Learn How to Prepare Your Chicken Coop for Winter will ensure a healthy flock that will eggs all year round.
How to Prepare Your Chicken Coop for Winter Video
Learning how to prepare your chicken coop for winter starts with deciding what chicken to have on your homestead and choosing a hearty bread that can handle the climate. If you live in an area that has colder temperatures find a breed a chicken such as Rhode Island Reds that can adapt to changes in weather.
If you live in a cold climate as I do, research breeds of chickens can adapt to weather changes from summer to winter.
Chickens that are hardy can adjust to colder temperatures over time. If you heat your coop keep in mind power outage. If the power goes out chickens have a hard time adapting quickly. I personally do not heat my coop only in extreme weather conditions.
Five Ways to know How to Prepare Your Chicken Coop for Winter
Backyard Chicken Coop
Shelter (Chicken Coop) is essential during the winter and unfortunately there is not a perfect design for this. The best shelter for backyard chickens is one that fits their needs such as climate.
Also, think about how many chickens will be in your coop, nesting boxes and roosting bars.
Ventilation is important in the chicken coop because it provides fresh air, removes moisture, gas such as ammonia, dust and other particles that could harm your chickens’ lungs.
Chicken have a high respiration rate and they use oxygen up quicker than most living creatures because of this they are susceptible to respiratory problems.
Make sure your coop is properly ventilated with screens on the holes to prevent wild creatures entering the shelter. In the winter keep north facing ventilation holes closed or what I like to do is place curtains over them to prevent bitter drafts.
Finally, preparing Your Chicken Coop for Winter it has to be dry and clean. Scoop dropping as often as possible and fresh up the space. Make sure all nesting boxes are clean by using fresh nesting pads, strawing and pine shavings. Finally, sprinkle non-toxic refresher to neutralize ammonia and odors in the coop.
Prepare Your Chicken Coop for Winter with Food and Water
Food and Water is essential in the winter. Keeping the water is from freezing is important. Invest in a water heater and check on frequently to ensure the water has not frozen.
Chickens tend to sip a little water each time they visit the watering dish. A chicken body weight contains fifty percent water and the egg they are laying is about sixty five percent water. Drinking two cups of water is not out of the ordinary for a laying hen.
Water temperature is essential in the winter, a great temperature for a water is around fifty degrees. A poultry water heater is necessary in the winter to not only prevent freezing but, to regulate the water temperature.
Keep watering containers clean, free of debris and fresh. I love using elevate feeding and water dishes to prevent droppings and keeping it off the ground slows down freezing.
Keep chicken feed in stock for your flock, they tend to eat more as temperatures drop to obtain additional energy, they need to stay warm.
Choosing a great chicken feed in the winter can keep you flock thriving and helpful. There are a variety of brands of chicken feed such as pellets, mash and crumbles.
When choosing feed know your flocks’ conditions. My hens are pasture raised; meaning they have access to forge from sunup to sundown. I choose a feed that is organic and for hens that lay eggs. Pellets is the feed I like because my chickens can pick and choose, and I find I do go through it as fast.
Another reason why I love pellets because if they fall out of the feeder the flock can forge for the pellets.
Now I have bought crumbles and they do take a bit more time to eat but, I notice my girls eat more and do not forge as often. Experient with a variety of feed but, note they do eat a bit more in the colder months and should have access to nutritional feed.
Prepare Your Chicken Coop for Winter with Treat and Supplements
Treats and Supplements are something that will give your backyard chickens a bit of love and support. In the winter I like to give healthy treats to beat boredom and give some extra nutrients. Hanging large cabbage from chicken veggie skewers, making salads filled with greens or cutting a pumpkin in half for your hens to enjoy and prevent boredom especially when the ground is frozen.
Two hours before the sunsets I sprinkle crackled corn in a dish for my backyard hens to gaze on to keep them warm in the evenings. The Cracked Corn takes longer for hens to digest causing body heat to increase.
Black Solider Fly Larva is a nice treat of protein for your backyard flock.
Just right before the cold winter your hens will go through Molting, which is where they will loss feather and grow their winter feathers. When hens go through a molt, I like to give them some support in extra protein and calcium. Feeding your flock mealworms and scramble eggs will give them the support they need to molt without stress.
Keeping Your Backyard Chickens Warm
Heating Sources can happen in many non-traditional ways. First, note many will heat their coops with artificial lighting not only to warm the space but, to keep egg production abundant. I am not opposed to artificial lighting but, my situation is slightly different.
Where my homestead is located, we tend to lose power frequently and that dramatic temperature change could cause a great deal of stress to my flock and possibly death. Also, I am not in the egg business, providing my hens with rest is fine and healthy for their overall health.
One way I do keep my backyard flock warm in the north is the Deep Litter Method.
Deep Litter Method is nice to do in the winter because it is composting. Keep up on coop in winter in coop by keeping it dry and scoop out chicken poop. Add additional shaving and straw for warmth to the coop.
Next, I like to line my outside of my chicken run with plastic sheeting to prevent brisk winds and snow from entering my hen’s main area. The plastic sheeting blocks weather conditions and warms the coop up to ten degrees.
Another way I keep Chicken Coop in the Winter is lining walls, floors and ground with straw. The straw warms the chicken run and coop up to degrees and provide comfort.
Finally, when the weather is below zero, I will bring in a chicken coop heater that will warm the coop up to ten degrees. I will place the heater on the north wall of my coop and when last year’s winter was twenty below my girls ok. Please, note the body heat of your hens will warm the coop as well.