How do you keep your chickens cool and comfortable in the summer heat? We checked in with Lisa Steele, of Fresh Eggs Daily to get some expert advice and a great DIY recipe for the ultimate fowl frozen treat: a Confetti Ice Wreath for Chickens!
While chicken keepers are always concerned about keeping their chickens warm through the winter, it’s actually the summer heat that can be far more difficult on a flock. Heatstroke is a very real thing. Chickens don’t have the ability to sweat. Instead, they pant and hold their wings out to allow the breeze to circulate against their bodies. Basics, like providing your chickens lots of cool, clean water and not chasing or stressing them unnecessarily, go a long way towards keeping them cool.
Water-laden treats like watermelon and cucumbers are some of my chickens’ favorite summer treats. Don’t be concerned if their feed intake goes down, and they drink more water and seem more interested in chilled fruit and veggies than feed. That’s normal and will help keep them stay hydrated. Feeding just after sunrise and then again just before dusk is a good idea in the summer, so your chickens can eat when it’s cooler.
Feeding Adjustments in Hot Weather
If you normally treat your chickens with corn or cracked grains, skip them when it’s hot. Digesting the grains will actually heat up your chickens’ bodies, which you don’t want in summer.
With temperatures soaring into the 90s and higher on these summer days, why not serve up this Confetti Ice Wreath? It’s not only an excellent way to help your chickens cool down in the summer, but it’s also a great way to use up leftover fruits and vegetables.
How To Make The Frozen Confetti Ice Wreath for Chickens
Save up those partial bags of frozen vegetables and leftover canned vegetables. Keep freezer-burned fruit and those cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving. Don’t toss out bruised blueberries or mushy raspberries. Collect everything in a freezer bag until you are ready to assemble your wreath to make an easy, inexpensive summer treat for your chickens. I use a Bundt pan to make this treat, but you can use any regular cake pan or casserole dish just as easily.
To make your ice wreath for chickens, dump a mix of cut up fruits and vegetables into your pan, filling it two-thirds of the way or so. I used a blend of carrots, corn, green beans, cranberries, and blueberries this time, but any mix will work. Pour water over the vegetables, almost to the top, so the vegetables are completely covered, and then freeze.
When frozen solid, remove your ice wreath from the freezer and unmold it (running it under warm water for a minute will do the trick), then serve it up to your girls. Place it on a large dish in the shade in the run for them to enjoy.
Do you have any “cool” ideas to share to help keep your flock comfortable this summer? Share them with us in the comments below!
Photos and content used with permission by Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily.
Lisa Steele is an author and 5th generation chicken keeper who shares a farm in Maine with her husband, mixed flock of chickens and ducks, two dogs, and a cat. She writes the natural chicken keeping blog Fresh Eggs Daily. Visit www.FreshEggsDaily.com.