The popularity of keeping backyard poultry continues to grow with more people recognising they are amazing multi-functional livestock.
Keeping chooks at home will provide your family with delicious fresh eggs as well as highly nutritious compost inputs. They are great for natural pest control, enjoying a diet rich in slaters, snails, ticks, ants and other troublesome critters. Their scratching provides useful soil maintenance and they are a great help for veggie garden bed preparation.
Don't forget too that backyard chooks can be loveable pets that provide the family many hours of entertainment and joy, along with great learning experiences for children.
Summer Chicken Care Tips
Summer is here which means your backyard chooks will need a little extra TLC to help them thrive through the warm months. Before you leave home for the day, check what the temperature is going to be, and ensure your birds are adequately protected from the heat.
1. Small coops turn into ovens very quickly in hot weather. Place your pens under trees and vines for shade. If you cannot grow anything over the pen in the short term then shade cloth or hessian (burlap) is a great help. Letting your chooks out to free range for the day means they can find their own cool spot.
3. Poultry will not drink hot water so they will dehydrate very quickly in hot weather without cool water. Small quantities of water get hot very quickly; offer large bowls or troughs to keep the contents cool. Frozen ice bottles in the water bowls help to keep it cooler as well.
4. Birds love to bathe in damp mud and enjoy the coolness from the wet ground. Large bowls of water which they can stand in are also a great asset in hot weather. Put a brick in the large bowl so the birds can easily climb out.
5. Chooks and other birds can become vitamin depleted in hot weather as they sweat, losing soluble vitamins such as vitamin C. Giving water soluble vitamins before and during hot weather will help your birds cope and recover better.
Do you have any top tips for caring for chooks through Summer? Please share them below.
For further information about caring for chickens we recommend reading Backyard Poultry - Naturally by Alanna Moore