Keeping Chickens Comfortable, Here’s a Few Tips
It’s been a rough summer for our hens here in Phoenix. The temperatures have soared to 117 and averaged around 110 for more than 35 days since June. And… only one day of rain, in the last 4 months.
But my hens are doing great! Why, how? Well my girls are in a large 10×10 covered pen inside a covered shedrow barn. They have shade tarps on the south, east & west side for protection from the sun. I hang a simple box fan on their pen, and mist system that is far enough away to keep the pen dry, but cooler.
Here they are today, outside temperature is 110, 108 in the barn, no panting, or holding their wings away from their sides. They are smart enough to find just the right spot where they can catch a cool breeze from the mister, and as you can see, resting comfortably. 🙂
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Looking for a treat that’s little out of the ordinary for your flock? We all know scratch is probably a chicken’s all time favorite, but that should be your last treat choice in the summer months. Scratch produces heat, that’s why we feed it in the winter (especially at night) to help keep them warm. Layer feed already has corn in it, so lets not add fuel to the fire by giving them even more.
Try offering them rolled oats, they love it and it’s safe to feed as a treat! It’s super cheap and often sold by the pound in loose bulk feed bins. Hemp is another healthy supplement, but it’s high in protein and fattening, so just give a little. I add Hemp to the rolled oats, mix it all together and toss it to the flock mid day. Hemp is spendy too, another reason to just give them just enough to add that little diamond in the rough among the oats.
Mixture I Use: Find a suitable container and fill it with 3 lbs Rolled Oats and 1/2 cup Hemp Seed.
Tip: Here in Arizona our temps reach 115+ quite often. I find it best to only feed them early morning and again at dusk. Feed actually puts them even more at risk when they are already a candidate for heat stress. A few handfuls of rolled oats keeps them happy during the day when corn is an absolute no-no.
More information on Chicken Keeping in Extreme Heat
Dedication, that’s what it takes when raising chickens in the Sonoran Desert! These ladies are just four months old and experiencing their first summer in temperatures of 116 degrees. They’re a bit frazzled looking at times, but incredibly resourceful in finding ways to stay cool. Of course, I’ve given them a hand providing those resources, but it’s up to them to actually use them. Most members of the flock do, but there’s always those few who insist on going broody in hottest place possible.
To make them as comfortable as possible, a mist system is available at one section of our open air shedrow barn. It certainly has helped, but without air movement it just wasn’t enough, especially for the broodies who stuff themselves into oven-like nest boxes.
This week I hired an electrician to get power to the barn. I don’t even want to think what the cost of having fresh eggs has risen to now! Nevertheless, we now have airflow from a giant barn fan. Feathers are blowin’ and the flock is happy! Whoo hoo!
Not so much whoo hoo over the $$$ though. Oh well… love my birds.