Ice Water for Chickens

The weather forecasters are predicting that this will be the hottest week of the year.

Even Twiggy, my White Leghorn, is panting.

twiggy

 

(She’s also desperately in need of going into the molt and replacing those worn out feathers.)

Excessive heat causes stress in the flock. It can kill. Your hens will seek relief in the shade. Mine get low in soft, damp, cool soil. Shade helps, but it’s also essential that they drink. They won’t if their waterer is across the sweltering pen in the stifling coop. If the waterer is outside, but is in a metal dispenser set out in the sun, it can be near-boiling hot. They won’t drink that either.

I prefer the metal waterers for their ease in filling, large capacity and sturdy construction. But, when the heat gets excessive, I pull out inexpensive plastic waterers. They’ll need a cleaning after a year in storage.

waterers

 

 

I fill them halfway with water, then put into the freezer for a day.

in freezer

 

Then I take them out and top off with cool water. I set them on a raised platform (bricks work well – anything to keep them up off the dirt to keep the water clean.) I find a place in the shade for them.

ice water

 

You can see here how the hens choose the ice-cold water over what’s in the metal dispenser. That metal waterer, however, is far preferred to the one in the coop. It’s all relative.

Of course, at some point the ice will melt and the water will warm. That’s okay. At least you’ll be reassured that they’ve been hydrated.

I have more tips on how to care of your flock of hens in the heat in this FAQ.

Pip Update:

He’s fine! Once I let my veterinarian know that the toxins didn’t get him, she had a plan for encouraging him to eat with a yogurt drench, but it wasn’t necessary. By the next morning, Pip was eating with his usual gusto and walking about with a serene I’m no trouble at all smile on his face.

Pip

 

By the way, I forgot to mention one thing in the report of how I handled frothy bloat. Here’s a bit of advice: When your goat is vomiting and you think that he might be choking, do NOT put your fingers in his mouth to pull out the green masses. Goat teeth are sharp and jagged and the wound you’ll get from being serrated by them will not be pretty  I now have a scar on my index finger to illustrate what not to do.

Comments:

  1. Hope the heat will not be as bad as predicted.
    On another subject: I am still unable to access two of the cams. My regular computer is in the shop trying to be brought back to life.and when it returns will try again. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

  2. gave the girls watermelon this morning and fresh water but im going to do the frozen water too.
    glad pip ok

  3. Yeah, I popped in around 10 and saw you were up to 90 already. Yikes. It’s hot here, too, but not THAT early! Yeesh. My sympathies to everyone and SO glad Pip is back to his old self.

    As for getting into their mouths, if you have help, a stick stuck quickly into one side of the mouth between the teeth will help you to get in and out with a minimal loss of flesh. Just make sure you keep moving! :)

  4. Freezing water is a great idea Terry. Looks like your lady are enjoying a cool drink. Poor Twiggy, she’s such a mover and shaker, maybe she will take a time out soon.
    Our temps are getting a bit lower, but the humidity is terrible and storms are on the way.
    So glad to hear Pip is just fine. He seems like such a sweet fellow.

  5. Another example how you are caring and loving owner of all animals. Thank you for sharing how to keep chickens comfortable in the heat.

  6. There’s always the story they tell in vet school of a cow that was suspected of choking. After multiple vets and students tried their hand at identifying and removing the “obstruction”, it turned out the the that the cow was foaming at the mouth because it had rabies….

    So glad Pip has recovered! And thank you for the great tip on providing ice water.

  7. Really pleased Pip is all better. Frozen waterers are a great idea, I use ice cubes but we do not get anywhere near as hot as you have had. I would hope there are iced drinks for you and Steve as well….:)
    Off blog.. How is Jasper doing, Maggie seems perfectly okay since she laid the deflated, yolk less egg and has gone into a molt. Could she have laid the funny eggs because she was starting to molt ?

    • Jasper, too, is heading in to the molt. Both our hens were worn out. Hopefully a break in production will do them good.