Keeping Chickens Warm During Winter
During the colder months (December - April, depending on your location) it's not uncommon to see your hens bundling together for warmth. But how can you, as their owner, keep them warm and safe when it's cold outside?
Providing proper shelter is the number one most important thing. Be careful when using anything "heating" related in these spaces, such as heating lamps or blankets. Remember there is feathers and hay in the space that can get close to these items and cause a fire. A low level heating lamp can allow for plenty of warmth, while lowering the risk of fire. A heating blanket should never be used in a space where hay is present.
Insulation and ventilation are important to keep warmth in and humidity out. Warmer temperatures can cause moisture in the air. Without ventilation the air remains trapped that can be hazardous for your flock. On the flip side, without proper insulation the warm air will seep out and keep the coop drafty and cold, another health concern for your flock.
You can keep blankets or other sources of cuddling available for your flock, but be prepared to wash them regularly (when washing, try to limit the chemicals you use).
Finally, allow for plenty of sunshine. During the days where the sun is out, it's not uncommon to see your flock bathing in the warm light, so make sure you have a place they can sit and enjoy the sunlight.
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