The Five Best Summertime Treats for Chickens


Chickens struggle as the mercury rises, but with these cooling, water-laden treats, you can help them get through the hot weather more comfortably. Like most animals, they handle the cold far better than heat, and heat exhaustion is a very real thing in backyard flocks.

I feed my chickens slightly different treats at different times of the year. In the cold months, I focus on high-energy, warming treats like scratch grains, oatmeal, suet cakes or seed blocks.  
In the warm months, my focus turns to treats with high water content that will help them stay cool.  In addition to plenty of shade and cold water (with homemade electrolytes added during extreme heatwaves and even a frozen water bottle in the tub of water to keep it colder longer), your chickens will enjoy some cooling treats to help them replenish some of the fluids they lose in the heat.
These are my top five favorite summertime treats for chickens.

Chilled Watermelon

Hands down, my chickens (and ducks) favorite hot weather treat is watermelon. Sliced, cubed, balled, diced or halved, they will eat as much as you offer to them. They'll eat the flesh, seed and even the rind if you let them. I even like to fill the watermelon halves with cool water for them after they've eaten the flesh. If you grow your own watermelon, that's great, they'll eat it straight from the garden, but chilled is better - and frozen is even better. Note: cantaloupe, honey dew and other types of melons are also great options.

Chilled Cucumber Slices

Similar to melons, cucumbers contain lots of water. Egg production will tend to drop during heat waves to help chickens conserve their energy and also some of the fluid in their body. Since eggs are largely made up of water, giving them water-laden treats is super beneficial.

Frozen Berries or Veggies

Frozen blueberries, cranberries, corn or peas are a favorite treat in the summer. I keep a few bags in the freezer just to use as summertime treats for my chickens.

Frozen Ice Pops

If you're feeling a bit more ambitious, try making some ice pops for your chickens using fruits, berries, veggies like peas, corn or chopped carrots, and herbs. Freeze everything in ice cube trays or muffin tins,  or even a Bundt pan or loaf pan for larger flocks, then pop them out and serve them when the temperatures rise.

Cold "Cereal" Mash
Not even really a treat - technically - in the summertime I like to stir some ice water into my chickens' regular layer feed to make sort of a wet mash. They really seem to love eating their feed as a cold meal, especially if I add some frozen berries to it!

Offering your chickens a variety of cooling, water-laden treats in the summertime will help them beat the heat and be more comfortable as the temperatures rise.
References/Further Reading:
How to Make Homemade Electrolytes
Hot Weather and Acidosis
Help your Chickens Beat the Summer Heat
Confetti Ice Wreath

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