Audience Relations, CBC P.O. Chickens need a secure, draft-free coop to protect them from cold, snowy weather, so it might seem right to close the chicken coop in winter to keep the chickens warm. We do get some winters that are colder than average and this often will bring questions about how to keep the chickens comfortable and thriving. I would also like to mention we have four beautiful Jersey Giant chickens who made it though winter perfectly fine, the only difference I noticed is they do require more feed and they did puff up significantly more during the cold spells when our Icelandics did not. So I asked local chicken keepers here in Alberta Canada how they keep chickens in this cold weather. Your hens will happily leave the coop all winter as long as the run is snow and wind free. They don’t sweat but instead exhale tremendous amounts of water vapor when … During the winter months, your coop will be a safe haven for your chickens. Although I doubt I'll ever be gung-ho about the possibility of any kind of fun that involves my nostrils freezing shut, I'm a lot less of a chicken about the cold than I was before I had to tend to my flock. Comments are welcome while open. My chickens rarely need me more than when it is –28, except when I'm trying to beat a hawk off one of them (seriously), and I don't resent them for it one bit. Sex links, Chanteclers, Barred Rocks and Orpingtons are few worth mentioning. The hens are in a fully enclosed, partially insulated coop (a section of a large barn that we made into a … To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Greater prairie chickens are not threatened by severe winter weather. . You can probably get by with whatever you’re feeding them now. Our chickens even survived when the temperature dipped to -25 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, 20 … By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. In practical terms, there isn't much ROI on chickens in the winter. First consider those heavy down coats they wear all the time. In fact, the colder it is, the more often I'm forced to get out there and ensure that my birds have water instead of just ice. Among the numerous chicken breeds at the Museum are several rare breeds, most notably the Barred Plymouth Rock. Well you can, we do and many people around us do it too. Reply 4 years ago Reply Upvote. Here are 4 winter chicken keepers sharing their experiences. When chickens huddle together on … I was born here, have always lived within the 416 (the “six”),... read more. Four Legs or Wings Pets houghts of surviving winter with chickens don’t have to send chills up your spine. Your hens will behave the same way as they do in summer if you can stop snow and wind getting into the run. Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted. You're still paying to feed them of course, and they still need mucking out (as in shoveling out mounds of frozen chicken poop, which is never fun and really, really stinky once you get to the not-frozen stuff underneath), so it's a pretty thankless task. Food and water should only be available to your flock in the run. can be used for this. As mentioned previously, chickens drink a lot of water, and excrete moist droppings. All breeds of chickens will grow in extra feathers as the weather cools to prepare them for the winter. A drought can destroy food and make it difficult for the chicks. Your hens won't grow in any extra feathers to help them acclimatize to the cooling weather and if the power were to go out (as it tends to do in winter) your birds will freeze quite quickly. Chickens can handle colder temperatures as long as the environment is dry. First consider those heavy down coats they wear all the time. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. So no electric heat for the chickens or us. His favourite is named Fudgelynn, for reasons known only to him, and he hugs her and rocks her, singing her lullabies. Layers of feathers keep the interior body temperature of a chicken about 106°F (41°C), and most breeds have no trouble keeping themselves and their coop-mates warm. Gatineau chicken farmers offer scoop on running backyard coop. By winter, the litter should be about 8 to 10 inches deep. Keeping a small backyard flock of chickens is a fun and rewarding hobby, and a happy flock of hens provides a ready supply of fresh eggs. Living in Alaska, we get plenty of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures throughout our winters. When the snow is thick they "dive" into the snow to keep warm. Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know about events, specials and new products. The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is a working farm, complete with chickens. Toronto UrbanHensTO Pilot Program – Backyard Chickens. Yes, caring for chickens in winter requires special attention, but mature laying hens are surprisingly cold hardy when a few basic needs are met. Rhode Island Reds were originally developed in New England (specifically Massachusetts and Rhode Island – does the name… ← Previous Post Sex-links, Chanteclers, Orpingtons, Barred Plymouth Rocks and Ameraucana are a few breeds that eat snow storms for breakfast and ask for seconds! These sometimes drenching rains can wreak havoc on their chicks. Don't put a heater in your chicken coop for winter warmth. Actively planning to ensure they have those resources is the key to cold weather survival with chickens. Steve is Canada’s longest-running home improvement and how-to columnist and editor of Home and Property. Where in winter would be coldest and reach below -10 degrees. Most chickens available in Canada are very winter hardy breeds. Foraging becomes more difficult as the ground freezes and there are fewer berries and bugs in the cold. And in normal temperatures chickens drink roughly 2 times the amount of feed they eat. We have tested them without any issue. Layers of feathers keep the interior body temperature of a chicken about 106°F (41°C), and most breeds have no trouble keeping themselves and their coop-mates warm. You can change the water throughout the day, replacing the ice with water or you can use a heated chicken waterer. We find it best to check for eggs more often in the winter to avoid cracked shells. She loves her adopted homeland and is settled in Nova Scotia with her husband, three kids, two dogs and 12 chickens. 1 reply 0. infernisdiem supernoodle2014. Originally from England, I came to Canada by way of Australia and Las Vegas, so the cold is something I've definitely had to adjust to. It will be composting nicely and giving off heat. Call us toll free Chickens, like wild birds, trap air in between their feathers which insulates them and keeps them warm during … The rules surrounding backyard chickens vary across the country with only a few major Canadian cities allowing them. Box 500 Station A Toronto, ON Canada, M5W 1E6. Inspect for Predator Infiltration. We live completely off grid. And we are in Illinois where below zero temperatures are common. Once I had 8 chickens in small coop during a winter storm. But in the winter, a cold wind lifting their feathers and exposing their delicate skin to the freezing temperatures can kill them. … New chicken owners experiencing their first winter with chickens in a variety of backyard chicken coop designs can become concerned when the real winter weather arrives. Ventilation is very important for chickens year-round. If you free range, you may find some of your birds a little reluctant to wander around in the snow. Reply. Lola Brown moved to Canada from England by way of Australia and Las Vegas. Winterizing Your Coop. My chicken coop has a covered run enclosed in ¼” hardware mesh. All breeds of chickens will grow in extra feathers as the weather cools to prepare them for the winter. However, as the owner of a flock of chickens, I have no choice but to get out there and deal with the cold every single day. Another major natural threat is drought. I am often rewarded with a stunningly glorious sunrise or the kind of starry night worthy of a Van Gogh painting. How To Keep Chickens Warm in Winter. Even on the coldest mornings he pulls on his snow boots and coat over his footed pajamas to come out and help me give them scraps and water. The easiest way to ensure they are getting enough water is to make sure their water bowl is kept full at all times. Want to place a phone order? Chickens Need Protection From Cold Wind Day and Night Chickens aren’t fans of windy days, no matter what the temperature. Canadian winters took some getting used to. The line of Omlet coops work great in Canadian winters! Welsummer Chickens in Freezing Conditions. I agree, a few simple things done on our part, and they will be happy and healthy! Step 2. Our flock is part of our family, as much our pets as the dogs are, and they bring me a lot of joy. Pewter sustained some frost bite damage to his comb, but that was the worst of it. We got 4-6 inches of snow and that morning I found 6 dead chickens in the coop. We live in Ontario Canada where it can get pretty darn cold (-40 on occasion). A greater threat to the prairie chickens comes in the form of spring rains. The chickens do fine in the winter so far. Chickens only have issues with the cold when the draft parts their feathers and cools down their bodies. The first thing I usually say to people is that Chickens are being kept successfully in Canada at temperatures below -20 degrees Centigrade and that they can actually handle the cold weather very well, it is usually the heat that causes them problems. Then the snow covers the ground and drifts to depths. Your next step is to carefully inspect your coop and look out for any … Chickens raised for meat – called broiler chickens – are by far the most farmed animal in Canada. In winter, the chickens call the Small Animal Barn home. Yes, caring for chickens in winter requires special attention, but mature laying hens are surprisingly cold hardy when a few basic needs are met. When chickens huddle … There are no benefits to food or water in the coop. Putting food or water in the coop is unnecessary and will create extra mess and moisture in the coop. Having chickens gets me out every morning, away from the comfort of the woodstove, and at the end of every day when I really don't want to go anywhere. He divides his time working on the land, building things […] By Steve … You wouldn’t believe the piles