Here are a few tips on keeping your hens cool in hot weather…
Fresh drinking water – Each hen needs around half a litre of fresh drinking water a day. A hen’s water intake increases by around three times during the summer compared to the winter months. Depending on your flock size you may have to put out extra drinkers and make sure you refresh the water as often as you can, as hens grub a lot in the soil, their beaks get dirty and therefore so does their water drinkers. Add Ice cubes to the water to help keep it cooler for longer and try to place the drinkers in the shade.
Coops/shelters – Keep your hen area cool as some hens can become stressed in constantly high summer temperatures. Some hens become lethargic whilst others have been known to pick fights with other flock members. Keep your coop doors and windows open during the day while then hens are out and about, this will help keep the coop ventilated and cool. You could add wire mesh across coop windows to aid ventilation at night without compromising your hen’s security. Hens enjoy the sunshine but prefer to shelter from the strength of the midday sun, so make sure there is plenty of shade/shelter for your hen’s to rest under.
Sun cream – If you have hens that are feather bare then you may need to apply sun cream to their skin and if you can try to keep them out of the midday sun.
Be responsible – Make sure your hens are checked throughout the day, as then it will be easier to see if anything is wrong and you will be able to take action sooner if you do come across an issue.
For further information on looking after you hens in hot weather please visit www.bhwt.org.uk