In summer, it gets hot here. Of course, we can go inside the house or use air conditioning to cool down, but what about our outdoor animals? Chickens swelter in their coop, rabbits hide away, goats sweat in the paddock, and our dogs dig holes to try and find some way to stay cool in the summer heat.
How do we keep our chickens and other outdoor animals cool in summer without electricity?
Whether you’re off the grid or not, saving electricity is always a good thing. And it’s a pain to run power wires to a paddock or the chicken coop! In summer, we see months of hot weather, so I’ve needed to find some solutions to keep our outdoor animals cool.
You can use these ideas to keep yourself cool too!
- 10 Ways to Keep Outdoor Animals Cool in Summer Without Electricity
- 1. Make Sure Your Homestead Animals Have Plenty of Cold Water
- 2. Add Ice Blocks or Jugs to Waterers
- 3. Use an Off-Grid Misting System
- 4. Create Shade and Coolness With Plants
- 5. Give Your Animals Shelter
- 6. Let Your Chickens and Other Animals Swim
- 7. Use Solar Power
- 8. Let Your Animals Rest
- 9. Keep Chicken Coops and Shelter Bedding Clean and Light
- 10. Offer Your Outdoor Animals Frozen or Cold Feed
- Bonus Tips For Keeping Outdoor Animals Cool
10 Ways to Keep Outdoor Animals Cool in Summer Without Electricity
Are your outdoor animals feeling the heat? Keeping your animals cool in the summer without electricity may seem tricky, but ultimately, it’s pretty easy. You need to know what works and what doesn’t – which is why we’re here to help!
Let’s look over all the best ways to keep your outdoor animals, from dogs to goats to rabbits to horses and chickens, cool in the summer heat.
1. Make Sure Your Homestead Animals Have Plenty of Cold Water
The most critical tip to keep homestead animals cool in summer without electricity and prevent heat stress is giving them adequate water!
We always ensure that we have many clean water sources throughout our yard.
Your dogs, cattle, and poultry need water at all times. Even at night! That way – our farm animals can quench their thirst whenever they feel thirsty.
If you really want to keep your animals’ water cold, we found one of the best dog water bowls on Amazon. It’s completely insulated and built to last a lifetime, so you can keep your dog’s (or other farm animals) water perfectly chilly for hours.
We bet your dogs will love drinking from it – and they’ll thank you later!
We also read that a 1,300-pound cow can drink 25 gallons of water per day if the weather is hot. So ensure your water stations are ready and check them frequently to ensure they don’t empty.
2. Add Ice Blocks or Jugs to Waterers
While keeping your outdoor animals cool in summer starts with providing them with lots of fresh water, keeping that water nice and cool can be a challenge.
Offering your outdoor animals ice water is a great way to give them some relief from the heat. For smaller animals like chickens and rabbits, you can pour some ice cubes into waterers to keep the water nice and cold.
However, for large outdoor animals like goats, horses, and cattle, you need to add a lot of ice to keep the water cool on a hot summer day!
The best way to cool large troughs of water is to fill some gallon (or multi-gallon) jugs or bottles with water and freeze them. Then, just toss the frozen bottle into your water trough. However, you can also use blocks of ice if you have access to them.
3. Use an Off-Grid Misting System
Below is a video of Marjory in Texas in the middle of July, where it’s 102° F in the sun. It’s cooler in the shade, but still 94-98° F. That’s hot!
She’s showing us a misting system she uses to keep her rabbits cool in the summer. Marjory raises backyard rabbits for meat, but rabbits usually can’t breed when it’s hot.
To keep rabbits productive during the summer, you need to keep them cool – which means you might need to think of a solution like the misting system in the video.
This off-grid misting system uses the same concept as a flushing toilet. Marjory is experimenting with the pressure. The easiest way, for now, has been to get the water up high. With a small tower or a rooftop tank, you create enough pressure to run some misters.
Now, if you’re hot – why not use an off-grid shower to cool down?
Marjory is also experimenting with bicycle pumps, hand pumps, and solar panels to get the pressure up a bit to keep her rabbits cool in the summer. More pressure – more misters.
