Chickens, like wild birds, trap air in between their feathers which insulates them and keeps them warm during cold weather. They will be very grateful to have an area to get some much-needed sunshine and fresh air. So I asked local chicken keepers here in Alberta Canada how they keep chickens in this cold weather. There is warmth in numbers! Thanks for reading and good luck! The first thing I usually say to people is that Chickens are being kept successfully in Canada at temperatures below -20 degrees Centigrade and that they can actually handle the cold weather very well, it is usually the heat that causes them problems. Thankfully, most breeds of chickens do rather well with cold weather. He keeps Cream Legbar chickens, Silver Sebright bantams and hybrid layers for eggs, Abacot Ranger ducks, Brecon Buff geese and some quail. Now offering Organic Sourdough Starter! If your chicken gets sick, seek out the help of an avian veterinarian. Hi Kym, it is best to avoid giving salty foods to your chickens. Tim is the founder of the poultrykeeper website and lives in Herefordshire, UK. The height will depend on the size of your coop, but at least 1 to 2 feet above the ground is a commonly recommended roost height. But it’s not always cold. Chickens can, and often do, get upper respiratory infections. Will chickens consume sunflower seeds (roasted and salted)? Chickens are able to keep their body temperature up pretty well if they are … Most chickens go through their annual molt in the fall, and have hopefully regained most of their feathers before winter hits. During other times of year, your chickens may be obtaining their grit naturally from the dirt in their run or yard. Any purchases made through affiliate links are, 10 Ways to Keep Chickens Cool in Hot Summer Weather, Read how we easily sprout seeds and grains for our flock here, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Backyard Chickens”, Growing Herbs 101: How to Start a Kitchen Herb Garden, Indoors or Out, Craft Project: DIY Fruit & Veggie Stamped Flour Sack Tea Towels Tutorial, Tangy Beet Pickled Eggs Recipe (with Fresh Beets), 10 Ways to Keep Chickens Cool During Hot Summer Weather or Heat Waves, Warm oatmeal, grits, cooked rice, cooked corn, or any combination of those, Sprouted seeds and grains, for an additional boost of greens and nutrition –, Meal worms, to top warm meals or simply on their own, Cracked corn, a popular winter treat to boost energy, Dampen and heat up their usual layer feed on the stove top or in the oven, If electricity is available in your chicken coop or run, use a. However, if you find your chickens happen to be a bit naked come cold weather, there are a few things you can do to help them stay warm. But you can give your chickens cool water for most of the day by putting a block of ice in their waterer in the morning. Chicks or pullets (young chickens) that are not fully-feathered cannot keep themselves warm the same way adult birds can. I may make a small commission from purchases made through some of those links, at no extra cost to you. Grit works within their crop to help properly break down food material. To heat or not to heat your chicken coop in winter is a personal decision. Chickens are designed to self regulate body temperature with their downy undercoat and increased … Surprisingly, chickens consume more feed in the winter than they do in spring or summer! When the temperature drops below about 62 degrees Fahrenheit – this is “cold” for a chicken. Dutch Vet Tour Helps British Farmers Cut Antibiotic Use. If it seems your chickens won’t be coming outside as much as they usually do, be sure to keep accessible food and water inside the coop. Choosing chickens with compact combs, such as pea or rose combs, can cut down on the risk of frostbite. Mixed corn should normally be fed to chickens sparingly (read our Feeding Chickens FAQ for further information) however during the cold, chickens require more energy from their feed to keep warm and mixed corn contains split maize which provides this. Just like people, I suppose. Experiment with the quantity – A few drops usually protects a 6 litre container below freezing but if the temperature falls further, you may need to add an extra drop or two. Sometimes though during extreme weather conditions they might need shelter during the day. Chickens are essentially walking, squawking miniature down jackets, after all! Chickens are naturally very hardy and their thick layers of insulating feathers help them to withstand winter's cold temperatures. This is to retain even more body heat. This doesn’t mean, however, that your chickens always need to get wet and, in fact, cold is the real enemy of your chickens more than water. However, some chicken keepers routinely provide supplemental heat for their chickens in the winter – be it out of “necessity” and extreme cold, or simply because they feel sorry for the poor dears. If it’s a warmer rain, then your chickens may enjoy being out in the wet longer than if it’s a cold rain. Like all of us, chickens need water to survive. Imagine this from their point of view: as a chicken, you wake up one morning and step outside the coop to find the grass has gone and someone has changed the ground colour to white and you sink into this as you walk along with rather cold feet. This should be taken into consideration when high freezing winds and wet freezing conditions a present. Have Draft Free Shelter. Others only provide heat on occasional or unusually extra-chilly nights. And, baby chicks require even more care. As we discussed above, chickens with large single combs are the most prone to frostbite – so keep a closer eye on them! … Hello Christopher, congratulations on your flock of chickens. To learn more about treating frostbite in chickens, check out this article by the Chicken Chick. The cute chicken coop is an eye catcher, as is the rest of the property. Caring for chickens in cold weather requires a little planning and a few special considerations in order to keep your flock happy and healthy throughout a blustery New England winter. You’ll need to keep their water defrosted for them. As you can imagine, this must be pretty strange! This provides their bodies a natural break from the energy and nutrient-intensive process of producing eggs, switching into conservation mode instead. Worms bins are easy to maintain, divert waste from the landfill, and create “black gold” for your garden! Keep an eye on those ones though, since their feet are also susceptible to frostbite. Do they have what they need to stay healthy? Hens should be able to reach their food and water without having to walk through the snow. If you live in an area with cold winters, it’s a good idea to consider stocking your flock with cold-hardy breeds like Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Red, and Barred Rocks to name a few. There are some safer radiant-heat options available that pose less risk. I’ve had backyard chickens in the Midwest for a few years now and still learned so much from this post! Hello Grace, we cover a portion of the chicken run with corrugated plastic roofing that we got from the hardware store. During the summer months red mite can also be a real problem, so it is necessary to avoid providing places for them to hide. The decline in egg production is triggered by the decreased light and shorter days of winter. Continue to primarily offer and feed them their usual layer feed, which provides them the well-balanced nutrition that they need. If you can heat their water you can heat their coop. What’s the next sign to them having a stroke? I like to toss in any fruit that might be going bad or some applesauce. Yes! However, do not block off all of their essential ventilation openings. Single-comb roosters are especially at risk. 6 drops of glycerin in 6 litres of water is a 0.005% glycerin concentration and would only lower the freezing point to about -0.0006°C, hardly relevant. Required fields are marked *. I have even seen some 2×4’s wrapped in cloth towels for extra cush ‘n comfort. I did. Therefore, they’ll appreciate a little more feed to compensate. I have found that damp and wet weather is more of a problem than snow and ice. This life threatening issue can set in if chickens get chilled and can’t properly warm themselves back up. The most cold-sensitive part of a chicken is their comb and wattles. Chickens are created to regulate their body’s temperature with their undercoat of feathers and they increase food intake during the cold weather. The acreage chicken keepers. What kind of plastic do you use to cover your chicken run? Did you know that the internal temperature of an adult chicken is around 105-109°F? If snow falls, you may find water containers get covered, even if the water isn’t frozen thanks to the Glycerine you’ve added. Birds that get soaked through can be at risk of hypothermia. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products for your convenience, such as to items on Amazon. Chickens can handle very cold temperatures. The miserable patient also suffers fatigue and loss of appetite. He does not see any reason to come in out of the rain. Each freezing evening before bedtime with that being said, I had to go out and towel dry buff. 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