Keeping Livestock Cool During Hot Weather
Feathered and furred creatures can struggle to keep cool during summer heat waves since they are not able to remove their “jackets.” Chickens keep their body temperature from ramping up by breathing though their mouth (beak open) like a dog. If you notice chickens fluffing their feathers a lot and acting lethargic, then they are too hot and they may need some assistance.
The most important support you can provide during hot weather to your animals is to have ample fresh water available. It is best to check on their water and replenish it every other day at minimum. It may also be helpful to cover their outdoor enclosure with a blanket and to wet this once or twice a day. The blanket should be wet enough so that it drips like a light rain.
Chickens love dust baths and when it’s hot, they may appreciate the addition of water to their favorite corner. Now they will be able to play in the mud and keep cool at the same time!
You can also lightly spray the chickens (move quickly since they will run away) for an instant cool down. It may also help to put a fan on one end of the coop before they bed down for the night. Be sure to lock up the coop when it gets dark to keep the birds safe from predators.
Ducks can also overheat though since they likely already have a pond of their own, they have a place to plunge if their feathers get fired up. It is important to clean out the pond regularly since bacteria will multiply in the warmer weather.
And goats will want to dip their beards frequently in fresh water on sunny days. A shady area can be appreciated in their pen; create one with a blanket (see chicken advice above). Goats are easier to give a spray down since they will love it. Watch darker-colored, elderly or heavy Goats since they are more likely to succumb to the heat.
If your animal enclosures are in the full sun you may want to consider moving their home base to a part sun location.
Basically, if you provide shade and regular drinking water (or a shower or two) then your urban creatures will make it through summers higher temperatures.