Skip to Content

Do Chickens Like Sunbathing?

As animals who’re kept outdoors in the day time, dealing with various weather conditions is one of the main issues that chickens are faced with.

Depending on where in the world you’re located winters can be long, summers short and vice versa.

It’s normal for chicken owners to worry about their wellbeing, but these tough birds are actually more adaptable to both hot and cold conditions than you might think.

Chickens do like sunbathing and they will find a sunny spot to bathe in throughout the year, especially in the warmer months. Once they find a sunny spot chickens will spread out their wings and preen as a social group.

It’s also common for them to dust bathe at the same time to take advantage of dry soil and earth as the sun shines.

Read on to find out more about how chickens sunbathe and some of the behaviour you can expect while they lap up the rays. Also, find out more about how they cope in very hot weather and things you can do in extreme weather conditions.

Just to let you know before we start, we sometimes recommend products which we feel might be helpful for a particular topic. Chicken Pals may receive a small commission for the recommendation however we only link to quality products and where possible those we have tried – for more information please see our privacy policy.

Do Chickens Lie Down in the Sun?

The first time I saw my new hens sunbathing I was actually a bit shocked about the state they were in, all spread out and fluffed up, they looked completely different from how they would normally.

Chickens do lie in the sun and they enjoy doing it too, they do this because the ground is warm and they can spread out their body and wings to soak in as much warmth as possible.

They will also spread out their wings to cool down on a very hot day because it helps to get air to their bodies and to regulate their body temperatures.

The image below shows a few of my hens who found the warmest and most sheltered spot in a south-facing position next to the wall. This was a spring day following weather and bad and cold nights, so it was real luxury warmth compared to what they’d been used to.

Chickens Behaviour When They Sunbathe

Depending on where you live and how extreme your seasons are, sunbathing might be few and far between or an everyday occurrence. However often it happens, chances are your chickens will enjoy a good sunbathe and you’ll notice a change in their behaviour on a sunny day.

When chickens sunbathe they often appear very relaxed and as well as basking in the sun, chickens will also use this time to preen as a flock or small group. If the ground is dry it’s also normal for them to dustbathe to remove any debris or parasites.

Here are some more behaviour’s you can expect to see when your chickens sunbathe:

  • Social preening – most chickens are social creatures so they often enjoy sunbathing together, its also common to see them gently preen each other as they spread out and relax.
  • Content and relaxed – Chickens don’t particularly like the cold nor do they like to get wet, so they will appear much happier and content on a warm day.
  • Vocalizing – Chickens are vocal creatures and when they sunbathe you’ll probably hear them making contented noises as they communicate with each other.
  • Feather fluffing – it’s normal for chickens to fluff up their feathers when their sunbathing.
  • Eye closing – chickens will often close their eyes when they sunbathe to have a short nap while they’re in a relaxed state.

Do Roosters Sunbathe?

Roosters, like hens, engage in sunbathing. This behavior involves spreading their wings and exposing their bodies to the sun, which helps in vitamin D synthesis, feather care, and parasite control. Sunbathing is a natural and beneficial activity that supports their overall well-being.

This really depends on the temperament of the rooster and how highly strung they are, some are more laid back than others.

Roosters also enjoy dustbathing to remove any dirt or parasites from their feathers and the skin beneath. Like hens, they will fluff up their feathers and spread their wings as they sunbathe and may also lie down.

Can Chickens Get Too Hot in the Sun?

Although chickens have a thick layer of fluffy feathers, they’re actually pretty good at regulating their body temperatures in either hot or cold temperatures, to an extent.

Despite being able to regulate their own temperatures, it is possible for a chicken to get too hot if they’re kept in direct sunshine and they don’t have the option of shade.

Chickens who are free range will look for shade during the hottest part of the day and they happily sit under trees and bushes to escape from the sun.

If you keep your chickens in a run it’s important to make sure they have shade to escape to if they get too hot.

Our recommended coop

Chicken coop for different flock sizes and different weather.

Click here to find out more about our recommended coop.

Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on February 24, 2021.

You Might Also Like

I hope this post has helped you to find out more about sunbathing chickens, you might also like the following articles too:

Why do chickens wipe their beaks?

Chickens not roosting in the coop – why & how to stop it

What Time do Roosters Crow?

Can Roosters Hurt Humans?

This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on February 24, 2021.

Do Roosters Have a Favourite Hen?