These great tips to keep your chickens safe this winter will
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One of the joys of life is having chickens. Imagine the freshest of eggs every day and the sound of your hens rustling through their coop. During the summer months they are pretty much self-sufficient weather-wise as long as you provide the necessities. But what about in the winter?
Frigid weather is not for everyone but many people wonder if hens can survive it. Here is the interesting thing—Mother Nature knows how to protect her own.
In fact, you’ll likely notice your hens fluffing their own feathers. It may look cute, but it is also for a purpose. They are ruffling up to create gaps of air between their feathers. This is going to offer a nature-made insulation that helps to protect them from the frigid cold. Hens also know how to keep moving when they are outside in colder weather. You will see them considerably more active, which does its job at keeping them warm.
Another question is whether or not to heat your chicken coop. Yes- heat lamps work, but they can be a serious fire hazard. Honestly your best bet is to let them manage the cold on their own. The one exception is if you are in a climate where your farm gets to icy cold temperatures. Canada and Minnesota are both in this category. If your temperatures fall below negative-30-degrees, you are in the freezing category.
Usually it is enough to feed your hens an extra meal. Extra cracked corn and extra feed can help to give them more calories and plump them up to face the cold. What you should be concerned with is freezing rain. This can take out your entire flock.
If your forecast is calling for freezing rain, you should keep your flock inside their coop with extra treats to enjoy. Frostbite can be dealt with by covering your chicken’s combs and wattles with a layer of petroleum jelly.
Finally, your chicken coop should be a safe and warmer place for your hens throughout winter. Be sure that the windows are sealed and their door is air-tight for the colder nights. Be sure that drafts are cut out by shoring up any gaps in the walls, floors and roof. Also- be sure to gather eggs throughout the day when the weather is freezing—you want to be sure that your eggs won’t freeze.
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