How to Keep Your Chickens Safe This Winter


 Chicken In The Winter

Winter brings a new set of challenges to chicken keeping. Cold weather not only comes with a new set of precautions to keep your chickens safe, but it will also require you to adapt existing precautions and habits. Fortunately, becoming acclimated to a winter regime is not too challenging with these five simple tips!

Control Water Temperatures

Chickens need fresh water year-round, but sub-zero temperatures will frequently transform their water supply into one big block of ice. This problem needs to be prevented for your chickens’ survival, so you will need to check the water tank several times per day, and replace it as needed if it’s below freezing outside. However, just like manual coop doors, this is a challenging commitment when you’re busy. A solution to this problem is to use a heater. Many heaters can be placed directly under the water tank and powered by a standard outlet. Or, if you do not want to invest in a heater, you can hang a brooder lamp above the water tank. Either solution works wonderfully, but if you use a brooder lamp you must secure it tightly so that it will not be accidentally dropped into the water tank.

Use An Automatic Coop Door

Installing an automatic coop door is one of the best things you can do to prepare for the cold winter months. Automatic coop doors simplify your routine by letting the chickens out in the morning, and putting them to bed at night for you. For those with families or busy schedules, it can be hard to wake up early and go to bed late in order to trudge through the snow to let the chickens out. Not only that, there may be mornings where you simply forget to close the door because of everything going on around you.

For the chickens, forgetting one time can be a matter of life and death. Not only can leaving the coop door open let in the cold winter drafts, it can let in predators looking for somewhere warm to sleep and a meal to fill their bellies. With an automated door, there’s no need to trudge through snow, and there’s no forgetting to open or close the door. The best coop doors to get for winter climates will use mains electric, and are made of thick material. The one caveat with automatic doors is that you will need to check the grooves for snow and ice intermittently, which fortunately won’t require much work!

Replace Litter Regularly

Replacing litter is necessary year-round to prevent illness. Soiled litter is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, and can cause disease to spread more quickly. Additionally, damp litter can produce ammonia, which is harmful for either you or your chickens to breathe in. In the winter, it’s easier for these things to fester because the coop is more insulated, and the chickens tend to spend more time inside, in close proximity. The simple solution is to frequently remove the dirty litter and replace it with clean, dry litter.

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