It’s June! And there’s LOTS you can do in your coop in June to make the summer weather more fun (and bearable) for your backyard chickens!
You’re probably noticing your hens panting a bit – chickens don’t do so well in hot weather, and as their humans, we need to help them.
That’s why this month’s “to do” list includes LOTS of idea to keep your chickens cool & healthy (and avoid heat stress!)
So, here’s this month’s list of What To Do In Your Coop In June!
Make & feed frozen treats
Chickens can’t sweat, so to help them be a bit cooler, we can feed frozen treats including frozen suet cakes!
Add herbs such as oregano, bee pollen, lemon balm, and garlic to boost their immune systems in case they do get heat stress to reduce the potential for a latent infection to get worse.
Install misters to cool air temps if temps are over 95 degrees consistently
While you don’t want to spray your chickens directly, installing and running misters will help cool the ambient temperature a bit. Be sure to install them OUTSIDE, not inside the coop, to avoid moisture and mold build up.
Add ice to waterers/freeze waterers overnight for cool water longer
For this one, you should buy several waterers so there’s 24 hour access to water in the coop). Put half in your freezer overnight, then put them out in the morning.
Make sure there’s shaded areas in the run (tarps are an easy option) & place waterers under them.
If you have electricity to your coop, you can use fans to circulate the air. Be sure there’s no way the chickens can accidentally hurt themselves.
You can install them behind a guard or grating, or come up with an idea that’ll work for your flock.
Combine water with thyme and citrus juice
In studies, chickens fed a blend of citrus WITH thyme were less likely to experience heat stress.
Use coop refresher to reduce moisture and humidity
Humid and moist coops FEEL warmer than they are, and the moisture will do a number on your flock’s health.
There ARE all natural coop refreshers that you can use 2-3 times a week to reduce ammonia & mold build up from manure in hot temperatures. Here’s how to make one at home!
Add an extra window or two, if possible, to aid air circulation.
Be sure to install a single hung or double hung window (costs about $30 – $60 depending on manufacturer) so it can be shut during storms so mold & mildew don’t build up inside the coop.
Another option is to install hardware cloth on windows so they can stay open all night for better circulation but keep your flock safe
Watch out for gnats, ticks, mites etc
Double down on keeping mites and other pests out of your coop with some of these ideas.
They’ll try to suck blood and nutrients out of chickens, which can impede their immune system, especially if they’re already stressed from the heat.
Also consider fermenting feed to add extra beneficial bacteria to their digestive systems & reduce pathogens.
Look at eggs for signs of heat stress
Eggs might look funny when chickens are heat stressed, so watch out for very wrinkled eggs or eggs that have pigmentation loss on the shells
If you think your hens might be heat stressed, give extra calcium with oyster shells. Be sure to also provide extra protein with dried insects such as black soldier fly larvae and mealworms.
If you just want to feed dried insects to your flock, head over to the store to treat your hens to black soldier fly larvae or mealworms.
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.