With each passing week as we shift from the fall into the dreaded winter, those new to keeping birds out back can be a little frantic as to how they can keep them safe through the dropping temperatures. Urban and suburban farming has become incredibly popular, especially keeping chickens for the most organic and “free range” eggs you can get. Here are a few key ways to care for your chickens in winter from now until the warmer months.
The primary thing that any serious chicken “wrangler” is going to need is to have a safe place to keep your chickens. Moderately priced chicken coops are available for flocks of almost every size. Many of these have deluxe inside spaces that give them a gracious amount of room. The best combination you can have is to have a chicken coop that will have:
1. a sufficient open fenced space for when the weather permits more outside activity.
2. a substantial indoor option that they can bunker into at night.
Adding a proper chicken coop that will accommodate to all of the seasons will make raising your chickens in winter a lot easier. Not to mention our chicken coops make for an attractive conversation piece that will help to avoid that “cluttered look” in your yard.
What if I Have Other Animals?
This is a great question, and often a BIG question that people forget to ask when they first consider adding a cute little chick into their family. Typically, if you are considering chickens you may already have other animals. While socialization is important, giving your chickens their own space and protection from other outdoor predators is vital. To reduce the risk of any unforeseen issues, consider a larger chicken coop model. The finished sealed wood grain will compliment your home’s décor, as well as minimize heat loss in the winter.
Will My Chickens Freeze if They’re Outside?
Not if you prepare appropriately and insulate the inside of your chicken coop. The second step here is going to be to create a space of artificial warmth.
[alert type=”warning” close=”false”]Disclaimer: This method works best when placed in the outside area of the pen so as to not create a fire hazard with the internal bedding that you previously laid down.[/alert]
A stand-up electric heater with a weather safe chord is going to be important for the fenced area, especially when you are dealing with freezing weather. This will allow a general “permatemperature” to occur and keep things safe so that your chickens regular body temperature does not have a chance to drop to unsafe levels.
You need to then head inside the chicken coop and make sure that the trays, which are below the floor fencing, have extra stuffing and are emptied about halfway. This ends up acting as a bit of insulation for the chicken coop. Additionally, you could use pillow stuffing or even shredded newspaper to help insulate your chicken coop.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Jelly
If streams of biting cold are going through your coop then you are going to want to prevent against frostbite. To do this, you will want to put petroleum jelly on the waddles, feet, and feathers of your chickens in winter. The best way to do this on the feathers is to cake it on a comb and comb it through the feathers, and then to hand rub them on the non-feathered areas. This does not have to be incredibly thick, but it needs to have a noticeable surface of protection.
Switch from Feed to Corn in the Winter
Switch your feedings to corn at night. Corn tends to be a healthier and heartier meal for chickens that will help them gain more weight. Not only that, but corn takes longer to digest. Therefore, this will give your chickens the best chance to fight off the frost this winter.
Check out some of our products that will help you provide your chickens with the best resources possible in order to withstand the upcoming changes in temperature this year.