Don’t let your fowl friends down in foul weather! The harsh temperatures can be tough on all of us, and chickens are no exception. Caring for chickens in winter takes some extra consideration. Your flock relies on you to keep them warm, healthy, and entertained—no matter what the thermometer says on the outside of your coop. Check out our tips and top product picks to help your chickens beat the winter blues.
Warm and Toasty
Preparing a chicken coop for winter takes just a few steps. To keep your chickens healthy and safe in frigid temperatures, it is generally suggested that you do not heat or heavily insulate your coop. This may be difficult to fathom, but oftentimes heating your coop does more harm than good for the health of your chickens.
It may be tempting to seal your chickens up tightly in the coop, but ventilation is essential. In order to keep your feathered friends healthy, moisture and ammonia gases must be vented from your flock’s environment. Moisture can collect on the combs of the birds and cause frostbite if their coops aren’t properly vented.
Straw chicken bedding provides insulation for your flock while keeping them dry. An ample amount of bedding is imperative to ensure that the coop stays at a healthy temperature without high levels of moisture. Some chicken keepers clean their coops routinely through the winter, while others utilize the deep litter method.
Taking care of chickens in the winter means paying attention to their mental health, too. Even for those who have runs available, many chickens would prefer to spend chilly days in their coop. If your chickens are going stir-crazy in this weather, let’s give them something to do! For food-motivated chickens, the treat blocks encourage natural pecking and foraging instincts, while also supplementing their diet with whole grains, oyster shells, and grit. The extra fat will also help them to generate more body heat to keep warm. It’s a well-rounded additive to their diet that also provides some excitement during the doldrums of winter.
Just like any animal, access to clean, fresh water is essential to chickens. This can be a bit of a challenge in the winter months, so many chicken keepers opt for heated poultry fountains in subzero temperatures. Try adding in a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, which not only encourages increased water consumption but also has been claimed to have additional health benefits for your flock.
We all know how much fun it can be raising chickens. Thoughtfully caring for chickens in winter can ensure that they stay healthy and warm throughout the long months. Cozy chickens are happy chickens!