Chicken needs special care in winter, that does not mean winter will be scary for them. They can stay outside even in the snowfall as the feathers and body temperature helps them to keep fighting the cold for a few minutes. Yet the chicken prefers warm shelter with enough space to spend their night and day.
They are already cold-hardy, so you need to consider some basic things to warm the birds on your farm.
How to Keep Chickens Warm in Winter
Warming the shelter or coop is not tricky. Deep clean the coop at least once in 6 months to make a preparation for winter while following some winterizing tricks, such as:
Use Deep Litter
It is a simple and sustainable way to warm up the chicken flock coop in cold temperatures. You do not need to use a heater to make the coop warm as the chicken has 106 F temperature in its body to keep the other coop mates warm. Deep litter methods increase the insulation system in cold weather. To prepare the bedding, make a layer of organic matter on the floor without cleaning the chicken poop. It has topped up the layer regularly to prevent building unhealthy bacteria. It also prevents lice and mice.
Winterizing the Coop
The chicken coop needs special modification in winter. Use a proper insulation system in the coop wall and drill holes in the wall and ceiling. Try to enclose the coop, close all the windows, and seal off any cracks so the cold air won’t blow much. However, the ventilation system should be good enough to prevent moisture build-up.
Use bales of hay inside the coop and put a thick layer of straw in the nesting box so the chickens can stay warm on cold nights. Spread bales of straw on the floor to cover the cold ground. You can also make a temporary wall or plastic sheeting around the coop as a protective layer to reduce winter wind.
Trap the Heat
The sunlight is one of the most significant heat sources in winter, and you should capture the heat to make the coop warmer for a long time. Make a well-insulated window that will heat the floor.
The floor should be concrete or stone to retain and release heat. Also, increase the thermal mass to absorb heat. Thermal mass releases heat steadily at night. Use a heat lamp and light to warm up the coop in the winter months.
An electric heater is not needed use for chicken owners in cold climates. Clean all the broken bulbs to prevent injury to a chicken. Keep the internal temperature steady with natural insulation.
Provide Enough Food and Water
Provide enough food and water to your chicken to regulate their body temperature. The food should be high in quality with extra protein. Protein makes the feathers strong. Toss chicken scratch on the floor, so they will be busy eating all day. Fill up the water pot regularly and change the frozen water. Use a heated water bowl to keep the water warm. Feed them cracked corn before evening to keep them warm all night.
Fresh water and food increase the body heat. Feed them a few times per day. Do not provide hot water or warm water to the birds.
Make Sure the Chicken Can Roost
Provide quality roost to make the chicken stay warm. Allow to huddle together and get more roost to accommodate all the chicken. Do not keep the roosting bar near the window or door to prevent blowing. Make the roosting surface big enough to fit the chicken thoroughly. Also, build the roost at least 2 feet high from the ground.
Protect Chickens from Frostbite
The large comb and wattles of your chicken get frostbite in extreme winter. However, frostbite is nothing serious at all. Yet keeping them warm in winter is beneficial for their health. Use petroleum jelly on their comb and wattle to prevent frostbite.
Make extra bedding to protect the entire flock and protect the outdoor space. Use supplemental light too.
What Temperature is too Cold for Chickens?
Most of the chicken breeds can tolerate colder climates. Yet that does not mean you should leave them outside in the winter for long. They will freeze to death when the temperature is below forty, even when the chicken has a thick features layer.
How to Keep Chickens Warm in Winter without Electricity
Electricity is unnecessary to keep the chicken warm in winter, even at night. The deep litter method does not require any electricity to warm them. Also, other methods are,
Make a Small Size Coop
Make the coop smaller or close to any portion during winter. Keep the ceiling 2 feet high from the roosting bar and keep enough roosting bars inside the coop.
Pick a Perfect Location
Build the chicken coop in a protected area like save the coop from the northeast wind.
Make Proper Size Roosting Bar
The bar should cover chicken feet and their bodies to avoid frostbite. The wide should be 2*4 board to cover the chicken thoroughly. Also, the side should be 4″.
A proper ventilation and insulation system can make the coop warm. Add extra insulation to the coop by covering it with boards, blankets, tarps, or foam.