Well, summer’s back sooner than I’d hoped here in NC. Let me tell you what, the short lived days of 60’s and 70’s are long gone… Anyways, as we know, chickens aren’t good with the heat, same as any animal and human. Since chickens can’t sweat, they release body heat by panting, which isn’t always good either. Keeping your chickens cool as possible and un-stressed as possible are very important in ensuring their health in the summer. For the first way to beat the heat out of a few blogs that’ll be going up, I’ll be showing you the popular ice cube treats that you can make for your chickens. They’re super simple and quick, and after a little spectating, your chickens will love them! You can either give them the cubes in an empty pan or fill the pan with water. I find that since the ice cubes melt into the water and make it cooler, I like to put the cubes in water so that way the girls have access to cold water when it’s hot like this. Anyways, here’s what I like to put in my ice cubes for my girls!
Ice Cube Fillers
As we know, herbs are amazing to keep your flock healthy and to help treat illness. For another benefit, herbs are thought to help cool chickens down from the inside out. Any herb in the mint family is a good example of this, and I find that my chickens don’t mind the taste of Mint, whereas Peppermint they didn’t find tasty last year, so I didn’t plant it again this year for them. With all of this being said, I always add some variation of mint to the ice cubes. I also add basil because it’s also thought to have cooling properties, and it’s a flock favorite! When making the ice cubes, I rip the herbs into finer pieces and put as even bunches as I can in the trays. Typically it’s about 3-4 leaves in each. After filling each tray up with water, I freeze them as use them on the super hot days.
My girls always stare at the cubes for a while before one is brave enough to try the water. After they all see that it’s safe, they all enjoy drinking it more than the other water options I have outside, (here for what I like to use in their waters), and I feel better knowing that they get an option for cold water. Usually after the water warms up a little and they stop drinking it, I’ll take each chicken and place their feet in the water. Doing this helps them cool down from the outside. Placing their combs in the water works as well, but I find the feet are easier. This works because the feet and the comb help get rid of heat, like panting does since a chicken can’t sweat. I have a couple birds who don’t mind the water, and with enough encouragement I’ve seen a few go into the water pan on their own. On the other hand, the rest of the flock doesn’t want anything to do with the pan, so it’s always a struggle to get them to cooperate.
Anyways, that’s what I like to use in my ice cubes, and I hope you make your own variation of the popular idea. Using fruits like strawberries or frozen blueberries works, along with freezing chunks of watermelon (which I will be doing once it’s in season). Either way, it’ll serve as a nice treat for your chickens, and I think they’ll appreciate it!
Dancing with Chickens