June 22, 2015

Keep it Cool: Summer Treats for Backyard Chickens

Chickens Eating Fruit

Summertime means high temperatures – and in many parts of the country, high humidity. Chickens don’t have sweat glands – they work to regulate their body temperature by panting, airing out their wings, and keeping movement to a minimum. Temperatures passing 80-90 degrees can mean trouble for your backyard chicken flock, but there are number of ways to help keep your chickens cool.

To help prevent dehydration and heat stress, look for treats that are high in water content and always have cold, fresh water available. If you use apple cider vinegar as a nutrient boost in your waterer, skip it on hot days and go with electrolytes instead. Fans, tarps and misters can also help cool down your coop and run.

Looking for summer treat ideas? Here are some of our flock favorites:

  • Frozen Watermelon Bowl: Watermelon consists mostly of water, and chickens love it! Cut a fresh watermelon in half, scoop out the center (save it for later!) and fill with fresh berries, herbs and water. Freeze until solid.
  • Ice Pops: Fill ice cube trays or popsicle molds with frozen vegetables, fruits, herbs or weeds. Need some flavor inspiration? Try peas + mint, blueberries + basil or watermelon + pineapple sage – the most popular among our girls!
  • Probiotic Smoothie: A cool smoothie on a hot day can work wonders. Adding a boost of probiotics can help keep chickens healthy, fighting off bad bacteria while improving their absorption of nutrients. Chill a metal pan (loaf, cake, etc.) and fill with cold, blended fruit + a natural probiotic supplement. You can stick the mixture in the freezer to let it get solid, or serve to them still as a liquid – either will cool them down!
  • Morning ‘Muffins’: Fill a muffin tray with water, chopped greens & vegetables. Freeze until solid, pop out of the tray and save extras in a freezer bag. For a sweeter treat, try freezing banana slices and mixed berries.