Summer has arrived. Much like people, chickens and other animals, geese and ducks can become too hot during the long, sunny days. Fortunately, you can take a few simple steps to ensure that your waterfowl remain comfortable, even on the hottest days.
Here’s what you can do to keep your geese and ducks cool during summer.
Provide Plenty of Fresh Water
During the height of summer your ducks and geese need more access to clean water than at other times of the year. They drink a lot to stay cool and combat dehydration, and they relish any opportunity for a swim.
This means that, just like in winter, one of the most time-consuming but important parts of keeping geese and ducks is changing out water and making sure their water access is clean. You’ll often need to switch water buckets two to three times a day. Regular refills keeps the water clean and fresh. It also keeps the water nice and cool for your birds. For swimming, you can provide a simple kiddie pool or a livestock trough with a ramp. Geese and ducks use these not only for bathing but also for standing—which lets them soak up some coolness through their feet.
If you have a pond for your water birds, you should still provide some additional water. It’s nice to have a trough of specific drinking water that you can keep clean. Pond or no pond, it’s a good idea to have some of these drinking troughs in different areas of your run or property. This way, your birds needn’t travel far to get a drink.
Give Them Watery Snacks
In addition to plenty of drinking water, watery snacks give your birds a boost and also provide some tasty nutrition. The best summer snack for waterfowl is watermelon, which ducks and geese eagerly devour. Your birds will also appreciate lettuce, other kinds of melons, cucumbers, strawberries and peas.
You can feed your birds snacks by simply throwing them out in the run, or you can make things extra watery and fun by giving them treats in their swimming pool. This lets them play and cool off while enjoying a tasty snack.
Maintain Shady Hangout Spots
Shade can make a huge difference in your birds’ comfort on a hot summer day. If you have bushes or trees under which your birds can hang out, you’ll find them there most of the day when the temperatures soar. If you don’t have such landscaping, provide shade by hanging an umbrella for your birds, or use a tarp to cover part of their run.
Give Them a Cool, Safe Coop
When the day is done, you should always lock your birds up in a safe, closed coop. You can ensure this space is cool and comfortable for your birds by making sure it is well ventilated and the bedding is fresh and dry. Your coop should always be large enough to accommodate the number of birds you have, so they aren’t forced to crowd and share body heat. Giving your birds a safe, comfortable place to cool off at the end of the day lets them relax and reset. This way they’ll be ready to deal with the heat the next morning.
With these few simple steps you can ensure your waterfowl flock thrives all summer. Your ducks and geese will appreciate any efforts towards providing water and offering snacks, and we hope you and your birds have plenty of summer fun.