When summer begins to fade away, and winter is just around the corner, there are a lot of considerations that need to be put in place to ensure that your chicken coop is well winterized.
By putting a plan together to help your chickens get throughout winter will not only maintain the health and wellbeing of the chickens but will help them to continue laying for much longer than they normally would.
The following process describes the ideal way that will ensure that your chicken coop is well winterized.
All these processes that are listed below are to help you save money and time.
Chicken coop winterization can be performed by basically initiating family members to help you in carrying out the task.
How-to Guide to Prepare your Chicken Coop for Winter
- Give the Chicken Coop a good clean
Cleaning out the chicken coop is one of the many ways that will help out in the whole process of winterization. This activity works, preferably with those using the deep litter method.
This practice involves scraping out any visible traces of chicken poop that might be lying all over the floor, walls, and even ladders or staircases that the chicken coop is made of.
For those in fear of touching chicken poop, it is recommended to use disposable gloves in many cases.
- Add an extra-thick layer of bedding
The second step in achieving this will involve adding extra bedding to the chicken coop.
Straw is preferred in most situations, and many will go for the same option for their chicken coop. Most pieces of straw are air-filled, which in turn act as a perfect material for insulation.
Depending on the size of the chicken coop, in this case, a smaller one, I would recommend using six good handfuls of bedding in the run and another eight in the roosting area as the winter season begins.
- Blocking out the snow and wind
The run of a chicken coop normally has hen wire that is connected to the frame to prevent escape and predators entering, however, it is best to attach a tarp over the wire to help stop the cold winds affecting the chickens and blowing around the shavings on the floor.
This is well suited for those using an open run, which I believe most people do.
The tarp can also be placed over the roof of the living quarters to reduce wind chill and, by placing an old carpet underneath it will help to keep warmth inside.
Many people look for other alternatives, and in many cases, plexiglass is preferred for the job.
Plexiglass will require you to cut out some pieces that suite the coop openings and used in replacing over the areas that required to be covered.
When undertaking filling practices, it is also important to ensure that you do not block out ventilation and maintain airflow wherever possible.
- Keeping your water thawed
It’s important to keep the water thawed for a chicken because they can become easily distressed. A distressed chicken will not lay eggs and will have a weakened immune system whilst stressed.
To keep the water thawed, try and hang it away from the edge of the coop.
A great way of keeping the water thawed is to get an old woolen hat and cut a small hole out of the top. Undo the water dispenser from its hanging position and push the thread through the hat and then re-hang the water dispenser.
The wool hat should cover the plastic holder that holds the water and help keep the temperature of the water better regulated, therefore, helping to prevent it from freezing.
- Putting the Lights on a Timer
Putting your lights on a timer is also an essential step that needs to be followed if you want your chickens to lay eggs during the winter.
Chickens prefer laying eggs during the daytime, and thus light triggers the whole process. Estimates reveal that chickens require a minimum of fourteen hours of light in order for them to lay eggs.
Anything under this will definitely result in wasted hours since chickens will spend it sleeping rather than laying eggs. It is important to set your timer correctly if you want to keep your chickens laying eggs and avoid them following the course of nature during the winter season and stop laying eggs.
Even though you are implementing a timer, it’s important to give the hens and cockerels quiet and relaxation time that will help the chickens have adequate rest.
You can go back to the supplemental lighting procedure once the winter season is over to save the need of having to keep lights on all over the night periods.
- Do not Heat the Coop
Heating the coop is not recommended because chickens can’t sweat to regulate their temperature, so adding heat can be very dangerous. Adding old carpet to the top of the roof, extra bedding in their nesting boxes and closing the door of the coop is more than adequate to keep your chickens at a healthy temperature.