Brrr ... Are Your Chickens Ready For Winter?

| 11/3/2014 9:45:00 AM

Rhonda CrankWith the coming of fall, farmsteaders focus on preserving the harvest, putting the spring garden to bed, and laying in firewood, in addition to all the many other preparations that have to be done for winter. Based on the actions of the critters here on the farm, I believe it's going to be a really cold winter. Are you ready? Have you made the preparations your animals need you to make? I often let the cold weather sneak up on me without being ready, but this year, I'm almost finished with all the preparations needed. All that's left are the chicken preparations!

Hoss Rooster in Snow
Hoss checking out the snow for his girls

These tips will probably be something you already do, if you have had a flock for any length of time, but one thing's for sure, we can always learn more from one another. I always say something my grandfather said to me, “There's as many ways to get things done on a farm as there are farmers. Be sure you listen to what others are a-sayin'.” I thought these tips would help get our minds on what our chickens need to be ready for winter. If I missed something, or you have a different way you want to share with us, shoot me an email or leave a comment so we can learn from one another. We don't deal with "serious temps, snow or ice" as a norm, but my northern friends gave me a few added helpful tips for their “real” cold weather.

Speckled Bird in Snow
Speckled Bird not sure what to think

The first thing I do is take a look at my coop. If the roof leaks, I fix it; of course, I use this term loosely, as I really mean my husband fixes it and I help. If there are problems with other critters getting in the yard or the coop, now's the time to make those repairs too. Remember, your coop shouldn't be airtight, especially if you have a larger flock. Moisture is left in the air inside your coop from chicken manure, urine, respirations and body heat. Methane gas also needs a way to escape; I have ventilation at both ends of the coop roof to accomplish these things. When nighttime temperatures start to hit the 40s consistently, I put black garbage bags over the doors of my coop, since they are covered with rabbit wire for extra ventilation in the spring and summer. 

Next, I use a pressure washer to clean out the coop and squirt the roost with hydrogen peroxide. I also put extra hay in the nesting boxes and under the roost. There are two reasons I put hay under the roost: (1) The hay helps to block the wind that could come through the cracks of the floor. Since the manure puts off heat, I like to leave it in the coop over winter; (2) Having the hay under the roost makes it easier to clean out in the spring and since the chickens scratch through it in the early morning/late evening, air is allowed into the mixture, breaking down microorganisms making it ready for spring spreading. We all like things that are multi-purposed.

8/5/2016 11:45:14 AM

thanks i leaned alot i'v asked a few other sites but thay don't check there sites i started early cuz this is our first winter glad i found yours thank you ben ps tractor supply said put water in there grain they would get water wile the chickens eat

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