Winterizing Your Chicken Coop

Nov 28, 2018
Sue Kelly November 28, 2018
Bria Swanson
Consumer Feeds Specialist

Winter Backyard Chickens

Things to do:Spring is so exciting for us to meet and talk chicken to all the poultry enthusiasts, and especially those who are just beginning the hobby. We have the opportunity to talk to so many of you in-store and at our poultry seminars, but the topics mostly covered at that time is how to care for baby chicks. Let’s face it, we live in Minnesota and and the winters can be HARSH. How do we care for those chicks that are now hens in the frigid temperatures? Take a look at this list of things to do and as always, don’t hesitate to call or ask one of our experts! 

Clean and disinfect feeders, waterers and perches

  • Healthy birds require a clean environment. Wash away any microorganisms that have grown happy in the warm weather.
  • Perches and laying boxes are often forgotten during cleaning. Birds spend a lot of time in these places and bacteria are plentiful! Don’t forget these spots.

Muck out and deep-bed your coop

  • Remove the bedding you use in your coop and replace with a thick layer of pine shavings, sawdust or straw.
  • Pile the bedding up against the walls or leave a few bales of straw in your coop so if you need to remove some bedding during the winter during cleaning, you don’t have to haul fresh bedding in.
  • Piles of straw provide a warm place for chickens to cuddle through the coldest weather.
  • Don’t forget to place straw or other bedding in the nesting boxes. Soft, dried grass makes a great nest that protects eggs from cracking.

Feed and supplement your birds correctly

  • Adult chickens need a source of calcium all year, so don’t neglect providing oyster shells in winter.
  • To stimulate the scratching instinct and keep birds entertained, provide scratch grains periodically.
  • To beat boredom, consider adding a Scratch Block to the coop for a healthy distraction!

Check for drafts

  • Drafts can cause respiratory problems and sickness in your flock.
  • Check for drafts where your chickens roost and spend most of their time when in the coop.
  • Make any repairs to your chickens’ house while the weather is still fair.

Set up any heat lamps and water heaters

  • The breeds we offer in-store are winter hearty birds and do not require a heat source in the coop. However, a plan so your chickens have access to fresh, unfrozen water 24 hours a day is critical.
  • Frozen water isn’t any fun. Set up your heating devices early so you’re prepared and safe.
  • If you use a heat lamp, make sure you have a spare bulb on hand and to remember fire safety.

Hopefully this got you thinking and adding to your winter-prep to-do list to keep your flock happy and healthy this winter season.

Posted: Nov 28, 2018