Archive for the Winter Preparation Category
First, know that frostbite is NOT caused by cold temperatures. Instead, it is moisture in the cold air that does the damage. The moistness comes from the hens pooping and breathing in their coop at night. Therefore, it is very important to keep the coop well ventilated. Having a vent at the top of the coop, as well as some kind of vent near the bottom, will keep the moisture to a minimum. (The Smart Chicken Coop is set up for this.)
Ventilation is different than wind. As long as the hen’s feathers don’t get ruffled, thereby releasing all the warmth trapped in their feathers, the chickens do just fine.
The first winter I had chickens, I spent a bunch of time hanging plastic tarps inside the coop to keep the girls warm and free from draft. It was a major pain and it looked ugly. Imagine my surprise when I visited a lady with 50 hens who lived about 30 minutes from me. She didn’t even have a coop; just an enclosure to protect them from predators! It dawned on me that chickens are birds with feathers—like the ones who sleep outside in trees all winter long.
That said, we here in Southern California rarely deal with freezing temperatures (it was 52 degrees last night…mid December), and very cold weather does bring a set of challenges that need to be addressed. So….