Whilst chickens are actually more at risk during the summer due to bacteria and illnesses that can be passed around in the heat, winter and its chills do cause some worry for chicken owners. Plus, with British weather being so extreme of late, you might want to think about some ways you can keep your chickens warm, so your birds aren’t b-b-bloody freezing.
There are a few simple things you can do to help them keep cosy, and we hope these ideas can help you do so:
Raise their sleeping area off the ground
One of the main issues with a drop in temperature is that the cold seeps up through the ground, basic coops and covered netted areas that are on the floor. The best way to stave off the cold is by raising the sleeping area off the ground, so raising your chicken coop over some extra wooden planks or basic decking will help to insulate their living quarters. All of our chicken coops are raised slightly which offers a good level of insulation as it is, but putting an extra barrier between the coop and the ground will help keep your chickens nice and warm.
Add some wood shavings
Shavings are good to add inside your chicken coop to insulate underneath straw bedding, or to pack underneath your chicken coop to again insulate against the cold ground.
Have a Hefty Bit of Hay
Layer up the hay all over your chicken run, by adding a thin layer and then allowing them to leave their droppings before adding more hay. This will build up what is effectively a thin compost heap, which will be aerated by your chickens moving around and scratching. It will also offer your chickens good microbes that will aid your chickens’ health.
You can also layer up the hay near the edges of their coop to block out rain, extra moisture, and keep out snow if it’s extra cold.
Cover Your Coop
Try covering your coop or chicken run with tarpaulin or other waterproof covers, tied on with string or zip ties. This will not only keep out the cold, the wind, and trap in the warm body heat, but it will prevent most snow entering the chicken’s living area.
Heat It Up
If you’re still worried about your hens out in the hazardous weather, there are even specially designed electrical heaters for chicken coops (they usually hang from the ceiling) which will keep your birds toasty. However, these can be expensive to run and can be a risk to your chickens depending on the type you get, as some can pose a fire risk.
Late Night Snacks
Like humans, chickens generate heat when they eat, so giving them a little late night snack before they head to bed will also keep them warm through the night.
Stay warm and stay happy in this weather, and ensure your chickens are too!