We’re sure there are a million guides on preparing your pets over winter such as your cat or dog. But what about a different kind of pet such as chickens?
We’ve thrown together this quick guide on how to keep your chooks warm through the winter period.
Insulating the coop and housing
You can help keep some warmth inside their coop by covering the house with a few old blankets or even an old carpet or rug. We’d also like to add that throwing down shavings or chopped straw and creating a nice dry bedding will also help.
Don’t make it too warm – ventilation is key
Keeping your chickens warm is a must, so covering up gaps and places where the cold can get in seems the sensible thing to do. However, just leaving a few gaps will help keep a steady airflow allowing heat to escape and preventing any moisture build-up which can lead to mould and other problems.
Providing fresh water and routine maintenance on drinkers
Even in the winter months, it is important to provide your chickens with the clean fresh water they need. You will also need to make sure the water and the drinkers do not freeze. You can do this by constantly checking up on the drinkers. Or, we recommend using a drinker heater, which will help keep the drinker thawed and will prevent freezing over. If the drinker freezes over, it is likely it will have cracked due to the expanding ice. Don’t use boiling water to defrost.
Feed your chickens at the end of the day
In the afternoon, or an hour or so before going to roost, you should think about giving your chickens some corn or other slow-burning food. This will digest slowly overnight, and will help in keeping them warm.
Feeding your chickens in the morning
We all like a hot meal, especially in the winter. So, we would recommend giving your chickens some meal or mash, mixed in with some warm water in the mornings. This will surely be appreciated by your birds!
Preventing possible frostbite
A chickens comb is prone to frostbite in extremely cold conditions, especially those with quite large combs. However, a quick tip to prevent this is to smear the comb in vaseline or petroleum jelly.
Extra maintenance and cleaning
We would advise you to carry out some extra maintenance and cleaning of the chicken coop. This is due to the possibility of the chickens carrying in snow with them. This will create moisture and will not be good for the condition of the flooring. They are also likely to carry in a lot more mud and dirt, so therefore a decent cleaning more often will keep the coop in good condition.
I hope this guide was helpful in giving you some idea what to do over the winter for your chickens. To help you along the way, we have a variety of products available such as Chicken Drinkers and Heaters, Bedding and Corn.