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How to Keep Your Chickens Warm in Very Cold Weather

How to Keep Your Chickens Warm in Very Cold Weather

With an Arctic freeze on its way and temperatures plummeting, it's crucial to give extra care to our feathered friends. Normally, chickens are adept at keeping warm, thanks to their feathered coats. However, during extreme cold, they need our help to stay cosy and healthy. If you're concerned about your chickens braving the chilly days ahead, here are our top tips we use here at East Sussex Smallholders that you can implement NOW – they're cheap, quick, and effective.

Add Extra Bedding
Layering extra straw or wood shavings on the coop floor is a great way to provide additional insulation. This technique, known as the "deep litter method," not only keeps your birds warm but also encourages them to scratch and forage, which keeps them active. Straw is an ideal choice due to its hollow nature, trapping air and providing excellent insulation, but any bedding material is better than none.

Blankets Over the Coop
Consider draping blankets, old curtains, duvets, or tarpaulins over the coop to significantly reduce heat loss, especially during the night. It's important to leave gaps for ventilation to avoid condensation buildup. This method is simple yet highly effective in retaining warmth inside the coop.

Promote Free Ranging
Exercise is as good for chickens as it is for humans. Allowing your chickens to free range encourages them to stay active, generating body heat in the process. Ensure their ranging area is secure and consider adding windbreaks or sheltered spots. A bit of freedom does wonders, so let those girls out and about!

Corn as an Afternoon Treat
Feeding your chickens corn in the mid-afternoon is beneficial. The digestion of grains generates internal heat, helping your chickens stay warm throughout the chilly night. (If you want corn tomorrow - this is available on Amazon Prime and is a good price at £13 ish for 20kg: https://amzn.to/47uWtzE )

Increase Feed Intake In General
An increased calorie intake is vital in cold weather. Providing extra feed helps your chickens generate more body heat. Opt for high-calorie feeds to ensure they have the energy needed to stay warm.

Create a Temporary Windbreak
Wind can drastically lower the temperature inside the run. Creating a temporary windbreak can offer immediate warmth. Position hay bales, boards, or even a tarpaulin around the run's exterior, particularly on the wind-facing side. This reduces the wind chill factor significantly. Just make sure this setup doesn't obstruct ventilation or coop access. In open areas, this method is particularly effective.

Conclusion
These five measures are not only practical but can also be swiftly implemented to protect your chickens from the cold. They don't require major alterations to your coop, yet they can greatly improve your chickens' comfort and health during a UK cold snap. Remember, a little effort can go a long way in ensuring the well-being of your chickens in freezing weather.

Feel free to share your own tips or experiences in the comments. Let's keep our feathered friends warm together!