Gardens and chickens are hot and thirsty places at this time of year, so make sure your chickens have enough water and shade. Let them roam in the garden and they will pick off pests like slugs and flies. You may want to protect young shoots though as chickens can be quite partial to tender young plants.
Keeping Hens Happy in Summer
If you live in an area that experiences very hot summers, make sure your birds have plenty of shade and a well-ventilated coop. Heat can build up very quickly on a summer’s morning, and the poor birds will quickly roast if the coop is poorly designed or badly placed. One of the many reasons why an Eglu coop is highly recommended. Make sure the sun does not shine directly inside the coop while the birds are at rest inside. A sun shade or judicious use of cover will do the trick of keeping chickens cool in summer.
This Eglu Cube and Run enables these hens to enjoy the summer garden
The chickens will need a constant supply of water, and it should not be allowed to become fouled. Disease thrives in warm summer water feeders so, again, try to place the waterer in some shade.
In really hot weather a hen becomes stressed. There’s only a certain amount you can do about it; but be aware that egg production may also drop during such times.
Chickens Love A Dust Bath
Chickens love to dust bathe in the warm weather, but you might not want them scraping around in your flower beds. The best thing to do is to build another flower bed (but not for your flowers) and fill it with some sand, soil and some louse powder, but make sure that you cover it up when your chickens aren’t using it otherwise the rain might turn it into a mud bath.
This Black Rock hen is enjoying the "dry shower" of a good dust bath!
Best Chicken Breeds for Hot Summers
For anything over 100F, you should buy heat-resistant breeds! Fluffy and feather-footed breeds, and anything predominantly black, will suffer in the sun. Breeds with large combs and wattles will usually do well – these parts of the body help the bird lose heat. Non-fluffy bantams will be fine. These are amongst the most heat-adjusted Standards:
- Easter Egger
- Golden Buff
- Belgian d'Uccle Bantam
- Poland (aka Polish)