If you’re new to raising backyard chickens, you’re bound to make some mistakes. However, as the temperature turns colder, those mistakes can become dangerous for your flock. We’ve talked about what you should do when caring for your chickens in the wintertime, but there are also some things that you shouldn’t do in order to keep your chickens happy all year round.
It should go without saying, but as a chicken owner, you want to keep your chickens warm and comfortable in the winter. Many people think that the best way to do this is to provide a heat lamp for their chickens. While their intentions are good, this could backfire. Heat lamps are simply not safe to keep in coops as they can fall and start a fire. Instead, try the deep litter method, or buy chicken coop heaters.
Closing your chicken coop
Another way people try to keep their chickens warm is to close the coop. Again, while the intentions are good, this often backfires. A chicken coop can get damp, and by closing it you’re cutting off any chance of ventilation. This leads to mold and bacteria forming inside the coop, which in turn cause disease and frostbite. In order to have good ventilation while also keeping the coop warm, block everything off except the ventilation above the roost at roof level.
Not letting your chickens outside
Chickens are hardy creatures. In that respect, they handle the cold much better than we as humans can. While you don’t want to let them free-range, you can let them out into the run area in order to get some fresh air and sunshine.
Infrequently gathering eggs
Water isn’t the only thing that can freeze in cold temperatures. Chicken eggs, if left out for too long, can also freeze. Thawing them won’t help matters, so be sure to go outside and collect any laid eggs every few hours.
At the end of the day, as long as your chickens are healthy, full-feathered, and have had time to acclimate themselves to the changing season, then all they need is a dry coop, wind break, full feed and full, unfrozen water. For more tips on how to keep your chickens happy and healthy this season, contact Chickens for Backyards for more information.