Winter is a difficult time for chickens. In addition to the threat of hypothermia and frostbite, extreme cold can weaken chickens and make them more susceptible to other illnesses. Moreover, stressed birds lay fewer eggs. Winterizing your chicken coop with these helpful tips can help alleviate winter effects and keep your flock healthy and happy through the harshest days.
Clean the Coop
Fall is the best time to clean the chicken coop thoroughly. Scrape and scrub the dropping boards, perches and roosts, replace all the bedding and install a layer of rubber sheets. Clean all the windows to maximize the amount of light that can enter the area. Also, clean the run and yard space to give the birds plenty of room to exercise.
Repair and Seal the Coop
Before the snow flies, inspect the coop and make any repairs, including fixing roof leaks, tightening perches and repairing ramps. Ensure the gates and doors all work correctly. Seal cracks and crevices around windows and siding to minimize drafts and prevent rodents from entering.
Short winter days can reduce the laying rates of your hens, so add some lights in the coop to lengthen their perceived daylight hours. Put the lights on timers, as chickens lay best when they get 15 hours of sunlight daily.
Add insulation to the roof and walls to better maintain indoor temperatures. Ensure the material you use is well out of reach of pecking beaks and scratching feet.
Use Supplemental Heat
Severe chills stress chickens, so install a supplemental heating system to keep the coop at a comfortable temperature and prevent water bowls from freezing. Heating lamps, plates and pads are effective and safe. Just ensure you use proper wiring and fuses.
Cull the Flock
Fall is an excellent time to cull unhealthy, unproductive or troublesome birds from the flock. The remaining birds will have more space and less stress. Fewer birds will also be easier and less expensive to maintain.
Ensure you have plenty of food and supplies to get you through possible winter storms that prevent you from leaving the farm and supply trucks from delivering. Stock up on food, bedding, fresh water, scratch feed and vitamin supplements.
Wholesale Farm Equipment in Southern Ontario
At Ontario Wholesale Farm Direct, we offer a range of poultry accessories and equipment, such as poultry crates, water and feed troughs, coops and kennels. We also carry a wide selection of wholesale farm animal fencing. Contact us today to order your farm supplies, and we’ll deliver them to your farm in southern Ontario.