With enough pressure, you can set this up on a larger scale for yourself, too. A nice backup for power cuts or hot off-grid summers!
Also, if you aren’t really in the mood to set up an automatic misting system, you can still use a hand mister to spray off your outdoor animals and keep them cool in the summer.
4. Create Shade and Coolness With Plants
Plants are amazing insulators. They create their own microclimate when you grow them together. So, you can use them to keep your outdoor animals – from chickens to ducks to cattle and goats – cool in summer!
Grow them around your rabbit hutches, chicken coops, and dog houses. Use vines to cover the walls and the roof.
You can also make use of deciduous plants (which drop their leaves in winter) to create shade in summer and still let the sun through in winter.
Also, do you have some cattle fence panels lying around? Some wire or wood you can use to build a trellis or arbor? Trellises and arbors are perfect for creating a cool place for your outdoor animals, and they’re gorgeous!
A trellis is usually a great option if you need to create a shady spot over your animals’ water troughs. Just custom-tailor them to fit and grow some safe plants like grape vines over the area.
5. Give Your Animals Shelter
Hedges, trees, and trellises can create shady spots to keep your outdoor animals cool in the summer heat. However, we recommend going a step further.
Your dogs, cats, rabbits, goats, cattle, and other homestead animals need a reliable source of shade to help them stay cool and escape the unyielding summer sun. Plus, shelters can keep your chickens and other homestead animals warmer in the cold winter months so they never become obsolete.
One critical factor when considering shelter, though, is airflow. Without it, your animals’ excess body heat will radiate and stay within the shelter, practically heating it. So, think of adding windows, opening doors, or incorporating fans into your outdoor animals’ shelter to help them stay cool.
Not sure which shelter works best? Or maybe you’re not sure how to start?
No worries! We wrote a handful of guides that can help.
Outdoor Animal Shelter Guides to Keep them Cool in Summer and Warm in Winter:
- 23 Wooden Pallet Chicken Coop Plans
- 44+ Free Chicken Coop Plans
- DIY Pig Hut Shelter
- Portable Goat Shelter Ideas
- Build a DIY Chicken and Goat Palace!
We also wrote an epic guide to DIY chicken tractors. All of these can help keep chickens, rabbits, goats, dogs, and other homestead animals cool in summer without electricity.
6. Let Your Chickens and Other Animals Swim
Don’t forget the first rule of how to keep homestead animals cool in summer and prevent heat stress without electricity.
It’s water. Tons of water!
Water cools down the area around it. The more water you have around, the more coolness you create. So, go ahead and place a few kiddie pools around the yard for the dogs to play in. My dogs just stand in it – dogs cool themselves from their feet and their tongue.
My chickens love a kiddie pool, too. They sit on the edge and have a drink.
You might also consider placing a bathtub full of water in greenhouses to keep the temperature steady. Add some goldfish for bug control and free fish-water-fertilizer!
Also – we have one more tip. Don’t go for the inflatable pools. Trust me on this one! Hard, un-puncturable materials only. A rowdy pup will destroy your inflatable pools – some faster than others!
It’s also a good laugh to watch your ducks or dogs splash in the backyard!
7. Use Solar Power
Want to keep outdoor animals cool in summer without electricity? Don’t forget the ultimate off-grid power source. We’re talking about solar power!
The inside of your barn, coop, or doghouse gets tremendously hot with the summer heat pounding down. In addition, all the excess body heat from your toasty animals can add up in their shelter, resulting in a hot house.
A few solar-powered window fans or interior fans can help keep your animals comfy. All without breaking the bank. Or the electric bill!
While these solar fans aren’t absolute game-changers for helping keep homestead animals cool in summer without electricity, we think they can at least help them feel comfortable.
8. Let Your Animals Rest
If you want to keep homestead animals cool in the hot summer weather without electricity – we advise letting them rest!
Don’t burden them during hot summer days. Don’t make your dog play fetch, and don’t overwork your cattle or chickens.
We also forgot. One last tip! Don’t bring your animals for rides on hot days unless you must. Instead of bringing your farm dog along with you for your chores when you ride into town, consider letting them stay behind and relax.
Whatever you do – don’t leave your homestead animals locked in your car if you take them for a drive.
