Even though spring has officially arrived, some cold spells around parts of the United States may have some homesteaders worried about keeping their chickens warm. Making sure that your chickens are well cared for during all weather is important for your chickens’ overall health and wellness, egg-laying quality and frequency, and general morale.
The good news about chickens, however, is that they adjust remarkably well to changes in temperature, whether hot or cold. If you’re concerned about taking care of your chickens in the cold weather, however, follow these tips:
1. Don’t warm up your chickens
Although you might be tempted to warm your chicken house, doing this will actually harm your chickens. Chickens’ metabolic rates adjust to changes in weather, so if you heat your coop, you’ll prevent your chickens from adapting to outside temperatures. Heating your coop will consequentially cause your chickens to adapt to your personal heating practices, and should you not be able to hear their coop on a cold night, you’ll risk losing your hens.
If you live in a particularly cold area, you can insulate your coop’s walls and roof with foam or even cardboard. Spreading a thick layer of hay or woodchips on the floor of the coop will also help to keep the ground warm.
2. Provide plenty of water and food
Keeping your chickens well fed and hydrated in the cold weather will keep them happy and healthy. In the winter or when temperatures dip below freezing, make sure that your chickens’ water supply does not freeze, as chickens cannot live long without fresh water. You can prevent your chickens’ water from freezing by using a water heater in the coop, if you have electricity. Otherwise, use a galvanized steel or rubber watering container to provide your chickens with fresh water daily. Don’t use plastic watering containers because they crack when the water freezes. Remove the water at night if it is subject to freezing.
Feeding your chickens regularly and plentifully will also help keep them warm. Spreading a bit of scratch grain on the ground will also keep them pecking and moving around to stay warm.
Your chicken coop should always be well ventilated, even in cold weather. Chickens produce a lot of body moisture that needs to evaporate. If you don’t provide your coop with some kind of ventilation, the body moisture your chickens produce can end up causing them frostbite.
Always keep air flowing through your chicken coop by leaving windows at least partially open.
If temperatures are below freezing in your area, you may notice your chickens’ egg production decline. To offset this, provide some extra light for your chickens in the early morning and evening.
Don’t let your chickens’ combs and wattles freeze! Rub a little bit of Vaseline or petroleum jelly on these areas to keep them from developing frostbite.
Did you find this post useful? Click the “Like” button above and leave your comment, too!
There are many tips and tricks to raising happy chickens, but nothing makes sense unless you have a properly built chicken coop. Get a safe, comfortable coop for your birds and you'll have yummy fresh eggs every morning. Make a critical mistake or two and your whole chicken operation will turn into a disaster. Learn what these critical coop mistakes are and how to avoid them. Download my FREE report right now - Go here: http://www.mysnazzychickencoop.com/free-report/