Anyone who owns chickens knows what hardy creatures they are. In fact, most chicken breeds are just as curious and content in the winter as they are at any other time of year. That said, Missouri winters can get harsh. While your chickens can withstand a lot, you don’t want to leave them to fend for themselves in the bitter cold. After all, who doesn’t want to hunker down in a cozy home at the end of a snowy day? A warm coop is the key to keeping your flock safe and healthy this season. Learn how to make your chicken coop warmer this winter with this useful guide.
Insulate and Ventilate
Drafty homes can ruin anyone’s festive mood. Make sure your coop is free of leaks and drafts before the worst of the winter weather hits. You can install fiberglass or foam insulation boards to the walls of your coop for a little extra padding. Hanging thick blankets or creating windbreaks with hay bales also works well. Just make sure you don’t create an airtight coop. Proper ventilation is just as important as insulation. A little bit of air should flow through the coop—preferably above where your birds hang out. This way, you prevent condensation from building up and causing ice or moisture issues.
Some people add lights to their coop once winter comes along. The extra lights can keep your hens laying throughout their off-season and ward off predators when those longer nights come around. It can also provide extra warmth in the coop. Other chicken keepers choose not to use artificial light in their coop due to power issues or to give their laying hens a rest. No matter what you choose, make sure you know the pros and cons of lighting your coop before you make your decision.
The Deep Litter Method
This tip for how to make your chicken coop warmer this winter also makes your chore list easier. The deep litter method is a low-maintenance way to manage your coop’s litter. Instead of cleaning out and replacing your chickens’ bedding regularly, simply toss the bedding once in a while. Make sure you use organic bedding like pine shavings or hay. As the litter builds up, it develops a compost layer that fights unhealthy bacteria and fends off mites and other pests. The thicker layer of bedding also helps insulate the floor of the coop, keeping it warmer throughout the cold season.