Cold Weather Tips For Keeping Chickens
I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but it's winter in Canada, which means it's COLD! Raising chickens becomes a whole different ball-game when it's winter-time and cold outside! I want to share some advice and tips with you to help you keep your chickens healthy and happier throughout the colder months of the year.
- A key aspect to raising chickens through the winter is for them to have a constant supply of fresh water. I personally use a large heated watering dish.
- A place where your chickens can get out of the cold winds is a must! Some of my chickens stay in a coop that is insulated, but not heated. I also have a heat lamp hanging up for them.
- Frostbite is a common concern so check your birds for it frequently. Frostbite can be avoided by keeping your chickens bedding clean and dry and making sure they have a place to get out of the wind. Personally I use straw for bedding because it holds the heat better than any other material. To treat frostbite in chickens, thaw the afected area with cold water, then apply a coating of petroleum jelly- repeat as necessary.
- Beware of predators! Store your chicken feed in proper containers. A shortage of food for predators in the colder months, will lure them to food supplies not unlike the one you have in your chicken coop. Make sure your chicken food and your chickens are not an easy meal for predators!
- One more important thing that I do to keep my chickens healthy during winter and the colder months is add vitamins and electrolytes to their water for a few days every 2-3 weeks- just to further insure their health.
- And last but not least, give your chickens appropriate feed that is full strength — no scratch grain added. Scratch feeds can be used as a snack or treat, but it cannot replace the proper feed schedule.
Winter should not be a problem for your flock, but rather a steppingstone to the following year! Just don’t forget to check on the birds!