9 Ways to Help Your Chickens in Hot Weather

When the temperature rises, you’re not the only one dealing with the heat and humidity. Your chickens are probably feeling the it too.

The good news is, there’s a lot you can do to keep your chickens comfortable when the summer sun starts shining. 

Here at Henny+Roo, we’ve got a few cool recommendations for you to help your chickens in hot weather.

1. Provide Summer Shade

Chickens are super self-sufficient. They know when they’re overheated. 

In fact, one of the first things your chickens will do when they’re hot is seek out shade. So, if your chooks are confined to their coop, or run, make sure they have shelter from the sun. 

And if they’re free-rangers, they’ll probably seek shade under bushes…most likely where there’s a dust bath. 

You can add tarps, shrubbery, or anything you’ve got laying around the yard to add temporary shade on the hottest days of the year.

2. Dig a Dust Bath

If you have free-range chickens, you’ll often see them taking dust baths on super hot days. This is because it helps them chill out. 

Help them out by creating a special space in your chicken run for a dust bath. And make sure it’s big enough to hold your whole flock because they’ll all want to get in on the sunbathing. 

Dust baths can be made using a shallow bin, a wood frame, a barrier with logs or stones or even just a dry corner or the yard or run. It should be easy for them to get into and large enough to allow your chicken to lie in, spread their wings and flick dust over their whole body.

It can be filled with dry, fine dirt or sand, and can be enhanced with dried herbs, wood ash, or diatomaceous earth if you prefer.

Try Henny+Roo Coop Complete Dried Herbs in the coop and dust bathing area to repel pests, calm chickens, and freshen the area.

You can also purchase dust bathing substrate. We like this one from Lixit which is available in a 5.5 lb tub.

3. Water, Water, and More Water

It usually goes without saying that chickens need access to fresh, clean, water 24/7. But when the heat is on, the water might need refilling more often than usual. Your chickens will frequent their watering hole a lot more often when it’s hot outside. 

So, monitor your waterers throughout the day to make sure your chickens are never without refreshment.

Additionally, ensure waterers are large and can hold enough water to get your chickens through the day if you’re away at work during a hot spell.

4. Ice Helps Chickens in Hot Weather

Speaking of water, if you’re able to, keep it even colder on hot days. You can do this by adding ice cubes to the waterers. 

Your chickens will appreciate the icy cool water, and may even enjoy playing with the ice cubes.

You don’t have to put ice in the waterers, but just think of how you feel when you’re about to take a drink from your ice-cold water glass on a hot day and it’s HOT! In other words, your chickens will appreciate it.

5. Add Electrolytes to Combat Dehydration

As a preventative measure, you might consider adding electrolytes to your chickens’ waterers to hold of dehydration from the heat.

If you’re not sure if your chickens are dehydrated or not, feel free to add electrolytes. It doesn’t hurt to add them, even if your chickens aren’t dehydrated. 

Henny+Roo 3 in 1 Vitamins Electrolytes and Probiotics for Poultry helps you meet your flock’s supplemental needs and can be added directly to their water. Electrolytes help optimize health and hydration during hot weather and times of stress. Vitamins are necessary for cellular functions. And probiotics help beneficial bacteria grow in the digestive tract, aiding digestive health.

6. Fresh Food For Chickens in Hot Weather

Give your chickens fresh food.

And when we say fresh food, we mean fresh, FROZEN food. Like frozen treats right out of the freezer. Think: watermelon.  

Chickens l.o.v.e. watermelon on any given day, but when it’s scorching hot out, they’ll go crazy for a super cold melon…just for them. 

Other water-heavy veggies, like iceberg lettuce, also help keep your chicks cool and hydrated when the heat rises.

7. Easy Breezy

If your chickens are overheating, they’ll appear to be panting, like a dog. But chickens can’t drool or sweat (like us) to keep cooll. Instead, they pant and fluff out their wings hoping to catch a breeze.

