Monday, July 28, 2014

Top 3 Tips for Keeping Chickens Cool In Summer


The dog days of summer are here making life uncomfortable for both people and chickens.  Heat can place stress on chickens, so don't be surprised if you see a drop in egg production during the summer. Although you can't control the weather, there are some things that you can do to keep your chickens comfortable and safe during these hot days.

 Here are our top 3 ideas for keeping your chickens cool:


  1.  Ensure Ventilation -  Hopefully, you've built your coup with windows that allow you to increase ventilation in your coop. If this is the case, make sure that the ventilation windows are wide open during the summer. If you plan on leaving the windows open during the evening, make sure that the windows themselves are covered with  durable screening to keep out any predators that may be roaming around your property during the evening. If you are in a particularly hot environment like Texas or Arizona, you may also want to invest in a small fan to help drive hot-air from your coop. However, please note that chickens do not sweat and, therefore, don't benefit from having air blown over them directly. The purpose of the fan is to  keep heat from building up inside the coop.
    Screened vents at top and bottom of coop promote good air circulation
  2. Provide Shade -  If there are no areas in your chicken run or backyard where chickens can go to escape the heat of direct sunlight, we recommend that you set up a sunshade for them.  You can construct a shade with garden stakes, zip ties and either shade cloth or marine grade fabric.  Shade cloth is an outdoor fabric that partially blocks light based on the density of the fabric weave. The denser the weave, the more light that gets blocked. Shade cloth has the advantage of allowing wind to blow through the cloth so it is less likely to tear or be blow loose from the stakes. It can be purchased in a variety of grades to block from 30% to 90% of the sunlight ( see below photo).  
    Shade cloth in various capacities
    Unfortunately, your color choices are fairly limited -- your garden store is likely to only carry black, white and and green shade cloth. Marine grade fabric is a more visually appealing alternative. This is the same fabric used to make outdoor umbrellas and is UV resistant and easy to keep clean. It comes in a very wide variety of colors and in many beautiful patterns. You can purchase it in small quantities from online retailers and local fabric stores. If searching online, look for the "Sunbrella" brand.
    Sunbrella colors and patterns

  3. Plenty of Water -  During the summer months, it's absolutely essential that you provide your flock with a constant source of clean water. If you are using an insulated water water supply tank with your BriteTap chicken waterer, then consider adding some ice to the tank when you fill it each morning. The insulated tank will keep your chicken's water amazingly cool all day, even in extreme conditions. Some owners of the BriteTap chicken waterer tell us that they prefer using a re-usable ice block like the one shown  below in place of ice. The blocks can be placed into the freezer each evening and are ready to go the following morning. There's no need to re-fill ice trays to make new ice.
Posting sponsored by ChickenWaterer.com, makers of the BriteTap poultry nipple waterer. The BriteTap chicken waterer shields water from dirt and poop. The water stays clean and there are no messy pans for you to wash out. 

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