Chickens can adapt to a range of temperatures. However, when the temperature drops during the winter, they often need a little more support. During these cold months, they will often stop laying eggs. Some of the weaker members of the flock might even get sick. There are some things that you can do to stop this from occurring.
1. Nutritious Food
A good feed mix is important throughout the year. However, during the winter it becomes essential. During the colder winter months, chickens won’t be able to forage. This makes it harder for them to get the nutrients that they need to stay healthy and continue producing eggs. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure that they are getting plenty of food. Scatter some feed around, so they’ll be able to scratch for it. This will keep them warm. You might also want to give them plenty of scraps from the kitchen. If they can’t naturally forage, add some extra grits to their diet. This will help them maintain a healthy digestion. During the winter months, you might want to try to provide more treats. This will help improve their metabolism, making it easier for them to continue to lay eggs. Check this chicken feeders review before buying.
2. Petroleum Jelly
If your chickens have a large comb, they might be at risk of getting frostbite. This can occasionally lead to some health problems. One of the best ways to make sure that this doesn’t happen is by rubbing the comb with petroleum jelly.
Many chickens don’t like walking on the snow. This can prevent them from moving away from the coop, making it harder for them to get the exercise they need. To prevent this, you might want to spread some straw around on the ground. As the temperature goes lower, you’ll need a thicker bed of straw to keep their feet warm and off the snow.
You might also want to use the straw to do the deep bedding technique. In this case, you’ll need to add straw over the soiled bedding, rather than removing it from the coop. By doing this, you’ll be able to increase the level of microbial activity in the soil. This will naturally create heat.
4. Temperature And Humidity Monitor
During the winter months, you might want to keep an eye on the temperature in the coop. One of the best ways of doing this is by using a temperature monitoring device. This will give you a better idea of how hot it is in the coop. If you’ve prepared the coop properly, it should be warmer inside than outside.
However, it’s more important to check the humidity, especially if your planning on using the deep bedding technique. Once you seal up the coop, it can often cause it to become moist. If this is the case, the chances that the chickens will get sick will increase. By monitoring the humidity, you’ll be able to take action if it gets too high.
5. Add A Roost
The next thing that you’ll need to do is add a roost. One of the most common chicken behaviours is for a group of them to huddle together. This will allow them to conserve their body warmth. To allow them to do this, you’ll need to add a roost. Ideally, this should be raised off the ground by at least one foot. If you want to create the most comfortable experience, you might want to add some padding to the roost. You can do this by wrapping a towel around it.
6. Tarp For An Outdoor Area
Chickens often won’t want to spend all winter inside their coop. However, colder temperatures can make it harder to venture outside. You can prevent this by using a tarp to create an outdoor area for them to explore. In this case, you’ll need to string the tarp around the cage. This will create a warmer area, as you’ll be able to trap the heat in. The tarp will also help you keep the snow off the ground. Though it’s still a good idea to spread some straw around the outside area.
When choosing your tarp, you might want to consider getting a clear one. This will ensure that your chickens will still be able to get some sunlight during the winter months. Though they might not use this area all the time, you should see them outdoors on a sunny day.
7. Chicken Waterers
When keeping chickens, you’ll need to make sure that you can provide a steady supply of water. However, this can be difficult in winter. As the temperature drops, the water can freeze. As a result, you’ll need to choose a chicken waterer that has been designed to cope with cold temperatures.
There are several ways that a chicken waterer can stop the water from freezing. First, they might insulate the container. This will keep it warmer than the surroundings, stopping the water from freezing. In other cases, they might be heated. The right method for you will often depend on how cold the winter gets in your location.
8. Nesting Boxes
When the temperature drops, the eggs can sometimes freeze. This causes the shell to crack, making them unusable. The best way to prevent this is by adding a nesting box. This encourages chickens to sit on their eggs, keeping them warm until you can retrieve them. If you don’t have a nesting box, there are many tutorials on how to make one yourself.
During the winter, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to make sure that you are keeping your chickens safe. If you do these things your chickens should remain happy and healthy throughout the cold winter months.