Prepare your Chicken Coop for the winter
In this blog post, I will be sharing how to winterize your chicken coop in 10 simple steps. You must invest some time and effort to save the birds from frostbite and hypothermia. You want your chickens to continue laying eggs throughout the winter months; for this, you will have to keep them healthy and happy.
Prepare your chicken coop for the winter:
- Step 1: Add electricity to your chicken coop
- Step 2: Move the feed and water out of your chicken coop
- Step 3: Block the vents and windows of your chicken coop
- Step 4: Renew the bedding and the structure of your chicken coop
- Step 5: Clean out your chicken coop carefully
- Step 6: Never use chicken sweaters
- Step 7: You must never overcrowd your chicken coop
- Step 8: Insulate your chicken coop
- Step 9: Add fresh water to your chicken coop three times a day
- Step 10: Collect the eggs three times a day
Scroll on to read the detailed step-by-step guide given below.
- 1 Step 1: Add electricity to your chicken coop
- 2 Step 2: Move the feed and water out of your chicken coop
- 3 Step 3: Block the vents and windows of your chicken coop
- 4 Step 4: Renew the bedding and the structure of your chicken coop
- 5 Step 5: Clean out your chicken coop carefully
- 6 Step 6: Never use chicken sweaters
- 7 Step 7: You must never overcrowd your chicken coop
- 8 Step 8: Insulate your chicken coop
- 9 Step 9: Add fresh water to your chicken coop three times a day
- 10 Step 10: Collect the eggs three times a day
- 11 Final remarks
Step 1: Add electricity to your chicken coop
Electricity will help you add a deicer and a heat lamp to your chicken coop. You must add enough light inside your chicken coop because at least 16 hours of (day)light are optimal for hens to lay eggs. You must make sure that the plugs and the wiring is installed correctly to minimize the risk of fire. A heat lamp is not essential as long as it does not get too cold, but it can be a great help to keep the temperature up.
It would be best if you made sure that the bulbs and the heat lamps are above the nesting boxes and out of the reach of your chicken. You must at once seek the assistance of a professional mechanic to repair and replace the broken wiring inside your chicken coop.
Step 2: Move the feed and water out of your chicken coop
If you leave the feed inside your chicken coop overnight, it will invite predators. Your chicken will not eat it overnight in darkness when they cannot see. Water left inside your chicken coop overnight will freeze, and the chicken will not be able to drink it because they cannot see in the darkness.
You must always feed your chicken outside the coop in the morning. This way, the enclosure will stay clean and will require minimum cleaning. If water is left overnight inside the chicken coop, it will increase the level of moisture, which is not good for the health of your birds.
Step 3: Block the vents and windows of your chicken coop
If the windows and the vents in your chicken coop are not double-paned, they will allow the heat to escape and the wind to enter. You must hang a piece of an old blanket, a tarp, or a towel in front of the windows and the vents of your chicken coop. But you must make sure that you lift these curtains to allow the sunshine to enter your chicken coop in day time.
If you own a huge chicken coop, you must make sure that you hang a blanket in front of the nesting boxes and provide extra heat at night time when your chickens are sleeping.
Step 4: Renew the bedding and the structure of your chicken coop
To winterize your chicken coop, you must carefully inspect its outer structure and inner structure. You must make sure that the roof of your chicken coop is waterproof and can lift the weight of the most massive snow blanket. If any shingles are missing on the top of your chicken coop, you must at once replace them.
You must ensure that your chicken coop is predator-proof by building its fences 6 inches to 12 inches below the ground. If you see any holes from where the predators can enter your chicken coop, you should block it. You must then remove the damp and soiled bedding from the nesting boxes of your chicken coop.
You must order new chicken-safe hay or wood shavings and lay them inside to provide your birds with enough warmth during the winter months.
