A Heat Treat

It’s hot and humid. Record breaking temperatures are expected this afternoon. This stresses the hens. The girls pant and hold their wings out and off of their bodies.

I know they’re okay because they’re eating, drinking,  moving around, and even laying eggs. But, still, I’d like to make them more comfortable, and I know just the treat.


Hydration and electrolytes in one easily-consumed package.

It didn’t take long for Topaz to look refreshed.

Thanks, Chicken Maid!

For more hints about how to keep your hens comfortable in severe heat, check my FAQ.

The large melons at the market cost only a little more than the “individual sized.” Although I can’t eat a whole melon, it goes quickly when I share it with the hens. I saved enough for myself to make a feta, mint and watermelon salad. (No recipe! Just toss together with a little lemon juice and olive oil.)

If my son and husband were home, we could easily go through a whole watermelon and I’d buy a second for the hens. But the boys are off at Boy Scout camp this week. Whenever Steve is away something happens. So far, the first night, the septic pump alarm went off. The next day I had two crews here fixing the system. Today the web sites went down. Tomorrow a severe thunderstorm and hail is in the forecast. It’s shaping up to be an interesting week.





  1. We too had record breaking heat at the end of June & beginning of July… 108 with a heat index of 114. I have to say that watermelon rules when it comes to hot chickens! Even if we and the girls don’t consume it all, it goes in the freezer against the next heat wave. They love frozen and semi-frozen cubes of watermelon or just frozen chunks and slices with the rind. They have learned how to defrost it in a hurry. It is amazing how much better they seem to feel after eating it in extreme heat. I hope your storms are not severe, it’s hail I worry about. We are back down to ‘normal’ now, today it’s in the upper 90’s and I did haul out a bit of watermelon and cranberries….no drop wing and no panting yet. I think they are getting used to it.

  2. I see on the hen cam that they made short work of that melon! Mine love it too. I froze a few slices yesterday and it was like a melon popsicle for them. Spoiled.

  3. LOVE the pictures of them together. The different colors/breeds mixed together in your flock, they are very beautiful. Thank you for sharing Terry.

  4. I must say I wasn’t particularly enamoured of watermelon until I had it at your house – unbelievable flavour, we just don’t get them tasting like that here…. I would have been in there fighting the hens for it, heat or no heat!

  5. What a thirst quencher and hydrater. I love watermelon any time of year but especially when it’s hot. Great idea to let the hens have this delicious treat.

  6. Terry, I noticed the watermelons look seedless. Is this important? I’ve been giving mine both kinds. Does it matter?

    • Seeds are fine in moderation, and I’m sure they’ll be fine because they’re eating the seeds with the rest of the watermelon. Just seeds with hulls is another story.

  7. I have had 4 broody hens sitting through this heat wave…. one was sitting on 3 of the neighbors peacock eggs, a week before they were due, she kicked 2 out of the nesting box, they sounded like water inside when gently shaken, so I knew they were gone. The 3rd hatched on day 30, but died half out of the egg before I got home. The next hen was sitting on six eggs, one by one she kicked them out, they had a week left to go… they are now all gone. The last two are still sitting. They have fans, ice water, melon, classical music, all right there! I have had successful hatches early in the spring and summer, but wonder if this extreme heat is jusy too much for the fertile eggs to go all the way? If so, should try to get the currently sitting hens to stop and return them to the flock? Just wondering… Laura

    • Laura, I don’t have experience hatching peacock eggs under broodies, let alone in this extreme heat! Any of my readers letting their broodies hatch eggs in this weather?

      • I would think the hatch rate would be very low. The ambient temp. is higher than the temp. should be to hatch eggs in a incubator. I’ve noticed my broody’s spend a lot of time just kind of hoovering over the eggs instead of actually sitting on them. There instincts tell them it’s too hot to sit on them for long periods. (I’m not hatching).
        Laura if you are really wanting to hatch chicks I would bring the hens into the basement otherwise I think your and the hens efforts are basically fruitless.

        I hate wishing my life away but I can’t wait for Sept. to get here, I am OVER this heat. 24 days and counting with temps over 90 degress and about half of that in the 100’s, 100′ today and tomorrow and most of next week looks like temps in the 100’s.

        • Ken, of course you’re right. It’s too hot to hatch! Too hot for anything. We have, thankfully had a break and temps were down 20 degrees this morning. Empress Candy was hopping about.

  8. I had put peacock eggs under a hen in the spring as well a turkey egg and they hatched out just fine… granted, the mother hens and “their” chicks made a comical group! When they were a month old, I let the hen return to the flock, but she stayed near her charges and made sure other hens did not go near them for some time! Even now, the hen that raised the turkey seemd to know and like to stay near him, and he does respond positively toward her. Just hatched those eggs for friends as a lark, but it was very interesting to watch the interactions! Of the 4 broody hens I have, three were sitting on their own eggs, one has lost them all … the other two are still sitting, They all were candled and looked great, but seem to lose them in the last week or so. I followed advice from your site and froze melen chunks last night! Laura