What to do with hens in hot weather – summer hens
Summer hens – What to do with hens in hot weather
Hens in hot weather can be a strange bunch. For a start they eat less and drink more – a bit like us really. And of course you would expect that. As you can imagine, a ball of muscle and guts surrounded by feathers would get very hot indeed. They have no other way of controlling their temperature than panting, which is actually using their lungs as a cooling mechanism.
Also their heart has to work harder in the heat (same as the rest of us) pumping hot blood round the body more quickly so the lungs can cool it.
So hens will often be more still, and will greatly appreciate a stress free environment in hot weather.
One of the great benefits for hens like mine, who have to live more or less in muddy conditions when it rains because millions of gallons of water seep from the mountain into our garden, is the ground gets a chance to dry out, and you will often find the birds basking in a dust bath, looking a strange shape as though they are unwell, but they aren’t really.
What to do in hot weather
Provide shade – our hutch is on stilts and therefore the birds are able to rest underneath where it is quite dark.
Provide fresh water – you will be surprised to find the drinker going dry, even though it was only filled that morning. Keep an eye on it.
Cut down on the ‘extras’ – simply let them graze on layer’s pellets or mash without too many little titbits.
Remove or at least cover poo. There are millions of flies around, and they love chicken poo!
Make sure the bedding is clean and as far as possible that pests are dealt with. Deal with red mite and other mites, and the sleeping areas smell sweet and clean.
Provide ventilation in the hutch.
Be sure to open the hutch good and early in the morning, it gets hot early on, so don’t let them bake in a hot hutch.
Remove eggs as soon as possible.