It’s September and the first day of fall is fast approaching, but it still feels like summer in Boston. Have you considered how your feathered friends are coping with the lingering heat? Our poultry expert Khrysti Smyth has a few tips to help keep your backyard chickens cool.
1. WATER. Just like us, water is critical for chickens to stay hydrated so make sure they have plenty of water and keep waterers in shady areas.
2. SHADE. You can create an area for them where they can find shade. If you are contemplating coop placement, a good idea is to find a space where your coop will be underneath trees for shade.
3. COOP VENTILATION: open ventilation holes and other doors. If your backyard chicken coop is accessible to electricity, an exhaust fan can be used to increase air circulation and pull hot air out of the coop.
4. ICE CUBES. Add some ice cubes to their water or freeze a water bottle and place the ice cube in their waterer. A gallon jug of water can also be placed in the coop to cool down the air temperature inside. This is especially useful at night since they all pile into the coop building up body heat.
5. FROZEN FRUIT. Has your compost bin reached full capacity and you’re wondering what to do with your left over fruit and vegetable scraps? Freeze them and leave them for your chickens to eat throughout the day. A flock favorite is frozen watermelon rinds.
6. CREATE OASIS. You can also create microclimates for the chickens by watering plants near the coop or hosing down areas of dirt and/or fence that the chickens can access. This will facilitate evaporative cooling.
Curious about urban chicken keeping and more fun tips? Join Khrysti and her chicken ambassadors on September 23rd from 6:30pm-8:00pm for an Urban Chicken Keeping Workshop. Live or work in Cambridge? Stop by PARK(ing) Day this Friday in front of Cambridge City Hall to meet Khrysti and some of her exotic flock.