Practical Tips to Winterize Your Chicken Coop
Chickens are blessed to have feathers which makes them more resilient to cold temperatures than their human counterparts. However, there are some practical and simple things that can be done to prepare their coop for the cold weather months. Let’s take a look at some basic things that you can start doing now to ensure that their home is just as winterized as yours.
Start by addressing structural issues on the outside of the coop before focusing on the inside. Do a walk around to look at the coop for holes, cracks, crevices or other areas that need to be patched up. Apply caulk around windows, sealant around floors, walls and joints, and add some shingles or paneling to areas that need to be covered. Try to make the door more secure so that drafts and moisture can’t enter as well. Chickens prefer consistent temperatures, and drafts can have a negative impact on their overall health and well-being, which can contribute to a reduction in their productivity.
Take this time to reinforce fencing and other defensive areas around the perimeter of the coop and run. Despite cooler temperatures, some predators can be more aggressive in the cold weather months as food options from other sources may be limited. All in all, the focus should be on making sure that things are stable, secure and bundled up. Try to avoid waiting until the last minute as well, so that you can take advantage of warmer temperatures and drier weather to get these tasks done.
Inside the House
Start by doing a little bit of “fall” cleaning. Take everything that is removable and place the items outside before cleaning them thoroughly. Once you’ve freed up space inside, conduct an inspection and start making repairs on nesting areas, the floor, walls or anything else that needs attention. You also want to pay attention to vents. Chickens don’t like drafts, as mentioned above, but they also need some airflow through the home to keep things fresh and sanitary. Fix cracks and crevices inside, and close off some vents while making sure a few remain open to provide ample circulation.
This is also a good time to install lamps for heat as well as light. Light will trick the chickens into thinking that the days are longer than they really are and lay more eggs during the winter. Having a couple of electrical outlets, whether installed in the wall or running from an extension cord will allow you to install these lamps as well as heaters as necessary. Temperature control is important, and you should refer to guidelines regarding your specific breed of chickens to determine the optimal settings to maintain throughout the winter.
You should also stock up on feed and other supplies while the weather is good. You never know when these items may be in short supply due to winter storms, and you may end up being trapped at home as well. The last thing you want to face in the dead of winter is a food crisis for your chickens. Finally, remember to be more attentive during the winter by checking up on the chickens on a regular basis and making accommodations as necessary. They will do just fine as long as they are living in the right conditions, but they are also sensitive to changes.
These are just a few general suggestions to give you an idea of what needs to be done in order to prepare your chicken coop for the winter. Do some research with regard to the breed of chickens you keep so that you can make more specific preparations based on their needs. Remember that it’s always better to get a jump things as opposed to waiting until the last minute, and the early fall is a great time of year to get started.