When you first built your chicken coop you probably decided to keep it simple, right? Your primary goal was getting a structure set up that would house your chickens and keep them safe from predators. You added a few nesting boxes stuffed with hay or newspaper but you decided against any added accessories like indoor lighting or heating.
At the time your decision probably made sense as it was warm outside and the chickens were relatively young. But now the weather is quickly changing and you’re worried that your poor chickens won’t survive the winter if you don’t quickly winterize your chicken coop, right?
Well keep reading for tips that will help protect them when the temperature drops.
One of the most effective methods of winterizing a chicken coop is adding insulation to the walls when you build it. If you haven’t done that you can find a chicken coop guide that shows you how to add insulation without ruining the current chicken coop structure.
Add a layer of insulation to the floor by using pine shavings or straw. This will help keep the floors warmer than freezing, and you can even add a bit to the ground in front of the chicken coop so they have some added warmth when they are getting daily exercise.
Keep in mind that even with wall insulation your chickens may require more to keep warm in winter.
Overhead heat lamps are a great way to keep your chickens warm without putting them in harm. As you probably know chickens are curious creatures who won’t hesitate to keep up close and personal with any lamps within pecking distance. Hanging lamps will not only provide a comfortable level of warmth for the chickens, but the nesting boxes will be closer to the heat for the baby chicks.
As humans we love to drink a tall glass of cold water, but if our home wasn’t insulated and our water was prone to freezing we might change our minds. It is for this reason that you should get a water heater for your chicken coop. The heater doesn’t have to be on a high setting, but just high enough so that your chickens have fresh drinkable water instead of a frozen block of ice.
Building Chicken Coops
If you live in a climate where you experience mild to cold winters you want to think about how to keep your chickens warm when the weather turns before you build your hen house and fill it with chickens. Mild winters are increasingly turning to cold winters and cold winters are invariably becoming brutal, so build your chicken coop while also thinking about how your chickens will survive when the weather gets very cold or very warm.
In reality chickens are quite crafty and will find a way to keep warm until you find a way to keep them warm for the long term. They will huddle up, but it will make them cranky which means you and all of your neighbors will hear about it. If you have other animals your chickens will use them as a heat source.
Just keep in mind that any electric sources of heat will have to be shut off if you leave your property or risk fire.