Winter is coming.
Short days, long nights, blustery winds and blanketing snow. Time to snuggle in a fleece blanket by a cozy fire with a huge mug of hot cocoa! Unless you’re a chicken.
Find the right feed
Winter can be a challenging time for chickens, especially when it comes to nutrition. With colder temperatures, it is important to keep them healthy and happy by providing them with a balanced diet that includes a mix of grains, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Make sure there is constant access to a high-quality feed with high protein, the higher the better, to keep chickens warm and maintain their energy levels.
Consider supplementing their diet mealworms or black soldier fly larvae—a good source of protein and helps keep them entertained—and scratch grains. Crushed oyster shell will maintain calcium levels despite a normal downturn in laying.
Consider an occasional special treat on super cold days of scrambled eggs (yes, really), oatmeal, bread and corn, garnished with some greens or mealworms. Yum!
Keep that water warm
Your chickens will need access to fresh, warmed water at all times—if you see chickens eating snow (a bad practice) that means your waterer might be frozen. You might also consider adding a safe infrared heater to gently add some heat.
Adding electrolytes to their water can be very helpful in keeping them properly hydrated; and it boosts their immune system.
You might also consider adding a safe infrared heater to gently add some heat.
Cold days equal bored chickens
Winter means solitary coop time for many flocks. Keep them entertained with puzzle treats:
A head of cabbage suspended from the coop ceiling
Punch some holes into plastic bottles and fill them with scratch.
Add a hay bale and poke some goodies into it for extra enjoyment
On mild days, open that run and allow your chickens to roam. There might not be a lot of things to scratch for, but they will look for them just the same.
Spring will come again
Don’t worry, it will only be a few short months, then we will be back to chasing chickens out of the gardens once again!
About the author
Shelby Stone is a writer when she isn’t busy with her chickens, her horse Percy, Mango the parrot, and the many other animals in her family.