Protecting your chickens from heat stress: How to make your own homemade electrolytes for poultry

Much like humans, animals and pets experience stress from heat and dehydration, which leads to sickness and even death if not given immediate attention. If you own backyard chickens or ducks, electrolytes are one of the things you must have at the ready in case your flock is under stress from these conditions. Read on to find out how to make your own electrolytes for poultry.

There is no better way to ensure the health of your poultry than knowing what exactly you’re giving them. Jessica Lane of shares a recipe that is easy to make, is good for your chicks, and is made from all natural ingredients. You would need:

  • Two cups of warm water
  • Two tablespoons of either brown sugar, honey, or molasses
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Half a teaspoon of baking soda

Mix your ingredients together until they are completely dissolved into a smooth mixture. This solution can also be mixed with a multivitamin supplement (preferably one that contains vitamins A, B, and D). Just add three to four drops to the mixture.

This solution can be used diluted or as a full concentrate. Lane advises to keep your solution refrigerated.

For a simpler electrolyte solution, Lane recommends the following recipe:

  • One cup of warm water
  • Two teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda

Swirl these ingredients together to form a smooth mixture. Lane recommends adding one cup of electrolyte solution for every one gallon of water.

It is good advice to keep a bag of pre-measured ingredients on hand so you always have a supply when the need arises. (Related: Amazing homesteading ideas to help you become more self-sufficient.)

Combat heat stress in poultry

If you notice your chickens or ducks are panting or having labored breathing, have pale combs or wattles, are lethargic or lifting their wings away from their bodies, it may mean that the heat is getting uncomfortable for them. In worst cases, your poultry will even have diarrhea and seizures or convulsions if their heat stress is left unnoticed and not remedied.

There are several ways to prevent your flock from suffering heat stress, especially in the hot summer months. lists six ways to keep your flock cool:

  1. It is crucial for your flock to have easy access to clean, cool water at all times.
  2. Supplement lost electrolytes. As previously advised, always keep a bag on hand in case your flock needs extra hydration.
  3. Give your flock some shade and even wading pools to escape the burning heat.
  4. Provide adequate space for your flock. Don’t let your flock crowd together as their body heat will only aggravate the situation.
  5. Feed your flock when the temperature is cooler. Digestion generates heat, so your flock will most likely not eat during the hottest times of the day.
  6. Heat can stress your flock as much as yourself, so keep them relaxed by keeping larger animals or children at a reasonable distance.

Read more about proper pet maintenance at

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