Chicken Winter

InTheMarket.ie Guide To Preparing Your Chickens For Winter

Although chickens are generally competent at taking care of themselves, they will require a little more attention during the chilly winter months. On help you get through the chilly months, read our comprehensive guide to keeping chickens in the winter here before we go through the essentials. Your annual animal care schedule should include routine winterisation of your chickens. Although chickens can endure extremely cold temperatures outside, it’s crucial to take the following into consideration when getting the flock ready for winter:

Be Prepared for Freezing Water

Worst of all is water! If we get the bad storms in Ireland that we have had in recent winters. After that, allow me to explain why:

Your beautiful, spotless, and simple-to-maintain fountains cannot withstand the winter. They immediately freeze, break, and are generally unusable in the cold. You’ll need a backup strategy because using open dishes and containers just invites muck and bacteria (yes, even in the cold).


Chicken Winter


Actually, you only have two choices:

Either you can choose to remove and chip the ice from the open bowls (be careful when doing this; watch your eyes), or you can choose to buy heated founts.

Check your current feed supply

It should go without saying that you need to make sure your chickens have enough food all winter long. But keeping a supply of feed on hand is much more crucial. A chicken feeder that is automatic is also usually better in case the weather becomes bad and you don’t want to walk outside.

Chickens need to have access to more food in the winter than they did in the summer because food is a source of energy and they need energy to stay warm.


Chickens Winter


Their capacity to tolerate the cold will be significantly increased by the addition of extra protein and carbohydrates to the chicken feed.

The placement of each person’s chicken coop varies. For instance, because mine are free-range hens and are kept in a fenced-in animal pasture, I keep them about 150 feet away from the house. Winter winds and freeze-overs can be brutal, which makes lugging and thinking about feed transportation difficult. I therefore keep the feed in blue, food-grade bins that are water-resistant to keep everything nice and dry. Normally, I’ll load each to the brim with various feed mixtures as needed.

For chickens in the winter, heat lamps versus no heat lamps

An age-old dispute involves the use of heat lamps for chickens throughout the winter. There are many possible explanations for why poultry owners lean one way or another. I’ll provide the two schools of thought to you and leave it up to you to make a decision.

No heat lamps, please

Up until it gets really cold, chickens can tolerate the chilly weather (like sub-zero with a windchill).However, that does not imply that they enjoy the cold. In reality, due to the makeup of their feathers, the size of their wattles, or just their genetic makeup, some breeds are not suitable for cold climates. Thus, be aware of your breeds and what they may be able to tolerate.

All of this is to suggest that those who dislike heat lamps dislike them because they interfere with a chicken’s natural capacity to adjust its internal temperature to the weather.

Consider the case where your chickens spent the entire winter in a paradise lit only by red lights. The electricity suddenly goes out on the coldest day of the year, leaving your poultry exposed to harsh conditions. They will not survive this.

Heat Lamps 

You could feel the need to heat the coop where your chickens are if you live somewhere that is really cold. That’s extremely thoughtful of you, and if it gets below zero, you might want to think about the possibility that your flock might end up at freezer camp sooner than you had intended if you don’t do anything to keep them warm.

Use heat lights only when it is extremely cold outside, for a brief amount of time, and for chickens who struggle to cope with the weather. During the Beast From The East storm that we had a few years ago and due to the intense cold and winds, I am rushing to fill the coop deep with straw but am unsure if I have succeeded. I talked myself into installing a heat light. Although straw and heat lamps don’t mix, I made sure to secure it very securely and checked on it frequently. As soon as the cold snap passed and the temperature rose above 0 degrees, I turned off the heat lamp. Risk is sometimes required, but I didn’t want anyone to get frostbite.

The decision is entirely up to you and we can only give our opinion.  Common sense will inform most of your decisions.

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