In the coldest of winter months, it’s easy to begin to worry about the well-being of our feathered backyard friends. Chickens are surprisingly resilient creatures, well-equipped by nature to withstand cooler temperatures. However, as a caring chicken owner, you can take steps to ensure they stay comfortable and healthy through the winter. Let’s explore how to best support your chickens when the temperature drops:
Ensure Adequate Shelter
First and foremost, your chickens need a dry and draft-free coop. Check for any cracks or gaps and seal them up to prevent cold drafts. However, don’t make the coop airtight – proper ventilation is key to avoiding moisture buildup, which can lead to respiratory problems in chickens. Adding extra straw or shavings can provide additional insulation and warmth. Remember, a dry chicken is a warm chicken.
Adjust Their Diet and Water Supply
In colder weather, chickens burn more calories to keep warm. Thus, supplementing their diet with extra protein and fats can be beneficial. Consider adding grains like corn to their evening feed, as digesting grains generates body heat. Always ensure they have access to fresh, unfrozen water. A heated water dish can prevent water from icing over, making sure your chickens stay hydrated.
Monitor Their Health
Keep a close eye on your flock during winter. Check for signs of frostbite, particularly on their combs and wattles, which are more susceptible in freezing temperatures. Ensure they are active and showing normal behavior. Inactivity or puffiness can be signs of illness.
Chickens are tough animals, and with just a little extra care, they can thrive even in extreme temperatures. Remember, the key is to provide a dry, draft-free environment, adjust their diet for the colder weather, and keep a vigilant eye for any health issues.
And if you’re looking to start or expand your flock, Chickens for Backyards is the perfect place to find your new feathered friends. With more than 100 breeds of baby chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guineas, they offer a wide variety to suit any backyard environment, even in cooler climates. Contact us today if you have any questions!