Even while chickens are hardy creatures (as long as you remember to clean up their water and coop periodically), you still need to take precautions to ensure that your flock survives the winter.
Your chicken coop should be well-insulated, and you should check for and fix any draughts in the coop. You should also provide more bedding in the coop, check for vermin, and make sure the chicken coop is clean.
You should also provide a water heater and check the fencing for holes or gaps. You should also give your chickens extra scratch, and you should clear out any debris from the yard.
Find out whether there’s anything you didn’t know about how to properly winterize your hens in this article.
Adding Insulation to the Chicken Coop
There are a few things for which chickens have a high tolerance threshold. They won’t lay eggs if their water feeder isn’t cleaned out regularly or their coop is gross.
The same thing applies to how people feel throughout the winters. They will not lay eggs for you if the temperature is too low.
As a result, providing your hens with a comfortable and cozy coop is critical. There are a few things you can do in the winter to help keep the coop warm.
Foil insulation, which may be found here, is one option. If you put a heating lamp or anything similar within the coop, this insulation will assist keep the heat in.
Staple or hammer it into place after positioning it where you’d want it within the chicken coup. You may additionally insulate the chicken coop by adding extra layers of plywood to its interior.
In other words, you may be looking at 6 inches of insulation in the chicken coop’s inside. As a result of the thicker walls, chilly air will have a tougher time getting in, keeping your chicks warm.
In addition, spray foam may be used to insulate the inside of your chicken coop. Using this method will be successful, but be aware that your hens may be tempted to peck at it.
In addition, if they pick at it excessively, they may succumb to the infection. As a result, spray foam should be your last resort.
Let some fresh air in.
You’ll want to make sure your chicken coop is properly vented now that it has been insulated. This is critical since hens, for some strange reason, defecate in the places where they feed and sleep.
The feces will stack up during the winter, and the chicken coop will ultimately smell like ammonia because of the waste. So, if your chicken coop has any ventilation, the bad air may be expelled, and clean air can be introduced.
Chickens are unlikely to be present. Therefore you’ll typically want to locate the ventilation section away from them. Perhaps it will be at the top of the chicken coop.
A tiny opening should be made at the top of each side of the chicken coop (about 6 inches wide and an inch or two tall). There is a way for the air to enter from one side and exit on the other side.
This will keep the unwanted odors at bay, as well.
Make sure there are no holes in the chicken coop’s walls.
Ventilation is not the same as draughts, as you may have guessed. As previously stated, the hens will not be directly exposed to the air via the ventilation system.
On the other hand, a draught is an unforeseen hole that immediately affects the temperature of the hens. So, take a trip around the coop’s perimeter and feel for any openings.
If you discover a draught in your chicken coop, you may close it up using silicone sealant, cardboard, feed bags, or any other long-lasting material.
It’s good to use cardboard or feed bags if the hardware shop is closed when you detect the draughts. Staple the card or feed sacks over the afflicted regions. Using a silicone sealant is a better long-term option.
Apply the sealant to the hole causing the drought, and wait for it to cure before moving on. Once the holes are filled, your hens will be happier and more comfortable.
In the coop, move a heat light and turn it on.
As previously said, chickens are a lot like humans in this regard.On a day-to-day level, they don’t like things to change.
As a result, the weather will impact the number of eggs you obtain each day. Hens can’t produce eggs if it is too chilly outside.
Taking care of draughts in the coop is also why we do soAs a result, the hens may be kept warm in their coop all day long by using a heat lamp.
And that’s how they’ll be most at ease, too. Your heat lamp needs a power source.If it’s near enough, you may be able to see it from your home.
Ensure you utilize a heavy-duty outdoor power wire (you can purchase one here). Also, make certain that the cord’s other end is pointing upward and out of the way of any potential rain.
Because the cable was running downhill and the coop was exposed to the elements, it caught fire in our experience.
The heat lamp exploded and caught fire after being watered by the rain. It was a blessing in disguise since it was a free chicken coop built of pallet wood.
Fortunately, my wife was able to extinguish the flames. The power cable emerges from below via a tiny hole in the floor in our new chicken coop, keeping it dry and out of harm’s way.
But I would rather leave it on all day than switch it off at night. As a result, you’ll have more eggs all week long.
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Make sure the poultry coop has enough bedding.
Most likely, your chicken coop is not simply a place for your hens to sleep; it’s also a place to deposit their eggs. If this is the case, your hens are most likely resting on bedding. This lets them feel at ease, allowing them to lay eggs.
However, you’ll want to leave the bedding in there all winter long, so you may lay it on top of the old every few weeks. Thanks to this, chickens will have plenty of bedding and warmth to rest on.
