Now that the temperature is rising this August, this monthly update will be all about how we can cater for our chickens in warmer weather.
In Ireland we aren’t quite used to this scorching weather, are we? Well, neither are our chickens. Here are some tips on what we can do to help our little flock.
Providing fresh, cool water is essential for chickens to cope in warmer weather, make sure your drinker is placed in the shade – chickens don’t want to stand in the blaring sun while trying to cool off with water. Chickens drink 0.5l of water a day, but in warmer days we recommend providing 1 litre of water per chicken, as their intake can double. This will also help keep the water colder for longer. It is best to keep multiple drinkers out for them now to keep them from squabbling over who gets to drink first, and to keep a source closer to where they loiter. Try adding 5ml of apple cider vinegar per liter of water. This will give your chickens the electrolytes they need and act as a nice pick-me-up. You can add ice cubes to keep the water extra cool for them too
Speaking of adding ice… did you know chickens love picking at frozen fruit and veg? It’ll keep them cool, hydrated and will be a nice change from their ordinary diet! Keep in mind that corn and scratch can actually increase a chicken’s temperature, so always keep cool water stocked for them, and a frozen treat or two should help. Try adding more watery fruits to their diet. Chickens love tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and especially strawberries. These will help keep our feathered friends well hydrated.
This heat is even worse inside a crowded coop with closed doors and windows. Try keeping your coop with windows and doors opened, maybe allowing the m roam free-range with supervision if you can. Allowing as much space and air for them now is more important than ever, along with some shade for them to hide from the sun’s burning rays.
Locating your coop in the shade is the best way to keep your chickens safe and cool in hot weather. If you can’t move your coop, placing parasols or tarps over the coop may help as a temporary relief for them.
Keep a large area of cool loose dirt for you chickens to burrow down into. Chickens dustbathe to cool off and to prevent lice and other parasites. To bolster the anti-parasitic property of the soil, sprinkle around some sand for sandpits.