The nights are becoming chilly at this time of the year. Many places are actually starting to experience a freeze at night so now is a good time to get down to the chicken coop and make winter preparations for your chickens.
Here are some quick suggestions:
- Time to clean the coop thoroughly, which means remove everything and wash the floor, walls and stands. Consider spreading some Diotomaceous Earth all around the chicken coop. It is important to ONLY use food-grade Diatomaceous Earth for animal use, NOT the pool house supply! This will kill off any unwanted critters harmful to the chickens like mites and lice. This product will also keep the fly population down all through the summer months. This is a natural product that won’t hurt your animals.
- Fresh bedding makes for happy chickens. Provide fresh bedding of shavings or straw after each cleaning. If using straw, open up the strings of a bale, remove enough to spread around, and then re-tie the strings leaving the bale available for the chickens to play with. Chickens are happy when they have something to do. They are very industrious critters and the bale of straw keeps them busy. Check the coop for drafts. You do want some airflow, but large openings for drafts can make it too cold in the coop for the girls.
- Prepare a source for warming the coop. Usually a good heat lamp works great. Make sure you use the kind of heat lamp with the metal guard, just in case it should fall to the ground the bulb won’t touch the floor. The only difference between the white lamp and the red lamp is how much light you want in your coop. Chickens will take their rest in late summer from laying eggs and to molt and are ready again to produce eggs come winter.
- Giving them extra light will help them produce eggs in the winter. Consider setting your heat lamp on a timer to provide light after sunset for 2 more hours, and to go back on providing light about 2 hours prior to sunrise. When it is very cold, perhaps set up two heat lamps, one white light bulb for extra light and one red bulb for heat that stays on when the white bulb for light is off.
- With the arrival of the cold weather, consider a heated all-season poultry fountain to keep your backyard flock’s water source from freezing in the chilly temps. Suitable for all-season use, this plastic fountain is easy to clean and durable. This 100 Watt fountain is thermostatically-controlled to operate only when necessary and prevents water from freezing down to 0-degree Fahrenheit. Ideal for year round use.