Keeping Chickens Warm in Winter
Okay, so I have been getting this question from tons of people this year. "How do you keep chickens warm in this brutal winter?" So first of all let me catch you up to speed I have 9 chickens and I live in Michigan. If you don't know anything about Michigan just know that our winters are just as bad as Canadas . If you are reading this and you live in a state that doesn't have winter then I hate you. Just kidding! So anyways back to the point, since so many people struggle with knowing how to keep their chickens warm I thought I would make so tips for you guys.
1. Make sure that their coop, shed or barn is draft free. An easy way to do this is to go out on a windy fall day, shut the door and see where the wind is coming in. Once you find it use some chalk and fill in the gaps were that air is coming in.
2. Make sure you have plenty of straw, I would recommend getting three to four bales of straw in the fall to last through the winter. You can buy it in the winter but its much more expensive. Make sure that they have a nice layer of straw. Also remember to keep it dry.
3. Water heater: If you live somewhere thats very cold and there is a lot of freezing temps. then I would recommend getting a water heater for them. That way you only have to go out once and give them fresh water compared, to every 2 hours.
4. Keep them busy: their used to being able to roam and they hate being cooped inside as much as you do. There are a few things you can do to keep them busy; hang a head of cabbage from the ceiling, its like chicken tetherball for them, the way I use is I buy them a big block, I believe its called a flock block and you can get them at any farm supply store.
5. Make sure they have some light; If your like me, my chicken barn doesn't have a window. So I go out and crack the door a bit so they can have some light. You don't have to worry about them escaping because they won't walk in the snow. ( At least mine won't, I would do a head count just in case.)
6. Don't over do it: Chickens have been living outside for centuries and they know how to adapt. They don't need a heater or a light, those can actually do more damage then good to them. Plus its a big fire hazard around all that straw. Just make sure you keep their house dry and make sure they have lots of fresh water and food. They will be fine, I have spent many hours worrying about my girls, but this is their 4th year and so far so good.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments below.