In other words, if overheating, your chickens will look as hot as you probably feel on a scorcher. If this happens, your chickens need some relief. Give them a fan and place them in a breezy area with lots of cool water and light watery treats. 

A simple breeze will do wonders for your chickens. You can even put a barn-safe fan nearby to keep them cool in the coop. 

8. Stress Less

You know it feels when your stressed out and it’s hot out? Yeah, you may sweat, you’re probably uncomfortable, and you just wish you could catch a break. Well, chickens stress…out all the time. 

It’s kind of their thing. 

So, do your best to keep your chickens calm during hot weather. Make sure they have everything they need (all the creature comforts), keep predators away, and separate bully hens and roosters to keep the stress under control. 

9. Kiddie Pools and Sprinklers

Chickens don’t typically enjoy swimming. But some might take advantage of a nearby sprinkler or kiddie pool. If they don’t, they may reap some of the benefits of the coolness of the water nearby, regardless of their swimming abilities. 


Henny+Roo monthly supply boxes for chicken keepers have been providing poultry enthusiasts with seasonal supplies and gifts since 2016. See what all the excitement is about on Instagram and visit our website at hennyandroo.com to learn more! New subscribers always save 10% on their first subscription with code: NEWSUB at checkout.

When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs? 6 Signs Eggs Are on the Way

If you’re waiting for chickens to start laying eggs, you may be wondering what to watch for so you can be ready for the harvest!

The truth is some chickens take longer than others to mature. So there is no right answer as to when your chickens will start laying. 

With that being said, here are some telltale signs that your hens are ready to start serving up breakfast for your family. 

1. It’s Been About Six Months

Chickens are sexually mature around 6 months of age. This means, their bodies are ready to start producing eggs! 

With that being said, there are a variety of factors that can influence the exact start of a hen’s egg-laying career, like: 

  • Environmental factors
  • Breed
  • Illness
  • Nutrition

As a rule of thumb, six months is a good timeframe to watch for fresh eggs, but your hens could start laying sooner, or a bit later, than that. 

2. Your Hens Start to Squat

It sounds a little silly but squatting when approached by a rooster, or other animals, is an indication that your hen has reached sexual maturity, and is ready to lay some fresh eggs. 

This is a behavior that assists the rooster in mating with the hen. Hens become submissive and squat down, allowing the rooster to do his thing. 

You can test this behavior by lightly pushing on the hens back to see if she becomes submissive. If so, eggs won’t be far behind!

3. Changes in Combs and Wattles

As hens develop, and near maturity (ie egg-laying season), you may notice that their combs and wattles turn from pinkish to a beautiful bright red!

Combs will also become larger as your hens grow. And, as a side note, a rooster’s accessories become bigger and more red as well but this usually happens much sooner.

4. Hens Begin to Eat More

As most critters do, hens eat a lot more as they grow and develop. But laying eggs requires more energy than simply spending time as a growing pullet. Hens gearing up to lay their first eggs need more protein, calcium, and other valuable nutrients in order to lay healthy, strong, eggs. 

With that being said, your hens will start eating more than they did before they were ready to lay eggs.

It can be difficult to determine how much a single hen is eating, but you may notice the feeder needing to be refilled more often than before. 

5. Hens May Become Nervous

A hen that’s about to start laying may go through a behavior change. In fact, she may appear more nervous and unsettled. She may even give you a start and pop out of strange nooks and crannies through the coop or barn. 

So be on the lookout, because it can be quite startling!

Hens that hide out, nervously search for….something, and hunker down in cozy crannies are often on the verge of laying their first eggs. 

6. They’ve Noticed the Nesting Boxes

In addition to nervously searching for their own special space to lay their eggs, hens close to maturity may seek out a nesting box that they’ve ignored for the past few months. 

Young hens may curiously hang out by older hens utilizing the nesting boxes. They’re learning from them, and even though they may be annoying to the experienced layer wishing for her privacy, these young pullets are picking up all kinds of tips and tricks. 

It All Depends on Your Hen

While the actual date a hen starts giving you eggs will vary, these are the signs that point to fresh eggs in the coop…soon!

