When it comes to keeping livestock, chickens are just about as low maintenance as it gets. And while they’re quite hardy even in low temperatures, we all know how nasty Minnesota winters can get. With temperatures steadily dropping, you should start preparing your chickens for the long winter ahead.
Winter-Proof the Coop
Before anything, clean the coop thoroughly. Then patch up any drafts, holes, or damaged sections to keep your chickens warm and safe from predators. Make sure you don’t over-insulate and prevent air flow. Without good circulation, moisture will build up within the coop, which can cause frostbite on your flocks’ combs and ammonia gas buildup from their droppings. Your chickens still need fresh air during the winter—near the roof is a good place to provide ventilation.
Ensure both the floor and roof are waterproof. Provide a thick layer of dry, clean bedding for good insulation and remove wet or damp bedding often to avoid encouraging disease.
To keep your chickens comfortable in the winter, your coop’s temperature only needs to be just above freezing. You can provide your flock with a heat bulb to add warmth, but make sure it’s not too hot. Not only is this a fire hazard, but it can also compromise your chickens’ abilities to tolerate cold weather.
If you’re trying to encourage egg production throughout the winter, you’ll need to provide at least 14 hours of light a day. You can do this with artificial daylight, but you’ll need to turn off the lights at night to avoid overstimulation—get a timed bulb or do it manually.
Prepare for Frozen Water
Water freezes in winter, which presents an obvious problem for your chickens. If you decide to chip away ice and clean your flock’s water bowls, you should change their water twice a day. Alternatively, you can purchase a heated fountain or bucket to keep the water from melting. If you have access to electricity in your coop, these are great low-maintenance options and can be found at your local livestock supply store.
Prepare your chickens for winter with supplies and feed from Mimbach Fleet Supply. Conveniently located in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, we’ve got everything you need to help your flock thrive this winter.