Affordable Ways to Keep Your Flock Warm


| 1/29/2016 3:33:00 PM


Tags: livestock, chickens, winter, preparedness, Maine, Kirsten Lie Nielsen,

 

Keeping your birds warm in winter is critical. If you live in colder climates you will probably need to take some steps in the winter months to ensure that your hens stay warm. Chickens and other fowl are fairly cold hardy, but they still get chilly when the temperatures dip below freezing.

Heating the coop can be an expensive and sometimes dangerous option, as it increases the risk of fire on your farm. While an effective heating mechanism can be set up in a coop, there are plenty of affordable and easy ways to make sure that your chickens stay warm and comfortable in the winter months.

Ensuring your hens have plenty of access to fresh water is vital. If you have electricity in your coop you can buy a heated water bowl for your chickens, but if that’s not an option you can still combat ice with a few cool tricks. One method is to pack a rubber car tire with styrofoam or another insulator, and then put the chicken’s waterer in the central hole.

Using rubber water troughs will aid the attentive farmer: if you are checking your hens regularly you can leave them with a regular rubber trough, and easily knock out any ice as it forms. Floating ping pong balls in the water will also help keep waves moving around in the water, preventing freezing. Unfortunately no method except for electric heat can guarantee keeping mother nature at bay, but these tricks will give you an advantage against the ice.

Lighting the coop is a popular way to keep chickens warm, but it is fraught with as many fire risks as a heater and won’t give off as much warmth. A coop kept too warm will actually hurt your chicken’s natural abilities to adjust their body temperatures, making a trip out into the weather even more shocking for their systems.  Instead of focusing on heating the coop, think about what you can to do make sure your chickens are heathy enough to happily survive a tough winter.




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