So if your hens are happy and healthy, they’ll start laying as soon as their bodies are able to do so. A hen that lays early may develop internal problems, and her eggs may be rubbery or misshapen (which could potentially be painful). 

All this to say, your hen will know when she’s ready. And all you need to do is ensure she has the nutrition required to produce those tasty eggs. If you do, you’ll be rewarded handsomely, all in good time.

Henny+Roo is the first and foremost subscription box for backyard chicken keepers – sending boxes of treats, first aid and coop items, along with gifts for you since 2016. Learn about our monthly plans and non-subscription offerings at: hennyandroo.com

Inside the June 2021 Henny+Roo Box for Chicken Keepers

Summer is here, and we hope you and your flock are taking the time to enjoy the outdoors. We hope that your June selections help you enjoy every moment of good weather and times with your flock and family!

Free Range Rooster Camp Cup: A fun way to celebrate the 4th of July while showing off your passion for poultry.

Hentastic Peck ‘n Mix Herb Surprise: Thank your ladies for all those eggs!

Hydro Hen Drinking Water Supplement: Probiotics, electrolytes, and acidifiers to provide hydration and gut health when your birds need it most. For all species and ages of poultry. Makes 22 one-gal servings.

Rollerball Oil Perfume: Hay Bale is a fragrance exclusive to Henny+Roo featuring fresh notes of clover and aloe.

Chicken Layer Love Feed: Combining proper proportions of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, amino acids, and biologicals, these pellets and mealworms are lighted coated with secondary and trace elements that have been Ultra Chelated.

Aluminum Treat Scoop: For dishing out feed, treats, grit, etc.

Throwback Logo Sticker: We’re celebrating our 6th year in business with one of our first logos, by request of some of our longest-term subscribers!

Nesting Box Liner: In every box!

The June box is sold out, so sadly, we don’t have any for sale on our website at hennyandroo.com. The only way to make sure you get one of our monthly boxes, you have to be a subscriber. Join the first and foremost subscription service for backyard chicken keepers, and save 10% with code NEWSUB

!

Roosters With A Bad Rap (And Why You Might Want One)

Roosters get a bad reputation, but one bad egg in the bunch shouldn’t condemn an entire lot of roosters to the soup pot. 

Roos are often misunderstood because they can be aggressive. Certain individual birds (and some breeds) may be more prone to chasing humans, attacking other critters, and of course, crowing…a lot. 

But the truth is, they’re not all bad. In fact, much of their “aggressive” behavior is actually beneficial for the flock. Moreover, you’ll find that most roosters aren’t actually mean at all.

So, to set the record straight, let’s take a look at commonly frowned-upon rooster behavior and how it’s actually good for the flock. 

Mean Rooster Behavior and What it Means

It’s easy to just write off the following as bad behavior from a bad rooster. But let’s think it through a bit first.

Because, in most cases, there’s a reason for the behavior.

Crowing (Not Just in The Morning)

Roosters crow.

All the time. 

But there’s a reason for crowing, and usually, it’s to either communicate with the flock, warn off predators, or ask something of you. 

Roosters can assert themselves to both predators and other roosters and the point is to show whoever he’s talking to that he’s the boss around here…and these are his hens. 

Crowing can be a good thing if you don’t mind the sound of it because it may keep predators at bay, warn you of impending doom, and help the flock find food or safety (because that’s what roosters often talk about most). 

Roos are keen on finding the best treats for their ladies, and when they find a tasty morsel, he will be the last to eat. Instead, he clucks, crows, or calls to his ladies to let them know there are some good eats nearby!

Lastly, roosters crow if they need something. If your flock is confined and they are out of food or water, you better believe your rooster will let you know about it!

Roosters Chasing Humans

Roosters who chase humans or other animals usually do so to protect their hens.

Unfortunately, they may chase us even though we aren’t a threat. For some reason, some roosters are on higher alert than others and misdirect their aggression toward the wrong person. 

