Learn how to care for your chickens in extreme cold with Nutrena and Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
If you live in the Midwest, you know that temperatures can plummet at the drop of a hat. When the extreme cold hits there are a few things you need to do to keep your chickens safe and comfortable. With the help of Nutrena and Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can learn how to care for your birds when the temperature drops.
When your chickens are well cared for they can easily handle temperatures down to zero or a few degrees below zero. As temps drop to 20 or 30 degrees below zero, chickens will need special care to handle the extreme cold. To help your birds survive the cold temps, you can do the following to prepare your flock.
Eliminate Coop Drafts – Plug cracks in the coop walls or around the windows with caulk. You can also use bits of fiberglass insulation that can be pushed into gaps with a screwdriver.
Supply More Feed – Keep the birds’ feeders filled and give your hens extra grain. Corn and scratch grains may be low in protein, but they’re full of cold-fighting energy. Your birds will eat more when the cold weather hits.
Use Petroleum Jelly on Wattles and Combs – Put a coating of petroleum jelly on your birds’ combs and wattles. These body parts are the most likely ones to get frostbitten.
Slightly Warm the Birds – You don’t have to make the coop warm, but at least take the edge off the extreme cold. Warming the coop so it’s at least zero degrees makes a big difference when compared to 25 degrees below zero.
You can also try sheeting off parts of the coop to make it smaller. The chickens will have an easier time warming the smaller space with their own body heat. You can also fill a five gallon bucket with hot water, cover it and put it in the coop. This can add a few degrees to the coop’s temperature without creating a fire hazard.
In extreme cases, a brooder lamp can be used to warm the coop. It’s crucial that the lamp is positioned carefully to keep the chickens from getting burned and to keep the lamp from becoming a fire hazard. Using heat lamps is not typically encouraged, but they can be used in drastic measures.
At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you’ll find everything you need to care for your birds. From chicken coops to chicken feed, and everything in between, your birds will be set all year round. Knowing how to keep your flock warm during extreme temps is just one part of keeping backyard chickens. For more tips on caring for your flock, visit our Hobby Farming blog.