10 Things Not to Do in Summer if You’re a Chicken Keeper
1. Don’t leave the coop and run in the sun
If possible, move the coop into a shaded spot of the garden, maybe under a tree or in the north-facing side of the garden that doesn’t get as much sun. This means that it will be nice and cool when the girls want to go to bed in the evening, or if one of them wants to go in to lay during the day. The Eglu chicken coops are so easy to move that you, on a really hot day, could effortlessly move it around the garden as the sun moves.
2. Don’t leave the water for too long
Your chickens will drink more in summer. To minimise the risk of algae in the water, as well as dust and dirt from the chickens, change the water at least once a day in hot weather. Place the drinker in a shaded spot on the run and make sure it’s really cold when you put it out.
3. Don’t overfeed your birds
Dried corn and grains take longer to digest than pellets or fresh food, which wastes energy and heats the body unnecessarily. The chickens will not need to eat as much in hot weather, and if they were to get hungry during the day, your garden will be full of bugs and fresh green material at this time of year.
4. Don’t leave your chickens alone for too long
When it’s really hot outside it’s important that chicken owners keep an eye on their flock to look for signs of overheating. An open beak, panting and wings held away from the body are signs the chicken is hot. If you think one of your hens is really struggling, try dipping her bottom in a bucket of cold water. This will cool her down for a bit and allow the body to reset.
5. Don’t depend on water
You can leave a small paddling pool or shallow containers out for your chickens to cool down in, but it’s unfortunately not very likely your hens will use them. It might be better to create a mud bath in a corner of the run; chickens are much more likely to approach mud and sand to cool down than water.
6. Don’t play with your chickens
Interaction with the chickens might lead to more movement for them, which increases their body temperature. If you want to spend time with your chickens, or need to pick them up for health checks, do so early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.
7. Don’t cover the run completely
Covering your chicken run with a lot of covers might seem like a good idea to create a shady spot, but if you don’t let air circulate, it’s likely to become a boiling tunnel of warm air. It’s extremely important to have ventilation, so that fresh air can move around. This goes for your coop as well. The Eglu’s cleverly designed ventilation system allows air to circulate in the coop at all times, keeping it nice, cool and fresh even on the hottest of days. Choose a few darker covers to give your pets shade on the run as well.
8. Don’t leave the eggs
You’re probably getting fewer eggs than normal during the warmest weeks of the year. That’s completely normal, chickens don’t lay as much when they are hot, and some go broody and stop laying completely. Although the eggs won’t go off if you leave them in the nest box of an Eglu for a day, eggs in the nest can encourage broodiness and result in egg eating, so it’s good to collect all as soon as you discover them.
9. Don’t put off cleaning
It’s always important to keep the coop nice and clean for your girls, but maybe even more so in summer. Parasites and pests are stronger when it’s warmer, including red mite, so make sure to use a bird safe disinfectant and cover roosting bars and perches in mite powder to prevent problems at least once a week.
10. Don’t treat all chickens the same
If you have a flock with mixed breeds or have had chickens in the past but now own a different breed, remember that different chickens need different care. Some breeds are much better than others at handling heat, and some really struggle. Read up on the breeds you’ve got here, and take extra care of vulnerable birds.