Even in January you can take steps to ensure that your chickens have a comfortable winter. Wondering what tips are at the top of the Cluck, Cluck, Doo! cold weather list?
1) Clean coops! Droppings contain moisture which can build up and cause frostbite conditions.
2) Prevent drafts but keep coops well ventilated. Open a window to let in fresh air on days when temperatures are above freezing.
3) Ensure your birds have a well balanced winter diet. More protein is needed in colder months to help chickens endure the chilliest of days and nights. Warm treats such as oatmeal with raisins and even scrambled eggs (if you can wrap your head around the weird factor) will keep your girls happy and healthy. Fresh, unfrozen water is a must!
4) Keep your flock entertained! Bored chickens will become thugs with their coopmates if left in cramped quarters for too long. Let your hens roam in their run whenever weather permits. Add a bale of straw or hang a cabbage ball for them to peck at. Large branches, “Thinking Logs” (a series of upright logs for perching), and hanging fruit kabobs offer hours of amusement.
5) Check on your flock often, especially on bitter days. Chickens fare well in winter, but they’re not invincible. You can assist with egg laying and extend daylight hours by keeping a light on in the henhouse. This is also beneficial to your hens who like to knit after the sun goes down.
Take care of these few details and your chickens will handle the rest. Hang in there! Spring is on the way!
Photo credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_1JdB7nW0EWk/TUTanm34F5I/AAAAAAAAA0w/0l5W6vn1i7c/s1600/Chickens+in+Snow_005.JPG