The heat is on. Keeping the chickens comfortable includes giving them plenty of cool treats chickens love. Making sure your chickens can stay cool,by finding shade, cool water and a gentle breeze from a fan or cross ventilation is very important. There is more of a risk of losing chickens from heat stroke than from cold temperatures.
Many fruits and vegetables are enjoyed by chickens and can be added to a list of cool treats chickens love. In my flock, watermelon, frozen peas, and cooling herbs are favorites. A snack of fresh chopped mint floating in a shallow pan of water is a cooling treat chickens love.
Watermelon cools off people, animals and chickens! We enjoy some ourselves while throwing large chunks into the chicken run. Even a few of our goats and sheep will join us in enjoying a cold watermelon on a hot day. Don’t forget the ducks! They like watermelon too. The ducks will eat the fruit down to the rind but the chickens, sheep and goats will eat everything!
Frozen mixed vegetables are sometimes a hit with the flocks too. And you can make your own treats by chopping up what the chickens love best, adding some water and freezing the mixture into giant ice cubes. As the chickens peck at the large block of ice with goodies inside, they naturally cool down. Not to mention that they now think you are the best chicke farmer in town!
Even scrambled eggs can be frozen as a nutritious snack packed with protein which helps during this pre-molt phase of the year.
Here’s a Not all inclusive list of Cool Treats Chickens Love
Green grapes, cut up and chilled
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. Use the strawberry tops from your kitchen compost too. I chop them or throw the tops in whole
Mint is naturally cooling and a healthy treat. Lemon Balm and other herbs from the mint family will also help regulate body temperature while delivering good nutrition.
Mango, peaches, apples, and other fruits with cores and pits should have the cores removed before giving them to your chickens
Canned corn poured into cupcake tins and frozen
Citrus? A little citrus won’t harm your chickens but I don’t feed any to my flock. Too much vitamin C can interfere with Calcium absorption which I already seem to struggle with here. But if you had a bit of leftover orange sections, adding them to the frozen fruit salad won’t hurt anything.
Other Cool Ideas for Summer Heat
Misting – Some people swear by it and use the mist feature on a garden hose sprayer to gently wet the flock. In our area of the country, we experience extremely high humidity already. Adding to it sometimes makes the area a sauna, so I tend to not do this. I prefer to give the chickens a shallow wading pool or a large pan of water that is big enough for them to stand on.
Another idea that our flock uses is a small area of red brick that I soak down with cold water. the bricks hold the moisture and the chickens like to stand on the bricks to cool down. Put this platform in a shady spot and your birds will flock to it! You can also add the bricks to the shallow wading pool to keep the bricks constantly wet. This isn’t something that they can eat, but it sure included in cool treats chickens love.
Add shade to the dust bathing spot. If you don’t have a lot of shade, stringing a tarp up is an easy way to create a shady spot. If you place the dust bath area underneath the tarp, the chickens will take their bath in comfort and you won’t see that scary sight of chickens lying in the sun appearing to be dying! Why do they scare us that way?
If there is room, add a roost bar under the shade tarp too for the chickens to hang out on. You will probably see quite a lineup on the bar, if your chickens are anything like mine.
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