5 Off-Grid Ways to Keep Your Chickens Warm This Winter

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Keep your chickens warm and safe this winter with these simple and sustainable off-grid tips.

If you’re new to raising chickens, you may be worried that they will be harmed by cold weather – especially if you live in a Northern climate. First of all, it may help to remember that chickens come fully equipped with a soft, fluffy, down feather coat!

However, if you live in an area where you get extreme cold in the winter, you may need to take a few additional steps to keep your chickens warm and healthy throughout the worst of the winter months.

Some suggest using electric heaters or light bulbs to heat the coop, but this can be dangerous and occasionally cause devastating coop fires. Even if you’re willing to risk it, for many homesteaders, providing electricity to your chicken coop is difficult if not impossible.

But never fear – there are plenty of simple, natural and more sustainable options for keeping your chickens warm, as described by these off-grid homesteaders raising chickens in Idaho:

Woodstove Magic: Using Rocks

We have wood heat. The wood stove for us during the winter is going 24/7. This works out great for the chickens because we keep rocks on the wood stove. The rocks heat up, retain heat (thermal mass) and are used in a couple different applications.

First, we put the rocks in the water dish. This prevents the chicken’s water from freezing…

We also will take our heated flatter rocks and place them on the floor of the coop during the night. Throughout the night it radiates and gives them  just a little extra warmth

I will also  use the flatter heated rock during the morning when I feed the flock. I will actually put the warm oatmeal or potatoes I cook them and scoop it onto the rock. This way the food wont freeze which happens when you dump it on the frozen ground.

The Beauty of Straw

Straw is a great insulator. When the temps drop we do a couple things. We stack straw bales up against the bottom of the coop. The chickens then have a insulated spot away from the wind and cold.

We also will use straw in their coop. I layer it on the floor and build up their empty egg-laying boxes with it. The thick floor layer really does help with warming up their coop…

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Insulate Your Coop

Yes, it pays to add insulation to your coop… Purchase faced insulation, as you do not want to expose your chickens to the fiberglass…

Also, make sure there is still some ventilation in the coop. A sealed coop is a no-no…We also use old rugs — I have many old rugs which, during the cold snap, I nailed up on the sides of the coop. Every little bit helps, so don’t throw those old ratty rugs away…

Close the Door

Something so simple as keeping the coop door shut during the night will help immensely when temperatures dip at night…

Warm Food

…Warm treats during the winter go a long way. I will make warm oatmeal, rice, potatoes, and even add some coconut oil to the mix. Why? When its cold, animals burn more calories…

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