickly in warm weather. Cleaning their water trough regularly will help prevent this.

Who’s counting down the days to cooler weather?

This girl right here — and her hot chickens, of course.

close up of hot chickens looking at frozen fruit

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15 comments… add one
  • Davilyn Eversz Jun 15, 2021 @ 4:31

    I use water heater drain pans. They are thick plastic and you can get them up to 24″ wide. I put thin plastic grids in the bottom as chickens don’t like slippery surfaces. You could also glue that rubberized shelf liner to the bottom. Then a couple of flat rocks that stick up just above the surface of the water. These pans are $10 @ Home Depot. I sealed the hole with the Gorilla clear tape which is waterproof and it lasts all summer. My chickens are big too….Orpington’s…they love their wading pools and will stand in there for an hour. I live in the desert, I put them under the tree and the chickens do fine.

    • Attainable Sustainable Jul 1, 2021 @ 10:46

      Davilyn, That’s a great DIY tip. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Beverley Blomert Jul 17, 2020 @ 14:47

    My chickens are also a far distance from the house so it was hard to run power to a fan. I recently bought a Ryobi drum fan that is battery powered. I live in the hot state of Georgia and having this fan has made a huge difference. It is very powerful and my girls love taking a dust bath in front of it to keep cool. I got it at Home Depot and cost me $150 without the battery. $250.00 with a battery. I can get about 6 hours of time from a battery. It’s really good quality, durable and big and has really made a difference in keeping my girlies cool.

  • Peggy Boston Jun 13, 2020 @ 11:36

    Loved all the frozen treat ideas. I think my chickens wiill too.

  • Claire Lowell May 25, 2020 @ 8:17

    I am also a big fan of Barred Rock too! They are very sweet and friendly!

  • Larrissa Feb 10, 2018 @ 12:19

    Make sure you don’t have any dogs or cats that could get to any grapes or stems as they are poisonous!

  • Marnet Jun 7, 2017 @ 5:30

    Thank you so much for the cool tips, Loriel. Living in Central Florida I can relate to the heat. With an early summer this year the chickens are digging in to the dusting frequently. We live in the country so they have free range of many acres, but stay close to the coop. I really like the tip about the frozen bottles and plan to try it this week. Looking forward to your newsletter and more tips.

    • Rhonda Patterson Oct 14, 2021 @ 11:59

      I used the misting system that you put around your patio- worked very well at cooling the air and keeping cooler water dripping into their water bowls . I just put 50 ft around the top of the fence at one end by using zip ties and 50 feet at the other end in the trees using zip ties and put each of them on a timer so it would come on every day at the same time and have it run for 4 hours in the hottest part of the day. Worked great!

      • AttainableSustainable Oct 19, 2021 @ 10:50

        Awesome, so glad this worked so well for you!

  • elaine May 20, 2017 @ 10:31

    I am in South East Spain with a climate similar to south California. The weather is usually hot and dry from the beginning of April till the end of October. Last summer I sliced some melon and froze the slices, then gave them to my chooks. They loved them – seeds and all! In fact any frozen fruits were welcomed. And if I put outside lettuce leaves, kale leaves, dandelion leaves and cabbage leaves through the blender then froze it, they loved that too. Feeding my chooks fermented feed helped to make sure they were getting enough liquids, as well as putting lots of extra waterers out in shady places.

  • Becky May 9, 2017 @ 7:15

    Hi my name is Becky. I am just?starting with chickens. I want egg layers. Not sure which is the best do you have any suggestions. I also live in florida i love the treat idea. My daughters bought me a coop from tractor supply my husband will be putting it together on Saturday. If you could please email me or text me some advice or tips anything would be good..
    [email protected]
    4075063629

    Thanks

    • Kris Bordessa May 9, 2017 @ 7:18

      I’m a big fan of barred rocks for first timers. They’re sweet and lay consistently. Have fun!

    • Taylor Jun 13, 2017 @ 14:02

      yes barred rocks are amazing layers but I also highly recommend any heritage breeds such at as they cannot have tics or lice

    • Jessica Holt Jul 18, 2017 @ 6:22

      https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/10-breeds-of-chicken-that-will-lay-lots-of-eggs-for-you/

      Scroll down through that list! I have had Rhode Island Reds before and received plenty of eggs once they got old enough, I currently have New Hampshire Reds and have not recieved any eggs yet. I read they need to be at least 7 months old. You should also look if you’re interested into which hens get broody, as in sitting on their eggs till they hatch and getting more chickens!

    • Claire Lowell May 25, 2020 @ 8:22

      I also recomend Barred Rocks too, they are very sweet as well as friendly. Another breed I also recomend would be the golden comet, they lay about 350 eggs a year, ( Most other chickens lay about 200-250 ) and they are very good with humans and other hens, Hope you chicken coop goes well!

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