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How to Keep Chickens and Outdoor Animals Cool In Summer Without Electricity [9 Ways!]

In summer, it gets really, really hot here. We can go inside the house or use air conditioning to cool down, but what about our animals? Chickens swelter in their coop, horses sweat in the paddock, and our dogs dig holes to try and find some relief.

How do we make it more comfortable for our homestead animals, without using electricity?

Whether you’re off 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 found some solutions that’ll keep our animals cool.

You can use these ideas to keep yourself cool too!

9 Ways to Keep Homestead Animals Cool in Summer Without Electricity!

Are your homestead animals feeling the heat?

Here are nine tips to help them cool off – in more detail!

three thirsty hens drinking fresh water from bowl
Your hard-working homestead animals feel the heat during the hot summer months. Big time! They need your help to stay comfortable. We find that water and shade are the best ways to help them cool down the most – even without electricity. But – we also have a few other tips that offer relief!

1. Make Sure Your Homestead Animals Have Plenty of Cool Water!

The most critical tip to keep homestead animals cool in summer without electricity is giving them plenty of water!

We always ensure that we have many water sources strewn 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.

We found one of the best dog water bowls on Amazon that keeps the water nice and cold.

We bet your dogs will love drinking from it – and they’ll thank you later!

(Especially during the hot summer sun!)

We also read that a 1,300-pound cow can drink 25 gallons of water per day if the weather is hot. 

So – make sure your water stations are ready! And – check them frequently to ensure they don’t empty.

thirsty dog drinking water from dog bowl
Nothing tastes better than chilled drinking water on a hot summer day. Your homestead animals feel the same way! Your dogs (and homestead animals) should have constant access to shelter and fresh drinking water. We check our water stations at least a few times daily – especially when the summer weather gets hot.

2. Use an Off-Grid Misting System

Below is a video of Marjory in Texas in the middle of July – 102F in the sun. It’s cooler in the shade, but still 94-98F. That’s hot!

She’s showing us a misting system she’s using for her rabbits. Marjory raises backyard rabbits for meat. She says they’re small, easy to look after, easy to process, and contain a good amount of protein and fat.

Rabbits usually can’t breed when it’s hot. To keep them productive, you need a solution like the misting system in the video. Marjory kept her rabbits all happy and healthy right through the middle of summer.

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. 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!

Check out Marjory’s off-grid cooling strategy! She uses an off-grid misting system to help keep her rabbits comfortable during the summer heat. Very neat!

3. Create Shade and Coolness With Plants

duck in shade
Your animals will love the plant-made shade! Look at this adorable ducky specimen lounging and relaxing. And – we wrote an epic guide for raising ducks. Ducks rule for farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders alike.

Plants are amazing insulators. They create their own microclimate when you grow them together. In the same way, you can use them to make your homestead animals more comfortable in summer!

Grow them around your rabbit hutches, chicken coops, and dog houses. Use vines to cover the walls and the roof. Make use of deciduous plants (which drop their leaves in winter) to create shade in summer and still let the sun through in winter.

Here’s another excellent tutorial from Marjory Wildcraft. She shows how to make shade naturally. And – it’s a shade that also produces edible fruit. Sounds good to us!

4. Give Your Animals Shelter

Hedges, trees, and trellises are excellent shade sources for your farm and homestead animals.

But – we recommend going a step further. We recommend giving your farm animals shelter!

Your dogs, cats, cattle – and other homestead animals need shelter to help them escape the unyielding summer sun.

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.

Farm Animal Shelter Guides:

We also wrote an epic guide to DIY chicken tractors. All of these can help keep homestead animals cool in summer without electricity.

two backyard puppies and doghouse
Shelter makes a massive difference in helping keep your homestead animals cool – and comfy! The farm shelter should offer your animals plenty of shade. And ideally – a draft. If the farm shelter doesn’t provide a comfortable breeze, we advise using solar-powered fans to help promote airflow.

5. Let Your Animals Swim

If your homestead has a well or a garden hose, you have something your farm animals love. Cool water!

Filling a backyard pool is an excellent way to let your dogs, ducks, or geese cool off.

Your farm dogs will also love playing around in the pool. They usually have a ton of fun!

(It’s also a good laugh to watch your ducks or dogs splash in the backyard!)

pug dog swimming in backyard pool
Ducks and dogs love swimming pools – even if the pool is tiny! Pools are also a great way to help your homestead animals cool off. But – please don’t let your dogs swim unattended – especially if you have a deep water pool. Keep your dogs and animals safe!

6. Use Solar Power

Want to keep homestead 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. 

A few solar-powered window fans or interior fans can help keep your animals comfy. Without breaking the bank. Or the electric bill!

We found a few solar-powered fans on Amazon with excellent reviews. Here’s a 10-watt solar fan. Here’s another 15-watt solar fan kit.

(We analyzed a handful of these solar-panel chicken coop fans. The two above seem to have some of the best reviews.)

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.

homestead chickens foraging on farm
We love this epic chicken coop palace! We think having an animal shelter is the best way to keep homestead animals cool in summer without electricity. But – it can get hot inside! We think maybe a few solar-powered fans might help.

7. Let Your Animals Rest

If you want to keep homestead animals cool in summer 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 poultry.

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 temperature inside of a car parked in direct sunlight can reach an internal temperature of up to 170 degrees 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!

big dog napping on chair
Your farm animals work hard. If the weather gets too hot? Give them plenty of water and let them relax! Offer them plenty of shade, shelter, and water. And – leave them alone so they can catnap! (Or dognap!)

8. Use Trellises

Do you have some cattle fence panels that aren’t used? Some wire or wood you can use to build a trellis or arbor? These are perfect for creating a cool place for your homestead animals.

9. Don’t Forget Plenty of Water

chihuahua drinking water from big bowl
Shade and water are the top two things your farm animals need. Add lots of drinking water. And backyard pools help too!

Don’t forget the first rule of how to keep homestead animals cool in summer without electricity.

It’s water.

Tons of water!

(And don’t forget shade!)

Water cools down the area around it. The more water you have around, the more coolness you create. 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. Place 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 ones. Trust me on this one! Hard, un-puncturable materials only.

(A rowdy pup will destroy your inflatable pools. Some faster than others!)

Top Pick
Toozey Portable PVC Pool for Kids and Dogs

Foldable, slip-resistant, portable PVC swimming pool. Suitable for kids and small to large dogs.

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03/29/2023 01:33 pm GMT


Homesteading isn’t easy!

And – it’s tricky to keep homestead animals 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!


  • Elle

    Jack of all trades, master of some. Wild garden grower. Loves creating stuff. From food forests and survival gardens to soap and yoghurt. A girl on a farm with two kids and one husband (yep, just one - although another one would be handy). Weirdly enjoys fixing fences and digging holes. Qualified permaculture teacher and garden go-to.

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