If you’re a new backyard chicken owner, winter can be a scary time. Not knowing whether or not they will be warm enough or whether or not they will keep laying eggs can be stressful if you’ve not had to manage it before. Luckily, the following top tips will help keep your backyard chickens safe during winter.
How To Keep Backyard Chickens Safe During Winter
Stop Their Water From Freezing Over
Backyard chickens need access to fresh water throughout the day in order to survive. But in some temperatures, a small bowl of water can freeze over within a matter of hours. To prevent this happening you can serve your chicken’s lukewarm water. Manually replace it as often as possible.
Don’t Use An Outdoor Heater
With all of the bedding and equipment needed to keep backyard chickens, using an outdoor heater could be a fire hazard. Especially when you can’t be there to man it 24/7. Chickens will huddle together for warmth. So a heater isn’t needed to keep them warm.
Use Deep Litter To Keep Them Warm
The deep litter method is a way of allowing your backyard chicken’s bedding material and chicken poop to build up over spring, summer, and fall. This means that by the time winter comes around your chickens will have roughly a foot of composting material on the floor of the coop, helping to keep them warm.
Hang Them Something To Play With
Just like humans, backyard chickens can get incredibly bored in the winter. Hanging them something above their coop to play with (like cabbage) is a great way to keep them entertained in the cold.
Feed Them Corn In The Evenings
Feed your backyard chickens cracked corn before you go to bed. This gives them something to eat during the night, helping to keep them warmer and happier throughout winter.
Give Them Plenty Of Room To Roost
During the winter, backyard chickens will roost together and fluff themselves out for warmth, keeping them off the cold ground. During the colder month’s it is important to make sure you give your chickens plenty of time to roost, at least two feet off the ground. If you’re worried, check on them throughout the night using a flashlight.
Prepare For Snow
Whilst snow is incredibly pretty and a true sign of winter, backyard chickens do not enjoy going out in it. To help, scatter hay and straw over the snow so that your chickens still feel comfortable enough to roam around their coop. If you’re worried about there being too much snow, you could always build covered area in your garden for your backyard chickens to roost.
Look After Their Feathers
Backyard chickens need their feathers for warmth so it’s important that they’re well looked after during the winter months. Chickens may lose their feathers for a number of different reasons, most of the time it’s nothing to worry about. Just ensure to keep an eye on them to ensure it’s nothing serious.
Did we miss any tips? Let us know in the comment section below.