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How to Keep Chickens Cool In Hot Summers

Learning how to keep chickens cool during hot summers is an essential part of caring for chickens. Hot summers, like the ones we experience in the low desert of Arizona, can be very stressful (and sometimes fatal) for chickens. Learn what you can do to help your chickens keep cool

Learning how to keep chickens cool during hot summers is an essential part of caring for chickens. Hot summers, like the ones we experience in the low desert of Arizona, can be very stressful (and sometimes fatal) for chickens. Learn what you can do to help your chickens keep cool. 

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Before keeping chickens in hot summer climates, there are a couple of crucial considerations.

  • Choose chicken breeds that have a higher heat-tolerance. Heat-tolerant breeds are less likely to die or overheat in hot weather. Some heat-tolerant chicken breeds are Orpington, Barred Plymouth Rock (this is the breed I have), and Austrolorp. (Information from “The Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens” by Anne Kuo.)
  • Choose the proper coop/run placement in the yard. Look for areas that receive shade naturally. An ideal spot in Arizona has natural afternoon shade along with grass or other vegetation.
  • There is no substitute for attention. If you are going to be out of town during the summer, have someone put eyes on your chickens at least once a day. They can ensure water levels are full, timers are working, and your flock is healthy. 
Learning how to keep chickens cool during hot summers is an essential part of caring for chickens. Hot summers, like the ones we experience in the low desert of Arizona, can be very stressful (and sometimes fatal) for chickens. Learn what you can do to help your chickens keep cool. 

Here are five things I do to help keep chickens cool in hot summers

Provide shade for their coop and run to keep chickens cool in hot summers

1. Provide shade for their coop and run to keep chickens cool in hot summers

Consider the sun’s angle at different times of the day. Then, add shade to provide relief from the sun during the hottest times of the day. 

Provide shade for their coop and run to keep chickens cool in hot summers

There are many ways to add shade to the coop and run.

  • Select an area that receives shade naturally from a house or tree.
  • Add shade cloth to the top and sides of the coop and run.
  • Plant sunflowers along the outside of the run.
  • Add vining plants – but do a quick Google search first to ensure they aren’t poisonous for chickens. I added passionfruit vine, lady banks rose, and skyflower around the perimeter of my chicken run. 
Provide shade for their coop and run to keep chickens cool in hot summers

2. Install a mister set to a timer that goes off every afternoon to keep chickens cool in hot summers

A mister cools the surrounding air significantly. I have a battery-operated timer connected to a hose, a water filter, and a mister.  Adding a water filter keeps the mister from getting clogged as quickly.

The chickens congregate in the cooler air while it is running. I run the mister from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm each day when the temperature is over 100°F (37.7°C). After the mister finishes, the chickens still enjoy the run’s damp and slightly cooler area. 

Install a mister set to a timer that goes off every afternoon to keep chickens cool in hot summers

3. Give chickens watermelon, cantaloupe, and other foods to help keep them hydrated

Give chickens watermelon, cantaloupe, and other foods to help keep them hydrated

Summertime means abundant harvests of Armenian cucumbers, cantaloupe, and watermelon. My chickens love these high-water foods almost as much as we do. Feeding some of these to the chickens helps keep them hydrated and takes care of any extra-large Armenian cucumbers we didn’t spot in time. 


4. Have more than one waterer and check them daily

Chickens should have access to clean water throughout the day, especially when it is hot. Have more than one water source in case something gets clogged or tipped over. I check both waterers in the morning, and my son inspects them when he gathers the eggs in the afternoon. 

I use a Rent a Coop 2-gallon waterer and a galvanized 3-gallon one as well.


5. On extra hot days, give chickens an ice block to stand on

One way chickens cool off is through their feet. Providing a block of ice cools the chickens a little bit. Freeze a gallon-sized ice cream tub that is ¾ full of water at least overnight (longer is better) and dump out the ice block inside the chicken area. 

The longer the ice is frozen, the longer it will last in the heat. Once you dump the ice out, fill the empty container with water and put it in the freezer for the next hot afternoon. 

You can also freeze a 2-liter soda bottle filled with water and put that in the coop; they will stand on that and nestle in on either side of the frozen bottle to cool off.


Are you thinking about raising chickens? Find out how to get started in this blog post.

Chicken Supplies: 8 Essentials for New Chicks and Young Chickens
Chicken Supplies: 8 Essentials for New Chicks and Young Chickens

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