Hen Up® Articles

Hot Hen Summer? Here’s How You Can Help Them Keep Cool.



By: Hen Up

Welcome to the summer edition of Chicken Confidential, our ongoing series of insider know-how and answers to frequently asked questions about backyard flocks. This month, we’ve got some timely tips for summer chicken care. Be sure to check out our previous installments, including last month’s guide to protecting hens from predators.


Hot weather during the summers is never exactly a surprise. But with many parts of the country seeing extended stretches of temperatures in the 90s and even 100s, this year’s heatwaves are no joke. And it’s never been more important to make extra-sure your flock can beat the heat and stay healthy.


No sweat? No kidding.

Here’s a fun fact for you: Like all birds, chickens don’t sweat in order to regulate their body temperature the way we humans do. You’ve probably seen your hens opening their beaks and panting or spreading their wings away from their bodies to cool down on hot days. When those approaches aren’t enough, hens can become lethargic and may even stop eating, which can result in fewer eggs and increased health risks.


Shaded, hydrated and circulated.

Even though birds deal with body temperature differently than us, the best ways to help them keep cool will sound very familiar: Plenty of shade, plenty of water, and good air flow. Here are some ideas to keep in mind.


  • When it gets hot, chickens can drink twice as much water as usual. Every hen needs at least 17 ounces of fresh water per day — that’s a full gallon for every seven birds if you’ve got a larger flock.


  • Add extra water sources to make sure that each of your birds has easy access and put them in shady areas to keep the water cooler. You can even use ice cubes or larger chunks of ice to help keep the water cool throughout the day. If splashing is an issue, adding marbles to your waterers will help.


  • Wash all your waterers every week using a mixture of 90% water and 10% bleach. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly before refilling them.


  • If you can, create extra shade by adding a temporary roof or drop cloth over your run.


  • Improve the air flow inside the coop by opening the windows and/or roof vents during the day to allow hot air (and ammonia) to escape. If possible, swap solid doors with screen doors, and keep the lights off during the day.


  • If you’ve got room to add a small fan inside the coop, that’ll help too. Just make sure the fan blades are well-protected.


  • You can also put frozen bottles of water inside the coop to create mini cooling stations for your flock.


One thing that doesn’t change for the summer: The 90/10 rule for complete feed (like Hen Up® Layer) to supplements (like Hen Up® Scratch Grains) for happy, healthy hens. Keep in mind that your biddies might be eating less during hot stretches, so complete feed should always be the top priority.


Be sure to follow us on Instagram and post pics of your birds enjoying the sunshine with the hashtag #hothensummer. Send us your questions about chickens, eggs, and anything else we can help with.