July has warmed right up and the girls are feeling the Tennessee heat. I’m finding they spend more and more time on their roosts with their wings spread out a bit trying to catch any breeze they can or walking around with their beaks open as if panting. In the dead of summer when the heat index is in the 100’s we do everything we can to keep our chickens cool including reducing the fat in their diet and supplying lots of greens. The best thing we have found to keep our girlies chill is provide plenty of fresh, cool water morning and afternoon.
Chickens are curious creatures and we have found that adding items of interest encourages them to drink more. If we can add extra supporting nutrients, all the better. Our favorite mix is a bowl of cold water with cut up frozen berries and chopped herbs. We keep cranberries or blueberries on hand for this purpose because they are pretty inexpensive and just the right size when cut in half. We have an abundance of oregano, lemon balm and mint by the back door so that’s what my chickies get most often but we’ll add dill, lavender, rosemary and flowers as well. Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily has a terrific article on using herbs with chickens and she has an amazing guide on how to use them for all kinds of purposes. My girls flock to the bowl as soon as it’s set out and have been less stressed by the heat this year. Less stress means happier chicken and more consistent egg production. A win for all!