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Weston's Animal Control Officer Karen O'Reilly has posted helpful tips, FAQs, and other items of interest regarding Weston's wildlife, farm animals, and house pets.

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Nov 02

Tips for Keeping Chickens Through the Winter

Posted on November 2, 2018 at 3:56 PM by Kara Fleming

Winter is close at hand. For those of us with backyard chickens, that means it is time to start planning for our flocks during the cold winter months. Here are a few recommendations to help keep your birds happy and healthy.

Fall Cleaning
Now is a great time to consider cleaning out your coop before the snow and ice make it more difficult. You might also consider changing out your bedding to straw. The air filled pieces of straw make it a great insulator. Stacking bales of straw along the outer walls of your coop is also a cheap coop insulation trick.

Make any necessary repairs to your coop. Ensure the roofs of the coop and run will be able to withstand the weight of snow on them. Also, vermin will be looking for warm places to hide, so repair any holes or crevices to help keep them out. 

Plastic Covering or Plexiglass
Chickens are hardy but some people choose to cover the runs with plastic or plexiglass to block the wind. An incredibly important tip to remember is to allow enough of an opening to properly ventilate the area. An unventilated living space is more harmful to chickens than the cold. 

Water Heater
Water must be kept from freezing so that your flock always has access to drinking water. Electric water heaters intended to be used with metal waterers are sold for this purpose. The waterer rests on top of the heater. Another option that does not require electricity is to use a thick rubber bowl. These can be picked up at most feed supply stores. 

Sprouting Fodder
A more recent trend among chicken keepers is sprouting fodder to keep a supply of nutritious green matter for your birds all year round. Barley seed is the most popular grain used for sprouting into fodder by use of a hydroponic system. Grain is soaked overnight and then rinsed and placed into trays. The trays then require water to be rinsed through them 2 times per day. At about day five you will have a mat of beautiful barley fodder to feed to your chickens!

backyard chickens