It’s Cold Out There
It’s getting cold outside, and your backyard flock is going to need your help in order to have a successful and productive winter. Zamzows has everything you need to keep your chickens happy and healthy. Here are a few tips on how to properly winterize your setup.
Chickens require approximately 16 hours of daylight to complete a lay cycle. This is why many birds will drop off laying in winter without supplemental light. If you choose to give your hens a winter vacation, you need not even worry about a light. A low wattage light on a timer that goes on at 6 or 7 am and shuts off around 9 pm will work best. Heat lamps get very hot. They are risky to mount inside a coop in a spot that won’t present a fire hazard, and it is far more expensive to run a heat lamp than a low watt light bulb.
It’s also important to keep the chicken run dry and mud-free. Traction sand is a great way to provide extra drainage in the run. Apply a half-inch to an inch layer to your run, then scatter a layer of straw over it on those cold, snowy mornings. The straw will not only provide the chickens with a dry, warmer place to walk, but they also love scratching it around to look for seeds. Covering the top of the run with a tarp or plastic provides a dry place to stand, as a wet, cold run isn’t a very inviting place on a cold morning.
Drafts are a chicken’s worst enemy in winter. Drafty conditions are what promote frostbite and hypothermia, not just low temps. Lining the coop with extra straw helps, especially if your coop has any cracks or potentially drafty openings near the floor. Chickens release carbon dioxide when they breathe just like we do, therefore, providing adequate ventilation is key. Ventilation near the peak of the roof allows the moist CO2 to drift out instead of settling around the birds’ heads and contributing to frostbitten combs or wattles. A well ventilated, but draft-free coop will keep your chickens cozy and comfortable even in below zero temperatures.