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How to Keep Chickens and Outdoor Animals Cool In Summer Without Electricity [10 Ways!]

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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

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

thirsty outdoor dog keeping cool with water from dog bowl
Nothing tastes better than chilled drinking water on a hot summer day. Your outdoor animals feel the same way! If you want to help keep your dogs cool in the summer, give them 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.

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

goats keeping cool in water trough on summer day
The water trough is a safe haven for outdoor animals like goats on the hottest summer days. If you keep the water cool, they might even hop in for a dip. Can you blame them? Your hard-working homestead animals feel the heat during the hot summer months. Big time! They need your help to stay comfortable.

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

rabbit keeping cool in hutch
Rabbits need the shade of a hutch to stay cool in the summer, but a misting system can keep them cool enough to continue breeding during the hottest months. In addition, other animals, including horses, goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, and pigs all love the relief of a cool mister.

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.

From 102 Misery to Enjoyable 85: Off Grid AC and Survival Cooling
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!

4. Create Shade and Coolness With Plants

duck keeping cool in the 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. 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.

Hot Summers and Cool Shade with Marjory Wildcraft
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!

5. Give Your Animals Shelter

two outdoor puppies and doghouse keeping cool
Shelter makes a massive difference in helping keep your outdoor 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.

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:

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

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!

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!

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7. Use Solar Power

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.

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!

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. These two 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.

8. Let Your Animals Rest

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!)

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

comfy chicken resting in the chicken coop ready for a nap
Bedding can provide a lot of warmth, which is great news during the winter. But in summer, it’s not so great. Keep your bedding layers very thin and pick out the bedding more frequently to keep it from getting too warm.

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

frozen chicken treat by murano chicken farm
These frozen berry chicken treats from Murano Farms are a big hit! They are hydrating, cooling, and perfectly safe for chickens to eat.

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

chicken panting from summer heat stress
Much like dogs, chickens pant when they are too hot. They don’t sweat, either, so they may need some extra help staying cool in the summer.

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.

Conclusion

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:

How to Keep Chickens & Outdoor Animals Cool In Summer Keep Your Animals Cool Without Electricity!

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