Keeping Chickens Warm In The Winter
If you look closely at the packaging when you purchase our products you will see that we hint that our main offices are in Southern California. With that observation, you might wonder what kind of credibility we have in writing about winter. If you do subscribe to that belief let me put your mind at ease.
While our offices are in Southern California, some of us have lived and are even from very wintery climates, this includes the Northeast, The Midwest and the Northern Sierras. We have experienced all four seasons, dug our cars out from snow after an eleven inch dumping all while the temperature was -15 degrees Fahrenheit. While none of us live in such a winter climate at this moment, you can rest assured we have the experience to back up our words.
Do chickens get cold?
To put it simple, of course they do, but they do not don that down winter coat as quickly as us humans. There are always variables in place; for example, the climate specific to where you live. If you’re a Homesteader in Florida your chickens will need little to no winter attention, however, if you have backyard chickens and Duluth, MN is your home you will need to take extra care to ensure your chickens do stay warm. It is habitual. Much like one would winter proof their home or car those chickens of yours will need some maintenance before the frigid of air moves in.
Chickens that have large combs are much more susceptible to frostbite and precautions need to be made in advance of frigid temperatures. The larger combed chickens are better suited for warmer climates, but that does not mean they can survive and stay healthy in the colder months. One of the ways frostbite can be prevented is by adding a layer of petroleum jelly to their comb and wattle. Signs of frostbite can include black spots on those body parts. Keeping chickens warm just needs these little practices that are not overly expensive.
In reviewing our humane standards for chickens you’ll see that proper space that is necessary for chickens to live stress free and healthy lives. Keeping chickens warm comes with relative ease under these conditions. Ensuring that the roosting bars are flat instead of round allows the feathers of the chicken to cover its toes to keep them warm. If they are wrapped around the roosting bar, the tips may not be covered and could lead to frostbite.
Chickens do need proper ventilation, but for those climates that are part of longs stretches of cold weather, the ventilation needs to be monitored to avoid the coop being too drafty. Keeping an observing eye will help in maintaining the delicate balance between too cold and warm enough. Chickens can live and thrive in a winter season with the windows open, and having additional nesting material on the floor to avoid it getting too cold will really help their comfort.
Chickens require fresh water on any given day, multiple times, but a practice needs to be in place to avoid this fresh water from freezing. Some tips that we’ve found include heating the water in its dish or surrounding area. We recommend caution using any sort of heater, for water or otherwise within your coop. Ensure all electrical components are hazard and safe to prevent fire or any sort of electrocution.
Much like all animals it comes down to safety and care. Keep the chicken coops clean, feed them (proper metabolism helps in the body’s natural insulation) and ensure the humane care and your chickens will stay warm, healthy and continue to add to egg production.
What do you think? Do you have any tips and tricks you practice during the winter? Share with us below.