of hay and straw and dry leaves that I pile into the coop … Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm EST, info@fourlegsorwings.com Chickens Don't Need a Heater. However, caring for chickens in winter during the long, cold months requires proper housing for protection against the weather and additional attention to feed and drinking water to maintain a healthy flock. I live in a fairly moderate area where winter is normally not too severe. What do you feed your Chickens during the rest of the year? Can you keep chickens in winter… serious winter, like zone 3 winter, where temperatures drop to -40? What breeds are good for winter? Have a question about a product? But we made it through! In summer, you’ll find them outside in the Poultry House, sometimes with other poultry. The chickens’ scratching will keep it aerated and turned, especially if you throw scratch grains in the coop for them, but you can give it a hand with a pitchfork every once in a while. What To Feed Chickens in the Winter. Anonymous October 23, 2015 at 6:42 PM. Reply Delete. Using our run covers, you can create wind blocks and cover from the elements. I'm greeted by my squawking birds rushing to the hatch, gratefully tumbling out onto the snow to snatch up whatever scraps I've brought out, and some will nuzzle up so I can scratch their back. On the worst days, I need to dig a path through a couple of feet of snow to actually get to the coop, yank open the frozen door to the chicken yard, and pour boiling water over the catch to the coop in order to let the chickens out. She said they won't be keeping all the chickens past October because the outdoor coop is not meant to house the chickens in the winter. Toronto, ON We reserve the right to close comments at any time. After eight years of living here, it is clear to all who know me that I am no fan of the lung-freezing Nova Scotian winter. It appeared the 100w bulb was to much heat for there little coop and they overheated. The primary job of a chicken coop is to keep chickens safe … Take steps to avoid these issues: … I take in the way everything sparkles in the frost, how pretty our home looks in the snow and the way the hoar frost on the trees catches the light. Most breeds sold in Canada are winter hardy. Think of all … . This moisture can be a problem if … Please note: comments must be approved before they are published. Warming treats. Replies . The hens were happy, warm and laying eggs even on the coldest of days! I'm okay with ski resorts (and après-ski) but you'll never find me strapping on a pair of snowshoes, declaring gleefully that there is fresh powder to march across, or rushing out to build snow-forts with my kids. Many people also like to provide some plant material to their chickens over winter. BACKYARD CHICKENS: See Winter Houses in Action. Since starting to keep chickens in 2002, we’ve had zero respiratory problems and only a frozen comb every couple years on a rooster or two. This may help keep the chickens active throughout the day. On an emotional level though, you get tons back from chickens. Human interactions are by far … Freelance writer Lola Augustine Brown moved to Canada in 2004, but was born in England and has lived in the U.S. and Australia. They are a common breed for Alaska and although I am not convinced they were as comfortable in the extreme cold temperatures as our … Raise Chicken Breeds Especially Climatized To Cold Weather. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. And feed becomes instantly wet as it hits the snow-covered, damp ground. 1-877-672-4755 My four year old son, Carmelo, adores the chickens. Caring for our flock has forced me to embrace winter. These chickens have been bred to grow very big very quickly (especially their breast muscles), and most reach slaughter weight at just six to eight weeks old. 228 Wildcat Rd One of the questions I get asked most often is, how do I keep chickens warm in... read more. I am not a fan of the cold. They may not be the brightest pets, but they are so much more than just dumb birds. There are only a few things that are critical to a backyard flock in cold temperatures: access to water, feed and a dry, draft-free coop. Our chickens are Red Leghorns that we raised from chicks. Most breeds sold in Canada are winter hardy. It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges. Sex links, Chanteclers, Barred Rocks and Orpingtons are few worth mentioning. In practical terms, there isn't much ROI on chickens in the winter. I use an LED bar from home hardware that I have on a timer that turns on at 8am and shuts off at 8pm. M3J 2N5. I … In order to lay eggs consistently, they need 16 hours of sunlight, so in the winter we rarely get more than an egg or two a day from our twelve hens. Backyard Chicken Coops for Beginners. Adding a heat lamp or heater to a coop is a big no-no! I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Will they go outside? Chickens eat more during the winter, as they use more energy to keep warm. But I’ve talked to people from Canada and Alaska who kept their chickens in a coop with a run when it was -25 and their chickens survived just fine. 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