This is the backend of our two-part article about the tips shared by Vanessa Joyce-Briggs on keeping chickens cool at summertime.
It was originally posted by abc.net.au.
Keeping the hen house cool
Chickens die from summer heat if badly managed, and most coops do not have windows that they can open.
“It’s important to check the position of the sun in your garden to make sure your chickens don’t get too much during the day. Full sun all day long is not ideal,” she said.
“Hot air rises, so it’s important have some form of opening at the top of the coop.”
Corrugated metal sheets heat up very quickly on hot days and heat the hen house quickly if not managed well.
Other ways to cool the coop are placing ice blocks in trays in the coop itself, setting up an easy to install whirligig in the roof or a fan.
“The fan circulates the warm air and the chickens will quickly locate themselves somewhere to reap the benefits,” she said.
Keeping your coop clean, vermin free and ventilated will assist your chooks when the heat gets extreme.
How to help your hens deal with heat stress
There are a few ways in which to assist your chooks when the heat packs a punch.
Mrs. Joyce-Briggs suggests clean cool water and adding ice cubes or hydralyte to their water dish, regularly testing it to make sure it is not getting warm.
Hose the coop down outside, or spray the chickens with a light mist — they normally would not appreciate this but if it is very hot they do.
Chopping up small slivers of garlic to feed to them works well as garlic is an all-round tonic for chickens and can be used as a remedy against the stress of predators and heat.
Likewise, applying rescue remedy to their feet or comb will also assist in relieving stress.
So if it is really hot and you do not check on your chooks or employ some basic techniques, do not be surprised if they keel over.