Keeping The Coop Happy

Jan 14, 2019
Sue Kelly January 14, 2019
Bria Swanson
Consumer Feeds Specialist

Chickens in Winter

A few weeks back we gave you some things you can do to keep you chicken coop comfortable in the frigid temperatures. Minnesota winters can get long, especially for chickens if the temperatures are too cold for them to get outside. Their days of roaming free in the sunshine, while scratching up treats and exploring new places are gone. There are still some things you can do to keep the coop happy during the winter. 

Although commercial feed is an important mainstay for winter chickens, ambitious owners sprout grain to give their flock a winter treat of greenery. Table scraps also add diet variety but be careful as wet soggy foods can dampen the coop litter and create odor.

Among the best table scraps for indoor feeding are small amounts of salad greens, pumpkin and squash seeds, and bits of vegetables, popcorn, and almost any other food that’s relatively dry. Only put in as much as the birds can clean up in a few minutes.

Chickens love a snack of scratch grain or cracked corn, but only a few handfuls daily are all a small flock should have. Too much grain causes chicken obesity! A scratch block of compressed grain sold at feed stores and left in the coop helps to provide exercise and diversion as the birds gradually peck the blocks apart.

Perhaps the most important help a flock owner can give birds is space. Cramming hens together in winter guarantees squabbling, pecking, and other social problems. Four square feet of floor space per birds is an absolute minimum. The more room the better, and a coop that has an array of perches and roosts at different heights and angles gives the hens a place to exercise, while adding three dimensions to a coop.

So go ahead, add some variety to their winter lives and just keep reminding your feathered friends, Spring will be back…someday! As always, we are happy to offer recommendations or answer any questions. Just send us an email at

Posted: Jan 14, 2019