Winterizing Your Chicken Coop and Run | Kent Feeds - Blue Seal
Winterizing Your Chicken Coop and Run

Winterizing Your Chicken Coop and Run

Healthy chickens are cold-hardy and typically fine in colder weather, especially after molting season with new feathers. Although, they can thrive in most climates, in northern regions, they’ll appreciate a bit more TLC when the mercury plunges.

While heating the chicken coop might be the first option that comes to mind, it puts your coop at risk of burning down. Not to mention, if you lose power, there’s no gradual way for your chickens to get used to colder temperatures—resulting in them going into shock and freezing to death.

Help your flock become accustomed to those bitter days by getting them outside year-round. As well as try winterizing your coop or run, instead of just heating it.

Winterizing a Chicken Coop

When it comes to winterizing a chicken coop, good air flow and ventilation are critical year-round. During the winter months, close the windows and cover them at night with items like wool blankets or shutters to keep the chickens’ body heat inside. Leave the vents up high open to allow ammonia fumes to escape and fresh air to come in. Use a piece of cloth over the chicken door to keep drafts out. You may want to try tying it back the first couple of days, so the chickens get used to it being there. Then when you let it hang down, they should be able to go in and out without a problem.

To help insulate the cold ground, create a thick layer of soft bedding on the floor with straw, pine shavings, dried leaves, or pine needles. Then for low maintenance, you can use an old-time favorite, the “Deep Litter Method.” The Deep Litter Method composites the litter right inside the coop all winter to generate natural heat. When done correctly, it shouldn’t be messy or smell.

Also make sure your roosting bars are wide enough that chickens can sleep flat-footed. This way their bodies cover their feet, ensuring they stay warm and don’t get any frost-bitten toes.

Winterizing a Chicken Run

Winterizing your chicken run is also a great idea so your chickens aren’t cooped up all day. You can encourage them to spend more time outside by putting their feed and water out there. Not only will they become more accustomed to the weather, but feed attracts flies and rodents. Putting it outside lessens the chance they’ll take residence in the coop and harm the flock.

It can be a challenge keeping fresh, unfrozen water in front of your chickens during the winter. You can utilize a heated water base, or you can try setting black tubs of water in the sun with a few ping pong balls in them. With the slightest breeze, the balls will bob just enough to keep the water from freezing solid.

Most chickens won’t walk on snow, so putting down some straw or making paths for them will also encourage them to venture out into the run. You can add outdoor perches, benches, or some sort of shelter that will provide a place for them to get out of the rain or snow without having to head back to the coop. To help with those cruel winds, try wrapping one corner of the chicken run in a clear, plastic tarp. This way they have a wind break that still allows sunshine to come through.

Don’t forget to add a small tub or kiddie pool with loose dirt, sand, or wood ash, so your chickens have a place to take their dust baths. This will help keep them clean throughout winter.

Winterizing your coop and run will allow your chickens to acclimate to the colder temperatures and keep them active during the winter months, so when spring arrives, your flock is healthy and ready for the warmer weather!

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