Cold Snap on its way? Prepare your backyard flock with these simple, safe, and practical tips!
Although most breeds of chickens are hardy creatures that can tolerate the cold, if not kept warm enough you will see a decrease in egg production and risk of increased sickness. If mother winter or a cold front is approaching, use these tips to keep your hens happy and healthy!
While most breeds are hardy, it’s important to take into consideration the type of breeds that make up your flock to ensure your cold weather prep work is adequate for their requirements. The same goes for over doing your winter prep if your flock is comprised of very cold tolerant breeds.
One of the biggest threats to a flock is an overall decrease in coop temperatures. Wind chill can exponentially drop the temperature making it imperative that you minimize drafts in your coop. Seal any areas of the coop that might be allowing air to pass. However, to maintain necessary ventilation, ensure your vent system is working well.
Reducing air flow entirely can lead to ammonia build up, amongst other issues. Prior to a cold snap, ensure your ventilation system is properly working. Your vents should be located near the roof of your coop to ensure cold air doesn’t pass directly onto your flock. As heat rises, it will flush out of the coop through the vents in the roof and allow cooler drier air to enter the coop-preventing mold!
Increasing bedding in your coop can be a great way to provide extra insulation. Utilizing pine shavings or other organic matter on the floors also allows a cozy space for your flock to settle in on a cold evening. Be mindful of the type of shavings used, as cedar shavings can be toxic to your birds!
Having well insulated windows or clear panels in your coop ensures that you capture as much heat, provided by the sun, to keep the coop warm during the colder evenings. This extra sunlight exposure can also assist in keeping chickens comfortable during prolonged bedding periods.
Feed and Water:
In freezing temperatures, careful attention should be given to your flock’s water sources. It’s imperative your flock still has access to clean fresh water through cold snaps. Ensuring you’re also providing a high quality and balanced diet will assist your birds through this stressful weather. Increased feed intake can help provide warmth via metabolic processes that produce internal heat.
We hope this article can be referenced and useful to you as you continue your journey of raising backyard flocks. For more information on this topic, please visit your local Hi-Pro Feeds dealer and find our Poultry Guide here: Backyard Poultry Guide
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