How to keep my chickens warm in winter?
Chickens can tolerate cold weather better than hot. A chicken’s feathers provide them with warmth and insulation from the cold. They also can tolerate wet conditions, but the combination of wet and below-freezing temperatures is a recipe for frostbite. Combs, wattles, and toes are susceptible to frostbite.
According to The Poultry Site, here’s how to look after your chickens in winter:
- Minimize drafts by ensuring that all air leaks are sealed, and repair any holes with plywood.
- Keep your coop ventilated to reduce ammonia build–up, but place the vents near the roof so it doesn’t blow directly onto your chickens.
- Use the ‘Deep Litter Method’ the right way. Stacking six inches (or more) of litter on the floor of the coop helps to insulate it. Deep litter also produces its own heat from the decomposition.
- Use sunlight to trap heat with well insulated windows, or even add a greenhouse–style ‘sun room’ to your coop and cover it with clear plastic.
- Make sure that your chickens can roost (“go to bed”) and there is enough room for all the chickens to roost so they can huddle together to help keep warm. Ideally having a roost that is two feet off the ground to help insure that your chickens won’t have contact with the cold ground.
- Protect your chickens’ combs and wattles from frostbite with petroleum jelly.
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