How can I keep my chickens warm in winter? for some reason I hear that question more than any other. Even though the birds in the wild seem to get along fine, we still need to provide a few things for our domesticated birds.
There are four major elements to keeping chickens happy in any weather, but especially in winter.
Keep the Wind Out
I can’t think of any animal that likes to be in a draft when it’s cold out. I know I don’t. Chickens are no different. at the other extreme, you don’t want an airtight enclosure. a happy medium of fresh air without drafts is best.
The best way to accomplish getting fresh air but no drafts is to make sure the air is not coming in right where the chickens roost or nest. These areas should be allowed to get toasty while the chickens are congregating there.
Keep the inside Dry
If snow or rain is getting into your coop, then a little repair is needed. if you are getting condensation dripping from the inside of the roof, you need a little repair. keep the critters dry.
You may need to add a layer of insulation to your coop’s roof to keep the condensation from forming. I would recommend two inch thick sheet insulation rather than batts or rolled. you will be able to eliminate adding a new ceiling using this material.
Let the Light In
I think the plastic panels that let light shine through are great. see if you can incorporate these into the design of your coop. they keep out wind and wet, but the light, however little of it there is, can still get in.
Since they’re corrugated, make sure you predator-proof the edges. Time to get out the jig saw and make a wavy piece of wood to fill the edges. Trace the edge of the panel down the middle of a 2×4 and cut two out at once.
Eliminate Noises that Startle
One more thing you should do for your feathered friends is to make sure nothing is banging or rattling when the wind comes up. Chickens absolutely do not like sudden noises that startle them. they can become accustomed to a constant noise so don’t worry about those.
Check for anything that might go bump in the night. Check for anything inside the coop and outside the coop that could frighten your chickens. if you have a branch that whacks the side of the hen house in the wind, you will have stressed chickens and stress leads to disease.
Keeping chickens in winter is much easier than most people think.