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Winter & Your Birds: What You Need to Know

Winter & Your Birds: What You Need to Know

A tip for keeping chickens during winter- don’t let your birds get too bored! If they have a very small coop and run, there may not be a whole lot to entertain your flock like there is during warmer months. When snow is on the ground, there will be little or no sunbathing. With the ground frozen, dust bathing is unlikely. There won’t be lots of bugs to catch or greens to forage. Bored birds may become snippy or even aggressive with one another if there isn’t anything to think about or do other than reinforce the pecking order over and over again. Alleviate some of the boredom for your cold-weather chickens by adding treats to their area. For instance, hang a head of cabbage in your coop for your girls to peck at. As they peck, it swings, making it more difficult to eat immediately, and keeping them entertained for hours!

Make sure your chickens have a place to roost during cold winter months! Chickens will roost together and fluff themselves out during cold winter months. This is what keeps them warm. It also keeps them off the cold ground—roost should be raised at least 2 or 3 feet above the earth. So make sure you have plenty of space for all your chickens to comfortably roost. Check on them in the evening with a flashlight—if a bird is on the ground, there’s not enough space!

Collect eggs more frequently! During the cold winter months its important to collect eggs more frequently! Temperatures below freezing result in frozen eggs. As the egg freezes, the contents expand and will cause the egg to crack!

What NOT to do with your chickens during winter- Don’t keep your chickens closed up in their coop when it’s cold! Good cold weather chickens can be allowed to decide when they want to stay in or come out. You might think that your chickens won’t want to go outside in the snow, and sometimes that’s true. Some of your chickens will hate it, and will stay inside most of the day, but others won’t mind it at all!