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The Omlet Blog

Winter Chicken Keeping FAQs

Will my chickens get too cold over winter?

Chickens acclimatize themselves very well to the cold weather and are actually able to adapt better to the cold than they are to the heat! As long as they have an insulated coop like the Eglu to keep them snug, you won’t need to worry about them becoming too chilly over winter. You might notice your chickens fluffing up their feathers or huddling together to share body heat through the winter to keep warm. Like many other birds, chickens also often adopt the ‘one leg’ look, tucking one of their limbs up into the warmth of their bellies. This reduces overall heat loss and stops feet and toes from freezing on the icy ground.

A boy sitting in an Eglu chicken enclosure in the snow

Eglu chicken coops offer protection from all types of weather extremes.

Can chickens get frostbite?

As it’s unlikely that your chickens will ever become too cold, frostbite and hypothermia are usually the result of excess moisture in their coop as opposed to low temperatures. Make sure to opt for a coop with draft free ventilation to help with this. Particularly breeds with large combs and wattles run the risk of frostbite on these sensitive body parts during winter, so to prevent this from happening you will need to gently rub Vaseline on their combs and wattles.

Do I need to insulate my chicken coop?

Well-insulated coops like the Eglus will keep your chickens warm in winter by capturing the heat from the chickens’ bodies while not letting any cold air travel through the walls. They are also designed to let air flow through the coop to prevent a buildup of moisture, without any nasty drafts. You can increase the level of protection against the most extreme temperatures with the Omlet range of insulating blankets and jackets. If you do not have a cozy Eglu, a wooden coop can be insulated with bubble-wrap, cardboard or old carpets or blankets.

Should I heat my chicken coop?

Did you know that heating your coop can prevent your chickens wanting to go outside?

This is because they may struggle to adapt to the cold after staying inside their heated coop, making them less likely to get that exercise, fresh air, and entertainment that they require to stay happy and healthy! Furthermore, your chickens also run the risk of getting a shock at a sudden drop in temperature if the power was to go off for some reason, as well as heaters in the coop being a potential fire hazard.

What should I feed my chickens in winter?

Over winter, it’s a good idea to continue to feed your chickens a diet of high-quality layers pellets to keep them healthy. They usually eat more during cold weather to fuel their metabolism and stay warm, so you’ll want to add in a little extra to their usual feed. Providing your chickens with additional vitamins and minerals will help to keep their immune systems up to scratch over the winter. Additionally, make sure to watch your chickens’ water. Be prepared to break the ice, and have some spare water dispensers ready in case things freeze up entirely.

Will my chickens become unwell over winter?

Just like us, some chickens with a weak immune system can be more vulnerable to illness in winter time. Look out for coughs, sneezes, lethargy, or other signs of illness in your chickens. For a bit more advice, you can read the Omlet guide on how to look after your chickens’ general health.

Hens on their Omlet perch protected from the elements in their Omlet run

The Omlet Chicken Perch fits any Eglu Chicken Coop, Walk in Run or a DIY coop!

Do chickens roost for longer in winter?

Chickens love to roost, and during winter, they’ll be doing a lot more of it. You’ll find that they huddle together into one feathery ball, which is what helps them to keep each other warm, especially at night. The perches need to be wide enough so that they can cover their toes with their feathers. To prevent their feet from getting too cold, you’ll need to give your chickens a place to perch in both their coop and run.

How can I keep my chickens entertained during winter?

Winter is the time of year when backyard chickens might need a little bit more entertaining. Fortunately, you keep your chickens happy with a few boredom busters such as peck toys, perches, and chicken swings. Alternatively, a pile of leaves will provide your chickens with hours of fun and keep them out of mischief over winter when there’s fewer bugs to feast on and no grass or weeds to munch on.

Will my hens still lay eggs in winter?

The time of year can actually have an impact on how many eggs your chickens are producing! This is due to a hen’s hormonal response to how much light they are exposed to. They’ll typically need between 12-14 hours of daylight each day to produce eggs, and 16 hours for optimum production. Therefore, for most breeds, hens tend to either stop, or drastically reduce their egg laying output in the colder months when there is less daylight.

This entry was posted in Chickens


2 replies on “Winter Chicken Keeping FAQs”

Rex Jones Upstate S.C. says:

You are rather vague on what extra food to give hens in the winter. I got my hens at about 4 mos. old and they were not raised with kitchen scraps, etc., or other ‘side dishes’. They love dried meal worms and cracked corn but won’t eat cabbage and such. I just make sure they get corn and regular scratch mix twice a day besides the layer pellets this winter and meal worms once or twice a week. Any other suggestions?

Heather Willingham says:

I’d love for you to offer a roosting platform that’s wide enough for them to cover their feet at night. I’ve added 2- 1/2×4 boards on top of the roosting platform that’s working for now. But an option from Omlet would be nice.

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