Cool Chicks

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about keeping chickens cool in the heat. Living in South Carolina, that’s a big concern for me and my chicken girls.

You’re probably thinking, “How do you know if your chickens can’t take the heat?” Chickens pant and lift their wings when they are hot. They can even die of heatstroke. It’s essential to provide them with fresh water and keep their water container filled. On super hot days, I toss ice cubes in their waterer. Shade is also very important. Mine spend their days in a shady run and their nights in a coop that has been shaded all day. Their run has plenty of dirt for dust baths (which also keeps them cool) as well as a little “sandbox” that they like to sit it. I’m not sure what that is all about.

Thanks to Fresh Eggs Daily, I learned about a great treat for hens on a hot summer day… frozen peas! I happened to have a bag of them in the freezer so I gave it a try. I poured a few in a bowl and set it in their run. They were apprehensive at first, as they are with anything new. Before long, one of them took a chance and tried a pea. It didn’t take long for the rest of the group to join in. An hour later, I went out to check on their progress and the entire bowl was empty! I noticed a lot of peas scattered on the ground though. You know how kids scatter them around on their plate to make it look like they ate some of them? It was like that. So, the jury is out on whether they like peas or not. They certainly did have fun pecking at them and throwing them around!

By the way, peas aren’t the only frozen treat you can feed your chickens. Most frozen fruits and veggies will work, with the exception of citrus fruits and raw potatoes, which are not good for them. I hear they go crazy over watermelon, including the rind. Frozen grapes are another favorite. Another cheap and easy treat is ice cubes with fresh mint or other herbs mixed in. Who knew chickens had such sophisticated palates?!

UPDATE: The peas that were scattered on the ground were gone before the end of the afternoon. Guess that means they like peas. Good chickens!


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4 thoughts on “Cool Chicks

  1. This post is loaded with interesting information. We had chickens when I lived on the farm many years ago. You can definitely tell when a chicken is hot. One way is that they hold their beaks open.

    When you were doing your research on what chickens eat, did you read anything about them eating pea gravel? I’m fairly certain that they do.

        • The crop is the pre-gizzard, for lack of a better description. It’s at the center of the chest/neck area and bulges after they have eaten. They hold food/grit/gravel in the crop and release it a little at a time to the gizzard, where the grinding takes place. Mine have access to natural grit and gravel in the soil, but I also give them commercial grit. When I first gave it to them, they ate it like it was food and I kind of freaked out!

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