Archive for December, 2010

Winterizing Your Chickens

If you got chicks this spring, you probably asked the question, “How do I take care of the hens over the winter?” Bringing them into the house is not a great idea, and unlike dogs, chickens generally aren’t given to wearing sweaters and booties. Nor are they given to fluid replacement.

Here are some tips for helping your chickens ride out the winter!

  • Move your coop to an area out of the wind.
  • Provide lots of bedding or straw. Bedding should be dry and fluffy so that it traps the heat.
  • A heat lamp is optional. Beware of fire hazards, especially with the dry bedding, and use a red, rather than white, bulb. White light can throw off the laying cycle.
  • Make sure they have fresh, unfrozen water and give them more food – their bodies need it to stay warm.
  • Use Vaseline on combs and wattles to keep them from freezing.
  • Provide wide roosts that allow the down feathers on their bellies to cover their feet.
  • If your hens run in the snow, watch feet for signs of frostbite – they will look swollen and puffy. They might become infected, and the chicken could lose toes or the whole foot.
  • Provide extra protein for the birds during the winter months. A handful of dry cat (not dog) food will give an extra protein boost.

Contact Home to Roost if you’d like an in-home winterizing consultation!