Vermin in the poultry coop should be checked for.
Your hens are now living in a cozy and warm coop, thanks to the work you’ve put in. It’s possible, though, that you’ll be bringing in some unexpected visitors to your chicken coop.
Vermin such as mice and rats may be hiding in your chicken coop, so do a thorough inspection. It should be rather obvious whether there are any pests in the house.
It’s hard to tell the difference between their feces and that of chickens. When you look at chicken droppings, you see small gobs of dung.
Mice and rats excrete little amounts of black excrement. If you detect rat or mouse droppings, do all you can to track them down. On the other hand, it might cause harm to your hens.
Organize the chicken coop
There will be an increase in the smell of ammonia due to the build-up of feces in the hens, which is not healthy for them.
While making sure the coop has enough bedding, be sure to clean the coop’s interior periodically as well. Poop, feathers, and anything else the hens would bring into the coop would be included in this category.
Clean the chicken coop regularly, maybe once a week. When feeding your chickens from the chicken coop, thoroughly clean the feeder before adding more food. When you’re done, make sure the hens have access to clean water from the water feeder.
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A water heater should be provided for this purpose.
Your water may now freeze over every night if the weather continues to drop as low as recently. Because of this, you’ll have to chisel or dump the now ice and replenish it with fresh water the following morning, which is a pain.
Alternatively, you might invest in a water heater.A water heater may be purchased here. Because of this, you won’t have to keep a close eye on the water supply, and your hens will be pleased.
You’ll need to plug this in, much like the heat light, so take care while setting it up.The water heater will keep the water warm enough so that it does not freeze over after you get it installed, though.
Do a visual inspection of the fence for any cracks or openings
It is important to keep your hens in their coop after taking care of all the other details. Getting them back may be difficult if they go on the run.
As a result, it’s preferable to keep them close to where they are most comfortable. Ensure there aren’t any breaches in the fencing surrounding their chicken coop by taking a stroll around it.
Zip ties may fill in the gaps, even if they aren’t the most appealing alternative. Depending on the size of the hole, it may be possible to use two or more zip ties to seal it up.
The yard has to be cleared of trash and rubbish.
If you haven’t done so already, take a walk around the property and remove any loose trash. This is the greatest way to ensure that you don’t leave anything behind that you don’t need.
Or it might be something you’ll need in the future. In addition, it’s a good idea not to leave anything in the yard that might decay and contaminate the hens.
Give your chickens a little extra scratch to eat.
As humans, we naturally want more food throughout the cold months. To stay warm, our bodies must work harder.
This applies to most animals, but chickens are particularly prone to this. Just before and throughout the winter months are ideal times to increase the grain your hens are given.
In addition, if you’re comfortable with it, you may feed your hens maize or other grains. This will help fill them up and keep them warm in the winter.
Any snow that does fall should be removed as soon as possible.
As we’ve already explained, the most critical component of winterizing your hens is keeping them warm. To put it another way, even if you assume that having the snow around would keep them warm, they may be colder.
As a result, snow must be removed as soon as it falls. When it comes to clearing snow from your chicken coop, a shovel works well.
Keep an eye out for your hens when you’re plowing the driveway. Getting all the snow isn’t crucial; getting the great bulk of it is.
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Take a bath in the sand.
For hens, dust baths are an essential part of their daily routine. With the dust bath, they can remove all of the bugs from the chickens’ feathers while also helping to keep the feathers clean.
If they can’t get a dust bath throughout the year, they’ll leap over your fence. In the winter, it’s a good idea to create a dust bath for your hens.
To do this, you may need a place where you can keep the bath covered. Get a small pool from the hardware store first if you decide to do this.
Then take it back to your house and fill it with soil from your yard. Lastly, ensure the hens have a place to splash about in the muck by installing a swimming pool in your covered area.
At night, keep the hens safely enclosed.
For the duration of this post, we’ve discussed how to properly set up a chicken coop for your flock. They may be sleeping comfortably in their chicken coop at night, which would be a tragedy.
You may have to force your hens into the coop, but lock the coop once they’re in there. This keeps chicks safe and warm, but it also deters other animals and predators from entering the coop.
Other animals may seek out the coop’s warmth when the temperature rises. Your hens will likely be food for them when they arrive. To ensure the safety of your hens at night, get them inside the coop and secure them.
In the winter, protecting your hens from the cold is essential. There are many options available to you, like repairing problems in your coop, insulating it, adding ventilation, cleaning it, installing a water heater, and more.
If you take good care of your hens, they will continue to lay eggs even when the weather becomes cold.