It’s cold. There is frost on the ground and you’ve got the heat turned up and you’re wearing layers to keep you warm. It’s just natural to think that your chickens also need a heater – or at least a sweater. The truth is, however, less is more when it comes to keeping your girls warm!
Water, Water. Make sure you have fresh water at all times. Make sure that you put it in a non metal container, as metal gets cold faster. Ping pong balls will float around in the water, and help prevent it from freezing. Place the water in an area that can be cleaned if it gets knocked over; you don’t want your girls to get frost bite because they were scratching around in a wet area in the cold.
Comfort Feed. Keep your chicken feed feed off the ground to help prevent waste. Your girls will eat more during the cold as the protein helps keep them warm by regulating their body temperature!
Clean Shave. Shavings or sand in the coop do double duty by keeping moisture and parasites at bay.
Animal Shelter. Your coop should be enclosed but not completely sealed. Although you want to keep the drafts at bay to shelter your girls from the cold, you do not want to make the air in their living quarter air tight, because the ammonia from their litter will cause them more harm than good.
Group Hug. A roosting perch will allow your girls to huddle together to keep warm, and keep them off the ground.
Light Bulb Moment. Although a heat lamp is not necessary you may provide a bulb that is 40 watts or less. Just remember, if you go into their coop and you are warm, your girls are melting hot! Your coop doesn’t need to be over 45 degrees during the winter. Avoid sudden temperature changes. When it’s really warm in your coop and cold outside, moving from one to the other will shock your chicken’s systems. The same principal applies if you suddenly add heat inside a cold coop, so raise the temperature only a few degrees inside their coop at once.
Following these simple steps will keep you and your girls comfortable during the cold months. AND, providing them with fresh milled, certified organic layer feed from Reedy Fork Organic Farm will warm their bodies – and their hearts!