In the wild, roosters who chase off possible threats are a blessing to the flock. Just think about it, if we’re intimidated by a puffed-up rooster booking it toward us then their scare tactics might work on other, less well-meaning, beings as well. 

This behavior becomes a problem, however, when roosters act on their aggression by using their beak and spurs to injure humans or other domestic animals.

Fighting with Other Roosters

Speaking of harming other animals. Keeping more than one rooster in a flock is not always a good idea. 

It can be done, with the right roosters (who were also raised together). And if there are enough hens to go around for both of the boys in the flock, it might be feasible.

But even then, one day, you may find your two favorite gentlemen in a bloody battle for the flock. 

And that’s how things work in the natural world. One rooster is typically dominant over all the hens in the flock, and if the other boys nearby disagree it will most likely end in death. 

Considering natural selection, when referring to this aggressive bird-on-bird behavior, you could think of the winning rooster as the strongest to lead your flock. In that case, choose which roo you’d like to keep on for the job and which you will relocate or process.

Favorite Hens Looking Shabby?

Sometimes a certain hen becomes the apple of your rooster’s eye, and she gets, ahem, most of his attention (wink, wink…elbow jab, if you know what I mean).

And you might think it’s a good thing, but that poor hen needs a break and if your rooster doesn’t lay off of the hen in question, you may need to relocate her. 

Another reason your hens may look a little rough around the feathers is that there aren’t enough hens for your overly zealous rooster in your flock.

Adding a few more (like you need a reason to add more chickens, right?) will help distribute your rooster’s, um, affections amongst the flock more evenly and help his favorites heal.

As a side note: if your hens’ feathers have been ripped out from a well-meaning rooster, they will grow back after their next molt.

Should you need to protect your hen’s backs, consider a hen saddle.

Should You Keep a Rooster?

So, while there are some clear drawbacks to keeping a rooster in your flock, as you can see, some of these behaviors serve a purpose. And in some cases, it’s for the good of the flock. Like protection from predators, foraging skills, and of course reproduction. 

The truth is, most roosters, if they have what they need to be happy and healthy, aren’t all that bad. 

In fact, your years of rooster owning, you may only come across one or two bad eggs. 

And to be honest, the crowing may become an enjoyable part of my homestead. 

Rooster Relocation

All this to say, sometimes we can’t accommodate our rooster’s needs or they really are just a bad egg. 

If that’s the case, it may be time to either process your rooster or pass him on to a farm that is willing to take on his behavior. And who knows, a change of scenery might be all he needs to turn his life around.

Books of Interest

Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics: Lessons for Expanding Your Flock, Understanding Chicken Behavior, Keeping a Rooster, Adjusting for the Seasons, Staying Healthy, and More!

Pokey Jr: Even Roosters Get Second Chances

How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

A look inside the Henny+Roo May Box for Chicken Keepers

Subscribers, take a look inside your May box! Your April box is in transit, and while you await its arrival, we are putting the finishing touches on your May box. First, your chickens will come running for the @exoticnutrition Chicken Treat Variety Pack. And you’ll be able to welcome guests with our cute Henny+Roo exclusive farmhouse-style garden flag!

The April box sold out, and we fully expect the May box to sell out too. Because of the limited supply, the May box will not be available on our website as a non-subscription purchase. You have to be a current subscriber to get it, so it’s a great time to start or reactivate your subscription!

Check out our monthly terms at hennyandroo.com 🐓

Find Beautiful Plans for Your Next Chicken Coop

Is it time to take your chicken coop to the next level?

When it comes to creating the perfect home for your new flock, you may have something special in mind. 

But if you’re not familiar with planning a construction project, you might be looking for a little inspiration and guidance. 

So we’ve put together this list of ideas that will help get those wheels turning. 

Find Chicken Coop Plans on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most visual social platforms around. And if you follow some favorite chicken-loving accounts, you know there’s usually something beautiful to ogle over. 