Step 5: Clean out your chicken coop carefully
You must never leave your chicken coop dirty and filthy because the ammonia fumes from the bird droppings will damage their lungs and cause illness and death eventually. To keep your chicken parasite-free, you must give them a tub full of sand or wood ash to allow them to bathe in it. If you see condensation on the inner window panes, you must make sure that one or half of a vent is opened to allow enough ventilation and prevent drafts.
Step 6: Never use chicken sweaters
You must never knit sweaters or order sweaters for your chicken because they stay warm by fluffing their feathers, and if you put them inside sweaters, it will be painful, and they will not be able to keep warm naturally. Sweaters are suitable only for battery rescued chickens who have no feathers on their bodies at all. The feet of your chicken are at a high risk of frostbite, so you must make sure that the bedding is thick to provide enough insulation against the snow.
Your chicken doesn't like to walk on snow, so you don't have to throw away the straw you have shoveled out of their nesting boxes. Instead, use it to create paths so that they are encouraged to walk around for some exercise.
Step 7: You must never overcrowd your chicken coop
A 2×4 board with 4 inches side facing up is perfect for accommodating 21 chickens. You must make sure that you do not overcrowd this area with more than 21 chickens. Otherwise, the fumes of ammonia rising from the bird manure will lead to sickness overnight.
You must have noticed that your chickens snuggle on top of each other during the winter nights, so the minimum surface area of their body is exposed to the cold wind. One bird gives out the heat of 10 watts or 35 BTUs, so 10 birds will give out the heat equivalent to a 100-watt bulb or 350 BTUs.
Step 8: Insulate your chicken coop
It would be best if you wrapped the inner walls and the roof of your chicken coop with clear plastic to prevent the gusts of wind from entering it and thus lowering the temperature inside. If your chicken coop is large, you don't have to wrap all of it but divide it into sections and wrap the part where the inclement weather is most likely to enter. For the insulation of your chicken coop, you can use pallets, tarps, plywood, and even bales of hay.
Clear plastic is the best option because you will not have to remove it during daylight, and the sun and the heat will enter it just like the greenhouse. If you are cost-conscious, you can insulate your chicken coop using the bubble wraps that you get as packing material that comes along with the electronics that you purchase online, but it is not resistant to heavy winds. You can also use an old shower curtain for this purpose.
Tarps are the best option for insulating your chicken coop because they have large grommets and you can easily hang them and take them off within a few minutes during the spring season. Some of them have specially designed bungee balls that are rustproof. You must keep an eye on the weather forecast, and if the weather is not windy at all, you can fold the tarp and clip it upwards. As soon as the weather begins to worsen and the temperature drops again, you can drop it back down.
It would be best if you did not dig out the heavy blanket of snow from the top of the roof of your chicken coop because it is the best insulator. But don't allow it to collapse the roof. You can shovel the snow from around the chicken coop and pile it up around the outer walls to provide an extra layer of insulation.
Step 9: Add fresh water to your chicken coop three times a day
The easiest method to provide your chicken with fresh, clean, and pure water is to use an electric outdoor dog bowl, which will keep the water from freezing. For this, you will have to use an extension cord from your house or plug it into the electric outlets in your chicken coop. The outdoor electric dog bowl has the capability to keep the water from freezing.
It is easy to refill and clean. If your chickens stop drinking, they will also stop eating, and thus their health will deteriorate, and you won't be able to enjoy fresh eggs daily.
Step 10: Collect the eggs three times a day
It would be best if you made sure that the openings in the nesting boxes of the chicken coop are facing towards the east so that the rays from the rising sun will heat them up. Never confront them towards the north; otherwise, the wind will keep them chilled and uncomfortable, which will help the eggs to get frozen up and crack before you collect them.
Your chicken deserves your attention because they give you healthy eggs daily. It really helps collect the eggs that the chickens have laid three times a day to save them from cracking and getting wasted.
To sum up this blog post, I would say that by following the above given step-by-step guide, you are confident that your chicken will survive the winter season very comfortably.