We all love a treat from time to time and your chickens are no exception to this rule. Occasional treats are a great way to bond with your birds and they can be useful if you’re trying to help them beat the heat this summer.
As a general rule you shouldn’t give chickens treats when it’s hot as digestion promotes increased internal body temperature. However, frozen and cooling foods can be particularly welcome when the weather hots up.
Here’s a quick list of frozen treats that will help them keep cool:
- Frozen mint ice cubes – it’s long been known that mint has cooling properties both for humans and animals. Freezing chopped up mint leaves in an ice cube tray and giving them to your hens will give them something to do and help them cool down. You can also add extras such as peas and diced strawberry to the ice cubes for an additional treat.
- Frozen berries – try throwing a handful of frozen berries into a bucket of cool water and watch your hens go mad for them!
- Frozen fruit smoothie – if a frozen fruit smoothie sounds delicious to you then it probably will to your hens as well. Including a bit of natural yoghurt can also help your hens’ digestion.
- Frozen watermelon – you can cube it, slice it, or cut it into quarters, then put it in the freeze until frozen and give to your flock as a fruity frozen snack.
Remember, treats alone won’t keep your hens cool so you’ll need to take other measures to ensure your hens are happy and healthy in the heat.
- Provide as much clean, fresh water as you possibly can, especially in shady spots where your hens will hide in the hottest part of the day.
- Increase ventilation in the coop by opening all doors and windows. You may also want to leave the chicken house windows open overnight if it’s safe to do so.
- Create some shade using tarpaulin, patio umbrellas, wind breaks, and ornamental plants in pots.
- Keep bedding in the chicken house to minimum – save the deep littering for the winter!
- Give your hens a shallow paddling pool so they can cool their feet and avoid the hot earth.
- Make sure your chickens have a shaded area to dust bathe in. Not only do they do this to keep clean, but it also helps them to keep cool.
Have you got any tips for helping hens to stay cool in the summer? We’d love to hear from you if you do!