These 5 easy and inexpensive tips will help keep your chickens warm and healthy all winter long!
If you live in a cold climate, you may worry that your chickens will freeze in the winter. To put your mind at ease, you should know that this is rather unlikely except in the most extreme conditions and without proper care. After all, chickens come with a thick, fluffy coat of feathers to keep them comfortable even in very cold temperatures.
Resist the urge to heat your coop (which actually keeps your chickens from properly acclimating to the cold – and could even start a coop fire with tragic consequences), and instead, try these simple and inexpensive tips from Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily to keep your chickens warm this winter:
Use Lots of Straw
Straw is a wonderful coop bedding choice, especially in the winter. The hollow shafts in the straw trap and hold warm air, effectively insulating your coop floor. A layer of straw up to a foot deep will help keep your chickens warm at night… In the spring, you can use the straw in your garden as mulch…
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Many chicken keepers have the natural tendency to want to close up all the windows and vents in their coop when the winter winds start to blow. But that is counterproductive. Ammonia fumes created by chicken manure will build up in the coop and can cause respiratory and eye issues if they can’t escape. Also, frostbite (which targets chickens’ combs, wattles and feet) is caused more by moisture in the air than by the cold itself, so it’s very important to have good airflow in your coop year round…
Protect Exposed Combs
Taking some preventive measures to protect the combs and wattles of your chickens with larger appendages can help prevent frostbite as well. Gently smearing some coconut oil on them helps to protect them on extremely cold nights…
Create A Wind Block
Creating a wind block in a sunny corner of your run will also encourage your chickens to spend more time outdoors. Fresh air and sun are good for them, so anything you can do to make an area where they can get out of the wind and stay a bit warmer is a good idea. Wrap a corner of your run with a tarp or piece of heavy plastic, or use sheets of plywood to create an area protected from the worst of the wind…
Provide High Fat/High Energy Treats
In the winter, offering your flock treats packed with good fats help them stay warm. Just before dusk, toss out some scratch grains, cracked corn, peanuts or other unsalted nuts for your chickens. Their bodies will generate heat throughout the night as they digest the high energy treats…