Taking Care of Chickens in Winter
Ha ha! My girls won't step foot on any snow either! I free range mine a couple of hours a day, so I have to shovel the pathways in my yard, so they will get out.
“Deep litter” is a different old-age method for the winter coop. Instead of constantly cleaning the coop, you turn the bedding, add new layers of bedding, and allow the old layers to decompose on the floor of the coop all winter. It creates more warmth and less disease. Read more here.
Thank you for writing such a sweet article! It made my day to think about some happy chickens being well taken care of and romping around in the winter. If only every animal owner was as kind and thoughtful as you are!
I live in the mountains of California where we will get a good amount of snow a year. Im looking to get a few chickens for my kids to raise and care for. I feel its much better then video games. My first question is how do you keep the water from freezing in the winter? My first thought was maybe a fish tank heater. my next question is what is a good breed for the beginners. I want something that will yield eggs but also something that my kids will have fun with. I plan on building a 6Wx8Lx6H coop. I know this is an old thread but sure could use some advise.
Well I don't know if you went ahead and got chickens but I'll try to answer a bit. I'm new to chicken owning too (been about exactly a year since we got our first 4 pullets) and I don't have a big yard, so in order to make sure they have unfrozen water, I either go outside and check both waters, or alternate their waters inside so they can melt a couple of times a day. There are heated waterers you can buy; I don't suggest anything not specifically for that purpose for risk of fire. We got speckled Sussex and while they aren't the most social breed, my kids love chasing them and they love being chased when they have their bag of treats. They are great layers, a thought they molted a long time and we still haven't had any eggs since Sept or Oct. We recently got a couple of blue Plymouth rocks after one of our hens was unfortunately taken, presumably by a fox. We have had these pullets since they were chicks and don't have an incubator so we ghetto'd it and gave them a plastic tub with a heat lamp. They were very exposed and socialized their entire time inside and got used to my children who are all preschool age or younger. They are more social then my hens (they are 3 months old now, the hens are a year old) and won't run away as quickly if I stick out my hand. Wherever you're buying chickens from, especially if it's from a local farm like what we did, they answer many of these questions including breed suggestions. We got the Sussex because we learned they are great layers and hardy in winter; we live in Connecticut on a smallish mountain. This is their first full winter outside and today was their first snow storm (hence why I'm googling and making sure I didn't forget anything for them) and so far they are doing wonderfully. Good luck! Owning chickens is a blast, they are funny with their curiosity and habits. They give us food and are low maintenance and can even become food (we plan on eating them when they pass away as many people do), what more could you ask for in a pet?
K I had to change my email since my gmail was blacklisted. I dont believe I've ever even visited this website before but such is the consequence of being gangstalked. Hope you're safe out there in Cali, especially with little ones.
I've been thinking about you!
I moved back to Long Island and I have chickens and a semi-farm.
Would love to hear from you.
Oh....loved this article too. Someone sent it to me on Facebook not knowing we were old friends. :-)
Excellent article! I really hadn't thought to hang cabbage for them for boredom. We are in Northwest Idaho. We have Blue-laced Red Wyandottes. Unfortunately we have 7 rooster and 3 hens. We separated one rooster with the hens and 6 rooster together. All get along very well for now. They are all 5 1/2 mo old. We get 3 eggs on sunshine days and 1 egg on overcast. Our chickens love to be outside be it rain, snow, or sunshine. They only go in if the wind is blowing hard or raining really hard. They can't wait to go out. They also don't eat scraps much. We have taken them apples, lettuce, carrots, pineapple--they don't want it. We keep grit and oyster shell down all the time as well as layer feed and corn for the winter to help them keep warm. The layer feed has everything they nutritinally need so I guess that's why they don't like veggies. These chickens are very large about 8-10 lbs. Our friend has a variety of chickens but came over and called ours Pterodactyls! They aren't full grown yet. I just love them. They talk to you when you go out and they run to keep up with you. We are very proud of our birds! I guess this breed is perfect for our mountain climate. We will be moving them into the shade for the summer in a new coop since they like the cold weather so much. Thank you for sharing your insights!