Understanding Chickens Needs in Winter
Birds of a feather flock together, especially in winter. Chickens, with their warm-blooded nature and high body temperature, are well-suited to cold weather. To retain heat, they replace their feathers in autumn, a natural phenomenon that prepares them for the colder months. However, it's not just the cold that troubles them. They are also bothered by humidity and wind in winter.
Providing Proper Care
Proper care can ensure your chickens are comfortable and healthy throughout winter. Keep your chickens dry by changing the bedding regularly. A nutritious diet is also necessary. Feeding chickens a diet rich in proteins and calcium helps them stay healthy, as does adding a few drops of cider vinegar to their water to strengthen their immune system.
Insulating the Coop without Electricity
The coop must remain at least 10 degrees Celsius for the chickens' comfort. External walls can be insulated with wool; a double lining is an alternative. Remember, chickens need fresh air, so it's vital to allow them outside.
Protect your chickens from catching cold through their feet by insulating the floor. Use materials like wool insulation, straw, dead leaves, or wood chips for this purpose. The insulation layer should be around 25 centimeters thick to ensure maximum warmth.
If you're in a rainy region, roof insulation becomes even more important. Using a tarp can prevent water from seeping in. For those using wooden coops, applying several layers of linseed oil can waterproof the structure.
Choose a somewhat wind-protected area for the coop. If needed, install windbreak nets. When snow is forecasted, covering the coop can provide additional protection.
Ensuring proper ventilation is key. Leaving some openings for air circulation can avoid humidity buildup. Also take care to protect glazing and seal holes to keep the warmth in.
Keeping Chickens Occupied
Chickens are social creatures. Installing mirrors on the walls can stimulate them and prevent them from pecking each other out of boredom.
Additional Heating without Electricity
If the coop is well insulated, additional heating is often not required. If you feel the need, consider using heat-emitting bedding or warm bricks to provide extra warmth.