Tips and Tricks to Help Your Chickens During Hot Weather

Tips and Tricks to Help Your Chickens During Hot Weather

Written and Contributed by: Jennifer Morotini

Edited and Published by: Kelli Stewart, Pet Chickens of Virginia Association

June 10, 2022

(May contain affiliate links)

Welcome to Spring in Virginia

it might be 97 degrees outside, or it might be 60. It might rain, there might be a drought. A thunderstorm might roll in out of nowhere, or you might get caught in the spontaneous hailstorm. Virginia weather is unpredictable at best. What we can all agree on is that when it’s hot, our chickens need some extra TLC. 

Your chickens do not require a fancy coop or run so long as their basic needs are covered. A simple cover can be made from scraps or recycled materials. Something that provides shade and has great airflow will give them the hang out space to get a break on hot, sunny days. Photo: Jennifer Morotini

Tip #1: Shade

Make sure your birds have a shaded area where they can get out of the sun. If your birds are anything like mine, they love a good sunbathing session, but when they’re hot, they want somewhere to relax.

Whether it’s natural or man-made shade, either will work for your feathered friends. Mine have a coop with a run, and altogether they have about an acre to roam about freely. 

In this space, their coop is completely covered and shaded. They share a space with my goats and love to scratch around under trees or hang out in the goat pens. We also have a few “toys” our goats use to jump or lay on, and the chickens have used the shading from these to create their own dust baths. 

Since the sun moves throughout the day, I like to make sure that there are numerous shaded spots, so I know at every point during the day there is somewhere they can go.

Ice treats are easy to make, cost efficient compared to store bought treats, and you know exactly what they are consuming. Sliced apples, baby carrots, fresh dark and leafy vegetables, for example, work great. These treats went fast! Photo: Jennifer Morotini

Tip #2: Ice Treats

My husband says I treat my birds better than I treat him. I feel that’s a slight exaggeration, but I do put a lot of effort into making sure my boys and girls have cool treats during the hotter weather. 

Ice treats are one of the best frozen treats because it serves multiple purposes. These treats are not only a way to keep the birds cool, it’s also a good way to keep them entertained. They love having something to peck at, and the ice is a great temperature regulator. 

To make these, I get a freezer-safe baking dish. I fill it with apples and lettuce, then fill it with water and freeze the dish overnight. The next day, when I’m ready to treat my flock, I make sure to turn it upside and run some warm water over the dish (this helps to free it from the sides of the dish without cracking it). I throw the block to my birds, and they go to town. 

Your feathered friends will surely appreciate (and devour) these frozen fruit snacks. Just about any fruit you can think can be a frozen fruit treat. Photo: Jennifer Morotini

Tip #3: Frozen Fruit Snacks

These are a favorite among my flock, and super easy to prepare. To make frozen fruit snacks I take fruits that when frozen will end up with a popsicle-like consistency. 

My favorites are: blueberries, grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe. For the melons, I cut into bite-sized pieces, then put the fruit in a bowl or Tupperware. I freeze the fruit for a few hours (just long enough that it is a hard texture that I can no longer squish if I’m holding it).

When it’s frozen, I take the fruit out to the birds and toss it into their run. They absolutely love it!

Can you imagine being covered in feathers with a standard body temperature between 105 and 107 degrees and sitting in one of those boxes for 21 or more days to hatch the clutch of eggs your body worked to lay? Now imagine that on a warm and humid Virginia day, a week’s worth, or the entire brooding time of that sticky, hot weather. If your coop space has good ventilation and can remain comfortable, that is great. If not, you could consider adding a simple fan to help your broody hens remain comfortable.

Tip #4: Fan

To some, this seems a little over-the-top. My husband loves to say “what did chickens used to do before electricity?” True, but if I can make them more comfortable, I will. 

We have a box fan and an extension cord that reaches to our coop. If it is extremely hot, I will set up a chair outside the coop and run the fan at night or for my broody girls that aren’t moving. 

I make sure the cord is somewhere outside of the coop so that they can’t mess with it. I also make sure the fan is set up on a chair or something, completely out of the way, where it poses no harm if it accidently falls over. 

Food grade buckets are available at many of your local retailers. If you don’t have an option to run a water hose to your birds, a bucket is a reliable option to transport fresh water whenever needed. You can carry two buckets to ease the stress on your back. Use one to dunk and rinse your free standing waterers. The other you refill your waterers with nice, cool water midday. After you finish, use the bucket with dirty water to water your garden.

Tip #5: Fresh Water

This is something that should be pretty routine for chicken owners, especially during the summer. Much like any other water sitting out in the sun, it gets hotter as the temperature rises.

I have multiple water buckets for my birds, and many days I will refill them halfway through the day to cool the water down. (As a teacher on summer break, I have that time – I know many people don’t). 

If I’m not able to refill their water with cooler water throughout the day, I make sure that they have fresh cold water in the morning. I used to refill at night, but found that by morning, the water was already lukewarm, and it got very hot as the day progressed. By using cold water in the morning, it stays colder longer. 

An oscillating sled sprinkler, the old-school style we would play in the summertime, is a great option to add a misting and cool down the ground and space for your birds. These can be found at most major retailers and online suppliers.

Tip #6: Cooling Water

Some people like to get baby pools for their chickens to hop in and cool off. I’ve found that my birds want no part of this. However, they love a sprinkler or a muddy spot. 

One thing I do to help cool my birds is give them a little sprinkler action. I’ll turn on my rainbow sprinkler (the kind that goes back and forth slowly, not the kind that will shoot water laser beams at my birds), and they will run into it, then run away. Then run into it, then run away. They like the movement as well as the opportunity to cool down. 

They also love a good mud spot. Some days I’ll take the hose and just create a mud spot. The cool water gives them something nice to stand in, and they really like pecking and digging around in the freshly created mud.

A well-balanced mixed grain feed with very limited corn added is an excellent source of nutrition for your chickens. You can also utilize the processed feeds from local retailers. The key is to be sure they have the nutrition they need. Corn, when processed, is basically just sugar and increases the work to digest and increases body temperature. Understandably, being warmer in the warm months is not desirable. So limit the corn as much as possible.

Tip #7: Limit Corn

Corn is a natural heater – it will raise your chicken’s body temperature simply by them eating it. Because of this, corn should be used sparingly, and only as a treat every now and then.


Hopefully these helpful hints can give you some new, fun ways to gear up for summertime with your flock. Treating your birds isn’t something that has to break the bank or take up too much time. Finding simple ways to keep them cool and happy is the key, and they will love you for it!

Finding Swaps

The Pet Chickens of Virginia Association provides an event calendar on our website. The events include the dates, times, locations, and organizer information. Should an event location have their own social media page, the link is also included if applicable. If you know of an event that is not included, please let us know.

Starting Swaps

If you do not have a swap local to you, and you want to be a volunteer host, reach out to Pet Chickens of Virginia Association. They are happy to discuss it, determine if there is a location already available or aid in finding one, and guide you on the journey. Typically there is only one reason there is no local swap — There is no volunteer host.

Network – Connect – Learn – Share


Support local farmers, hobbyists, and creators throughout Virginia