Sorry it has been a while since I posted. I am doing fine for those who messaged me in concern. I appreciate it, we have just been busy with fall and now getting ready for the holiday’s that are right around the corner. The Kuntry Klucker and Bantam Boutique are also ready for the upcoming winter season. A few days ago we winterized the coops and got them ready for the cold weather that will come our way soon. As you might have guessed by the title of this post, I will chronical how we here at the Kuntry Klucker farm prepare the coops for winter. I get a lot of questions from fellow chicken keepers on how to protect their flocks from the winter weather, I hope that this post offers some help and guidance in that area of winter care. So without further ado, lets dig into how to prepare your flock for winter.
First and foremost chickens do not need a heater or heat lamp in the coops during the cold winter season. Actually not only are heat lamps huge fire hazards in chicken coops, that can actually make it harder for the chickens to regulate their body temperates. As the seasons change and cooler weather starts to take over chickens grow a down coat under their feathers, the same down coats that are sold in stores. Chickens by nature are little furnaces and are more than able to keep warm during the winter. A chickens average body temperature is about 109 degrees F so you can see that the cold temperates are not so much of a concern to them. Given that, I will tell you want I do for my girls to help them weather the winter well.
Since chickens are naturally able to tolerate very cold temperatures I focus more on keeping the coop and pen dry. Cold temperatures are not so much of a problem for chickens but getting wet is a different story all together. So to protect them from the rain, snow, and ice I wrap the pens in an industrial plastic sheeting. This serves two purposes, one it keeps the rain and now out of the pens, and two it protects the girls from the wicked cold winter winds that can accompany the winter season.
I wrap the pen completely in the plastic, only leaving a small potion open to allow fresh air to flow without allowing the winter winds to chill the girls.
The girls are very thankful for the wind and water breaks that the plastic provides. During the coldest of winter days I will not allow them outside due to the possibility of getting chilled if the wind is rather nasty that day. Of course if its raining it will be a inside day for the girls. Since the ground seems to stay constantly moist or frozen during the winter I move a sandbox into the coop to offer them dry sand to dust bathe in. I also hang in their pen a chicken swing to offer some fun on the cold blustery winter days.
During the cold winter days or days where the weather is poor they prefer to stay in their pen to stay dry and thus warm. The plastic also keeps the winter winds out so thus the girls stay nice and warm. They don’t mind to stay in their pen, they have plenty of things to do to keep them occupied. During the winter I will also make them some treats to peck at and also aid in their entertainment. They over winter very well with nothing more than industrial plastic to shield them form the winter elements.
The Bantam Botique also gets the same first class winter care as the Kuntry Klucker girls receive. I wrap their entire pen in plastic to accomplish the same winter care as I for for the Kuntry Klucker. Only, since this is the Bantam Boutique Crew’s first winter they are not so sure of the plastic. Enigma in particular is quite entertaining as the crows every time the wind rattles the plastic. Next winter this will all be routine, but for this season their response is quite hilarious.
I am sure that they appreciate the dry and warm environment that the plastic sheeting provides, but still they are a hoot. I place sand in the run of the Bantam Botique to allow me to clean out the poop with ease and also gives the Bantam Boutique Crew substrate to dust bathe in. The Kuntry Klucker has a dirt floor so that is why I add a sand box during the winter months. They Bantam Botique does not have the room for a sand box so I just put sand on the floor of their pen to achieve that same objective. The crew loves the sand and I like how easy it is the clean. Because I shelter the pen the sand always stay dry, manageable, and clean all winter long.
So to answer the question about winter care for chickens I leave this advice. Do not use heat lamps, they are dangerous and with shavings in the coop they provide prime kindling for a disastrous coop fire. I allow the girls to use what nature provided them to keep warm and just supplement them with a dry and clean coop and pen. By using inexpensive plastic sheeting that I get at Tractor Supply for under $20, I offer them a comfortable overwintering experience. Chickens are made to live outside and weather quite well, they just need a clean dry place to call home. This is my 7th winter with the Kuntry Klucker girls and the first with the Bantam Botique Crew, over my past winters I have had a very happy and healthy flock.
And what cozy warm winter coop wouldn’t be complete without a little festivity. Every year I string lights around the interior and exterior of the Kuntyr Klukcer in exception of Christmas and Santa coming to town. The lights offer the girls a little extra light in the evenings and I love to see the coop lit up with the lights of the season.
That is all for now. Till next time thanks for stopping by and spending a little time with the girls and I. We will be back soon with another entertaining post about life here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm.
As always, thanks for reading and keep on crowing
~ The Kuntry Klucker and Bantam Boutique Crew ~