We read that the inside of a car parked in direct sunlight can reach an internal temperature of up to 170 Fahrenheit if the weather outside reaches 100 degrees.
Your dog’s better off relaxing at home! So do them a favor and give them the day off.
We find most dogs and cats enjoy lounging around in the shade during the hot weather and catching a nap anyway. We can’t blame them!
9. Keep Chicken Coops and Shelter Bedding Clean and Light
If you read our guide on how to keep chickens warm in winter without electricity, you may know a little bit about the deep litter method. With this method, you add layer upon layer to the bedding in your chicken coop to generate heat from composting.
However, in summer, the heat from your outdoor animals’ litter is not a good thing.
So, to keep your chickens, rabbits, and other outdoor animals cool in the summer, be sure to keep their bedding no more than a couple of inches deep and clean it often. Placing a very thin layer of bedding at the bottom of your animals’ shelter will prevent it from blocking in heat.
When you pick out the litter, it’s also a great idea to turn over anything you leave behind. That way, you can get some ventilation deep into the bedding and eliminate residual heat.
10. Offer Your Outdoor Animals Frozen or Cold Feed
Freezing your outdoor animals’ feed and treats is a great way to help them cool off. For example, a couple of the best hydrating treats for chickens to keep them cool are frozen watermelon and frozen grapes.
We also recommend refrigerating parts or all of your animals’ feed if possible. Keeping things nice and chilly can do wonders for helping your outdoor animals stay cool in the summer.
You can also offer your chickens and other animals frozen veggies, like frozen peas floating in water. Watching your animals ‘bob for peas’ offers endless amusement, but it also keeps them nice and cool.
Bonus Tips For Keeping Outdoor Animals Cool
The tips above are a great start to keeping all of your outdoor animals cool in the summer without electricity. However, we have some extra tips for specific types of homestead animals.
How To Keep Chickens Cool in Summer Without Electricity
Chickens are generally pretty quick to exhibit signs of heat stress in the extreme heat of summer. When they are far too hot, chickens generally pant and fold out their wings to increase ventilation around their bodies. However, if there’s no breeze or shade, they may not be able to cool off.
For that reason, it’s important to notice when the temperature is hot, sunny, and not windy. It’s on these days that your chickens are most at risk for heat stress.
Keeping your chickens’ coop well-ventilated, providing them with plenty of cool to ice-cold water, and offering them some shade can keep your flock healthy in summer. If your chickens exhibit signs of heat stress, consider dunking their bodies in cool water to help them regulate their temperature.
How Do You Keep Goats Cool in the Summer Without Electricity?
To keep goats cool in the summer, offer them both salt and water, shear long-haired goats in spring, and optimize their shelter for hot weather. Some goat breeds are more sensitive to heat than others, so it’s important to understand the average heat tolerance of your goat’s breed if you want to keep them cool.
A goat suffering from heat stress will pant, sweat a lot, and spend less time lying down. So, be sure to look for these signs.
If it is a very hot summer day, you might want to consider rinsing your goats off with some fresh, clean water to keep them cool. Don’t rinse too heavily – you don’t want to wash off their sweat. Just give them a decent spray with your hose or a mister.
How To Keep Dogs Cool in Summer Without Electricity
To keep dogs cool in the summer without electricity, give them access to plenty of water and shade. If possible, let your dogs go inside during the hottest times of the day. You can also offer them cold treats or freeze their food to help them stay nice and cool.
While cold water is a necessity for your hot dogs, shade is also critical for them. Since dogs don’t sweat, they need a nice, cool spot to get out of the extreme heat.
Most dogs also love to swim, so really consider setting up a swimming hole for your dogs to keep them cool this summer.
Homesteading isn’t easy, and it’s tricky to keep outdoor animals like chickens, rabbits, goats, and dogs cool in summer without electricity.
We hope our latest homesteading guide makes the process easier.
Also – what about you? What methods do you use to keep your cattle, dogs, cats, and pets comfortable during summer? Air conditioners work best. But – what about our off-grid farming friends?
We love to hear your homestead animal stories, tips, and insights.
Thanks again for reading.
Have a great day!
More On Raising Animals and Homesteading: