Importance of Proper Feed and Water in Winter

| 2/3/2015 9:04:00 AM

Chris HeidenOver the past two winters I have learned some things with raising chickens. The first thing is that the chickens do not like to leave their coop when there is fresh deep snow (subject of a future post). The other thing is that chickens need to have access to ample water and feed during the winter. I am imagining that some people would ask, "Why does it matter if they have plenty of water or food? It's cold." Well, we all know that water is important to us as humans. It is also important to chickens. The same goes for feed too.

The next parts of this blog post will share some experiences and ideas for proper winter feeding and amounts. I have also included two links from the Michigan State University Extension Service on winter with poultry.

Rhode Island Red Hen Eating

Hen by feed

1) Feed is very important.

If you are expecting your hens to produce eggs during the cold winter months, then you need to ensure they have ample opportunity for food. We use two different feed types. We use a 16-percent egg layer crumble (pellets are OK, too) and a high energy mix of scratch grains. We lock our flock up at night so when they are let out in the morning they are hungry and happy to have several piles of scratch grains spread out. How do I know they are happy? Do they say, "Chris, we're happy"? Of course not. They just seem to have a healthy feather coat and their coloring is right.

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