Keeping Your Poultry Flock Cool in the Summer Heat

by Lauren R

Published July 10, 2024

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While chickens are hardy to both heat and cold, there are some things you can do to make summer more comfortable for them in extreme heat. On our homestead, we focus on practical and straightforward methods to ensure our birds stay cool without overcomplicating things. Here are some tips based on what works for us.

Sasso meat broiler chickens in a homemade shade area. The broilers have reddish-brown feathers and bright red combs, enjoying a sheltered spot on a warm day. Meyer Hatchery

Provide Shade

Shade is crucial for keeping your flock cool. If your birds free-range, ensure they have access to shaded areas throughout the day. We have a shed as well as some trees that our chickens and ducks love to spend a lot of their time under. You can also hang tarps or use shade cloths to create additional shaded spots in their run or yard if you don’t have enough other shade.

Cool, Fresh Water

Always provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your birds. We keep our waterers in the shade and refill them often to ensure the water stays cool. In addition to regular waterers, we have several open waterers for our ducks, which they can use to bathe and cool off. Chickens often join in, stepping into the water to cool their feet. (Read more about the importance of bathing for waterfowl here.)

Dust Bathing

Ensure your birds have plenty of dirt space for dust bathing. The soil below the surface is typically cooler, and dust bathing helps them lower their body temperature.

A frozen treat for chickens, consisting of blueberries and mint leaves, in a rectangular container placed on the grass. The text overlay reads "Frozen Treats for Your Flock! Watch now on YouTube!" with a play button icon in the center, indicating a video available for viewing.
A Splash Orpington from Meyer Hatchery dust bathing in the shade. The chicken has light gray and white feathers with some darker spots, and a bright red comb. It is lying on a bed of straw and dirt, enjoying the cool shade.

Cold Treats

Offering chilled fruits like watermelon can be a refreshing treat for your flock, but be careful not to overdo it. Offering snacks in moderation is key to prevent any malnutrition issues.

Cooling Pools

A kiddie pool with some rocks or pavers in it can be a fun and effective way to help your birds stay cool. The rocks give the ducks something to hop around on, which keeps them from splashing too much water out of the pool, and also helps cool their feet. Chickens enjoy hopping in too, making it a communal cooling spot.


Keeping the coop well-ventilated is essential. We use solar fans to ensure there’s always good airflow, which helps keep the coop temperature down. Proper ventilation also reduces humidity levels inside the coop, making it more comfortable for your birds.

Sprinklers and Misters

If you’re looking for an extra way to cool down the environment, consider adding sprinklers or misters. These can help lower the air temperature and keep the ground damp, which in turn cools the area where your birds spend their time.

Keep It Simple

You don’t need to go overboard with elaborate solutions to keep your flock cool. By focusing on providing shade, fresh water, good ventilation, and some fun cooling options like kiddie pools, you can effectively support your birds through the heat of summer.

Supporting your flock during the hot months is essential for their well-being. With these simple tips you can ensure they stay cool, comfortable, and happy all summer long.

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