It’s amazing how birds, so small, can withstand the cold of Eastern Asia. And they don’t need a coat, gloves, boots, or a scarf! As there are hundreds upon hundreds of breeds of birds, there are dozens of breeds of chicken in the United States, each able to withstand a whole spectrum of severe weather.
In Lancaster County, we do not really have to deal with extreme temperatures. However, a conscientious chicken owner must take precautions during the winter if he wants his birds to remain healthy and egg-producing. Keeping chickens warm in winter is crucial to their well-being and egg-laying. Here are 4 things to remember as temperatures drop:
- If you compost your chicken’s poop, you might be familiar with the deep litter method. This simply means that instead of placing a separate compost pile outside of your chicken coop, which is the norm, you allow bedding and droppings to aggregate over the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons. That way, come winter, you are left with natural insulation. Perhaps this is something you can implement.
- One of the most important reasons to make extra sure your chickens are kept warm in the winter, aside from the obvious health issues, is so that they can continue to physically lay eggs. Depending on your situation, you might consider adding a heat lamp to your coop. One needs discernment in this, however: Heat lamps can cause fires. If you have an abundance of birds and a large coop, you might want to seek out safer options. Please give us a call if you would like more information on this. Not surprisingly, keeping your chickens filled with good grains and corns will naturally bring them warmth.
- Roosts. Roosts. Roosts. Roosts are a necessity come winter time. This is the easiest way your chickens will come together in order to warm themselves. It’s just like cuddling to get warm. Roosts should be at least one and a half or two feet above the ground, and large enough so that all of your flock can roost simultaneously.
- Water freezes. Chickens are unable to drink frozen water. Come January and February, there may be some days in which you must change water consistently, for it will be frozen. You might also consider a heated water dish.
Chickens are smart. If you give them the tools that they need– insulation, grains and corns, sizable roosts, and water– they can withstand the cold very, very well– much better than we can! Remember these four things. Keeping chickens warm in the winter will allow them to continue to produce wonderful eggs for you and your family.