Keeping your chickens warm in the winter is at the top of all chicken owners minds.
On one hand, nature will help. Chickens are naturally adapted to keep warm through the winter. Their downy feathers trap air close to their body, which creates a pocket of warmth around their skin.
Chickens have a naturally high temperature, the ability to increase their metabolism when it is cold, and the instinct to huddle together.
Even still, there are still a few things you can do to ensure your chickens stay warm in winter.
4 Ways to Help Chickens Stay Warm in Winter
Provide Enough Feed
During the winter, your chicken's metabolism will increase to keep them warm. However, it is important to keep their feeder well-stocked with quality feed. Adding a little scratch grain at night before they roost will provide them a little calorie boost to keep them warm during winter nights.
Keep The Coop Dry
Excess moisture can cause frostbite on combs and feet, so keeping moisture out of your coop will keep your chickens warm in the winter. Don't keep water inside of the coop and scatter straw at the entrance to keep mud and snow from being tracked inside.
Draft Free and Properly Vented Coops
A chicken's body temperature runs at 106º so as they huddle together, they will naturally heat things up. A quality built chicken coop will keep the winter winds from entering the coop.
Your chicken coop should be properly vented, preferably above your chicken's heads as they roost. This allows moisture to escape and prevents frostbite.
Let Your Chickens Run
Getting outside during the winter months is important for the health of your flock. A tarp or plywood works as a wind-block against your chicken run and will encourage your birds to get out more.