Whether it’s pretty little eggs all in rainbow rows or a new chicken coop plan created al la Chip and Joanne from Fixer Upper, all you have to do is hit the right hashtags to get an eyeful of chicken fix-for-the-day.

Type in some of the following to bring up some fantastic chicken coop ideas to spark your imagination:

  • #chickencoop
  • #chickencoopplans
  • #coops
  • #chickencoopideas

And of course, don’t forget to follow us for your daily dose of poultry eye candy.

Find Chicken Coop Ideas on Pinterest

We’ll admit, one of our first places to dig up inspiration is usually Pinterest. And that’s because it’s one of the most visual search engines on the planet with millions of contributors, just like us.

In fact, we’ve got a board set up specifically for new chicken owners looking for coop-building inspiration. 

So go check it out, we’ll wait.

Oh and here’s a special tip: if you search for free chicken coop plans, a bunch of freebies will pop up for you to print out and work off of. 

Our advice? Find a predator-proof plan, use what you’ve got, and then snaz it up once it’s complete. 

Some of the most straightforward designs turn out to be the most beautiful. 

In fact, we’ve seen some pretty impressive coop designs out there (some are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, like this one).

Just remember, the most important thing is safety and functionality, beauty can come later!

Facebook Groups of Chicken Fanatics

Facebook can be like the wild wild west, at times. Everyone seems to have the all the answers. 

And, in truth, there’s plenty of good advice from experienced chicken owners on Facebook. 

But instead of falling down the rabbit hole, here’s what we suggest:

Join a handful of chicken groups and search for the term “chicken coop plans” or “chicken coop design” rather than asking questions or endlessly scrolling the feed.

Who’s got time for that? Not us! We’d rather be with our chickens.

By searching, you’ll avoid the know-it-alls and still get the inspiration you’re looking for when planning your first chicken coop design. 

And be sure to check out Henny+Roo on Facebook while you’re there!

Chicken Coop Planning Books

Lastly, you can always get find inspirational and coop-planning books that walk you through the exact process of building your first chicken coop. 

All you have to do is page through and find the design of your dreams…then head to the lumber yard!

These are some of our favorite chicken coop building books.

  1. DIY Chicken Coops: The Complete Guide To Building Your Own Chicken Coop

2. Building Chicken Coops For Dummies

3. 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide (Creative Homeowner) Fences, Chicken Coops, Sheds, Gardening, and More for Becoming Self-Sufficient

Coop-planning books are great for beginners who need a little extra advice when building their first coop. 

Usually, everything from the nesting box to the dust bath, and the roost is already planned out and included. 

Plus, you know that you’re following plans for a coop that’s been tested against the elements and predators. 

So go ahead, and take the experts’ advice. You can always add your personal touches after the coop is complete, like this coop sign now available in the Henny+Roo Shop:  

Amazon for Easy Peasy Chicken Coops

We know not everyone has the time, or ability, to design and construct their own chicken coop. But, if that’s you, it shouldn’t stop you from making your chicken dreams come true. 

You can find pre-made, semi-started, chicken coops on sites like Amazon. Here are a few that have received good reviews:

  1. SnapLock Formex Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen House 4-6 Large 6-12 Bantams
  2. GUTINNEEN Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop Large Hen House Poultry Cage, 69in, Waterproof UV Panel
  3. PawHut 114″ Wooden Customizable Backyard Chicken Coop with Nesting Box and Runs

Pre-made chicken coops come ready to snap together, and in most cases, all the designing and safety considerations are all done for you. 

With that being said, it’s still a good idea to review the materials the coop is made from. That way, you can ensure that it will hold up during bad weather and cold conditions (if that’s where you’re located). You may have to fortify premade coops by adding a 2×4 base frame, hardware cloth on any openings, a stronger door locking mechanism, and/or a protective wood finish to lengthen the life and protectiveness of the coop.

Also watch for treated wood and materials that might be toxic to chickens. 

An excellent way to ensure you’re purchasing a quality coop is to read through the reviews of what previous buyers have said about the chicken coop. 

We wish you the best in creating a safe and happy home for your flock!