It’s getting cold again! Not really *too* cold yet but it’s below 70 and that’s cold enough for me. I have been known to cover all my windows and refuse to look outside when there’s snow on the ground. So what does the cold weather mean for your chickens?
Chilly chickens will do the same thing people do when cold. Go home.
How to winterize the coop.
Make sure the roof is secure. I know this seems like common sense but hey. Mistakes happen. I had made a “train” coop for our Ayam Cemani (get it? Train….sooty chickens…) but since I had used a big, heavy sheet of metal as the roof I didn’t think it needed to be nailed down. Then we had a tornado come through last week. While a tornado was wreaking havoc less than 2 miles from my house I was outside chasing chickens….
Tornados may be the extreme example, and realistically if one wants your coop it’s going to take it, but still. Secure the roof.
The main concerns are going to be drafts and moisture. This may seem counter productive because to get rid of moisture you need…..air. A build up of moisture can lead to frost bite so you need some ventilation. Go with the top of the coop though. Windows near the ceiling will keep air circulating but drafts will not directly hit your chickens. Your chickens keep warm by fluffing out their feathers and creating air pockets heated by their own bodies. A draft will steal that warm air. Do you have to run out to Lowes for some insulation? No, but make sure the walls are solid enough to block gusts of wind.
We use the deep litter method on our floors and it is great insulation. And next spring we will have lots of compost!
We do not heat the coop or put a light in there. Adding a light will keep up your egg production as it tricks the chickens into thinking the days are longer. We figure they deserve a break. I worry too much about a fire in the coop to add a heater. If you’re going to please consider one of these outdoor flat panel heaters. If installed correctly you don’t have to worry about it falling. Install it somewhere the chickens can’t reach it too. Chickens are flammable.
How do you plan on keeping your chickens warm? Thoughts on adding a light? Comment and/or subscribe below!