Summer is fast upon us, and with it comes the heat. We can do all we can to keep our chickens cool, but sometimes we wish there was more. Keeping your hens cool is imperative to keep the eggs coming. But what more is there to do besides installing chicken A/C? Let’s take a look at 9 summer treats for backyard chickens, guaranteed to cool and refresh.
#1 Frozen Fruits And Veggies
What kind of treats can you give chickens in the summer? One of the best cold treats for chickens is frozen foods. Fruits and vegetables have the antioxidants and water your hens need to stay hydrated. And when you stick them into the freezer for a few hours, they make an even tastier treat.
You can freeze almost anything healthy for your hens to keep them refreshed. Berries, peas, carrots, and any of your hen’s favorites are perfect for this. You can even add these frozen foods to your hen’s drinking water. They will love bobbing for frozen treats, and they will get a refreshing splash.
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Nothing says summer like a big slice of cool watermelon. Did you also know that watermelon is also a fantastic treat for chickens? Watermelon is the perfect treat to keep your chickens hydrated. But it’s also filled with vitamins and antioxidants to keep your chickens healthy and strong.
Specifically, watermelon is high in potassium which gives your chickens the electrolytes to prevent heat exhaustion. So how do your chickens like their watermelon? They love it anyway you do, chilled or room temperature. So the next time you have a watermelon snack, invite your chickens! If you’re lucky, the seeds will scatter into a new watermelon patch.
There is some truth behind the phrase “cool as a cucumber.” Cucumbers have tons of potassium and vitamin C that not only keep your chickens refreshed but also protect against the sun. Recent studies show that if you consume enough vitamin C, then you better deflect harmful UV rays.
However, these studies were mostly done on people. But why not give your hens a slight boost in case it works for them too. Feeding chilled cucumber is a refreshing snack that your hens will love. And since it’s such a low-calorie food, you won’t feel bad giving them a bit. That’s why it’s on our 9 summer treats for backyard chickens.
If you haven’t already planted a mint garden, maybe this will push you to. Mint gives you a nice relaxed feeling when you eat it, and the same goes for your chickens. The reason this works so well is due to the natural menthol in the leaves. The menthol spreads through your bloodstream and triggers cold sensations in the skin.
In addition to cooling effects, mint also calms a stressed flock. So if your hens seem stressed by a sweltering summer, giving them a bit of mint might help. You can give it to them fresh out of the garden or mix it in with a small salad. They aren’t picky and might help themselves to your mint plants if you make it available to them.
#5 Fermented Feed
What Should I feed my chickens in the summer? The fermented feed has so many health benefits all year round. It helps aid in digestion and can give you better tasting eggs. But it also helps keep your chickens cool in the summer. How does this work? Well, chickens digest fermented feed faster, and it’s better metabolized than regular feed.
The reason this is so important is that chickens generate a lot of heat while they digest. Most layer feeds have grains that fill your hens and take hours to digest. With this feed sitting in their stomachs for so long, they will produce much-unwanted body heat. But fermented feed fills your chicken’s stomach fast and metabolizes just as quickly. Then they are off foraging for the rest of their foods.
If the fermented feed isn’t your forte, yogurt might be right up your alley. Yogurt is a favorite cold treats for chickens due to it being refrigerated. You could even throw in bits of frozen fruits for more vitamins and nutrients. But what sets yogurt apart from regular treats is the probiotics in it.
Greek yogurt is high in beneficial bacteria and protein. This bacteria will help your chickens digest foods easily and keep them cool. You can even make your own frozen yogurt and blend it with a few fruits for flavor. Your hens will feel refreshed and have a tasty treat in one.
#7 Freeze The Feed
Next on our 9 summer treats for backyard chickens is simple frozen food. Take your regular feed and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes before dinner. You don’t want the food frozen solid but just enough to cool it off. There is also a caution to this.
Feeding frozen foods as a diet could chill your chickens too quickly. If the food is too cold and they overeat, it could cause other problems. For one, it could cause an upset in their digestions. Another reason you should do this only occasionally is that cooling too fast could cause hypothermia in extreme cases.
#8 Chicken Ice Pops
The next cold treats for chickens on our list are ice pops. Just like a child eating their freeze pop in summer, your chickens would love these treats. But we have a homemade version that’s not only safe for your hens but also healthy. All you need is:
- A blender
- Ice cube tray
- Fresh mint
- And cucumber
Take the watermelon and cucumber and blend it up until smooth. Add the chopped mint and freeze in the ice tray. When your chicken are hot in the summer months, pop a few out for refreshment.
You can give these chicken popsicles as is, or you can float them in a refreshing drink. Either way, your chickens will love them. Plus, they add treats already mentioned to keep your hens hydrated and chilled from the inside out.
#9 Chicken Ice Tea
Ok, so we spoil our chickens with this one. But did you know that chickens love a tall glass of ice tea to cool off in the hot summer months? We aren’t suggesting that you share your sweet tea with your hens, though. Instead, you should make a special chicken ice tea. What you will need are:
- Mint leaves
- Hibiscus flower petals
- And lavender
You can use fresh or dried. It doesn’t make too much of a difference for any of these ingredients. After you have collected all of these, boil water, pour it over the herbs, and let it steep for 10-20 minutes. Then all you have to do is add ice and your chickens have a delicious refreshment.
These herbs are best for chicken tea because they all have properties that your hens need to keep cool. They are high in potassium, anti-inflammatory, and refreshing for everyone. And you can give this tea several times a week without it interfering with their diets.
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How Many Times A Day Should I Feed My Chickens?
In the summer, you might be worried that you have to change your regular feeding times. But you don’t have to change much. Most people notice that their hens eat the most during the mornings, and they seem not to eat all day. We assure you, though, they are getting plenty of bugs and herbs to eat.
If you watch your hens, they are getting the same amount of food that they always have. They are just saving you money by looking for it themselves, which isn’t a bad thing. You will still want to have feed available to them all the time and treats in the evening when they finish foraging.
How many cold treats for chickens should I feed?
Treats are another issue altogether. A chicken’s diet should never be more than 5-10% treats or just a few tablespoons per day. That may not seem like a lot to you, but to a chicken, it is everything. So your flock can technically have treats every day, but calorie-wise they need to be healthy.
With treats like watermelon and cucumber, they are low calorie to feed them more often. But you should only give heavy cold treats for chickens once a week. So we suggest planning these treats accordingly to prevent overweight birds.
Are There Foods To Avoid In Summer?
How can I make my backyard chickens happy in the summer? We’ve talked a lot about the best treats to cool hens, but is there anything you should avoid? We suggest staying away from foods that take a long time to digest and produce body heat. Your hens should avoid foods like whole corn, grains, and scratch feeds in the summer months. Eliminating these hard-to-digest feeds will keep your hens cool longer.
So Pull Up A Chair And Ice Tea
You and your flock will live the high life with these 9 summer treats for backyard chickens. Your hens will start to wonder what they did to deserve such excellent treatment. And since they are calm and happy, you will keep getting those delicious eggs.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!