Tips on Caring and Feeding Chickens in The Winter
Oh, how I just love to go to the chicken coop at 5 am to break the ice in the chickens water bowl. Then go back every two hours in below 0 weather to fill up the water bowl just a little bit to keep them in water.
It is very important that chickens have a supply of water at all times in the winter. The air is dry, it will keep your chickens warm to drink and eat. They won’t eat if they can’t drink.
One tip I like to share is that chickens can take the cold and most don’t need a light at all unless they are small or show chickens. At least for heat. If they have a roost to stay on off the ground and live in an enclosed chicken coop. Out of the wind, rain and snow. They will be fine. They will huddle together to keep each other warm. We did make sure and add more hay to the floor of each coop as well as restuff the nesting boxes.
So what Hack is there to keeping your chickens water bowl from freezing this winter?
A Heated water bucket for chickens of course! We bought a couple and then I got smart over the summer and everytime we found a heated water bowl at a yard sale I picked one up for a song. But until you’re lucky enough to find one at a yard sale and make sure to test it out before you buy them. They do quit working sometimes. But so far all of ours has worked for years and years. Then I suggest you go buy one for your chickens for the winter so their water doesn’t freeze. I use a large bucket like this one in my largest chicken coop and a smaller dog type bowl for the smaller groups.
You will be so happy you did and so will your chickens.
Now we have a heated bowl for almost every cage. Let me tell you those things get nasty. Fair warning, when filling a big bucket with a lot of water in it, please for the love of Saint Peter, close your mouth. LOL!
Step away from the bucket…turn your head, then pour the water. Gross but it happens to the best of us. No matter how many times you clean it out they will still poop in it.
How To Care For Chickens In The Winter
I like to feed them more scratch grain, just a little each day besides the normal chicken food I give them, which is layer crumbles. I also will save up my egg shells for them to eat for calcium. Plus any left over bread or scraps that are safe for them to eat. I also bought a Flock Block at tractor supply and took a hammer to it and put those chunks in a metal food bowl pan for each of my chicken coops. Big bonus for my chickens is that I raised live mealworms this year for them and give them a little handful each day. I think those worms really helped keep my two baby chicks alive this winter. They love them!
Just make sure that you are feeding them more and keep the water from freezing. If you can’t afford to buy a heated water bucket then I love to use these bowls. I’ve had them forever for every animal. My horses are when I first bought them as I could give treats in the bowl that they didn’t break or bend when they stepped on them. I knew I would love them for all my animals and keep many for water bowls for my chickens now, I used them for my Goats too!
Because you can just flip it over, stomp on the bottom of the bowl and the ice comes out and your bowl is just fine. Then I only fill the bowl up about an inch, then go back every few hours and either break the ice or add a little layer more water until it’s full of ice again, then you can just flip it over and start the process again. Love them! Very sturdy and last for YEARS!
Heat Lamp Bulb For Chickens
You don’t need a heat bulb unless you have small chickens or show chickens. Hubby bought some really small Banty chickens and he got worried about them because they were really in a temporary cage where we blocked off part of one of the chicken coops so they could be inside but the wind could get to them during the day with the flap open. So he put in the heat lamp bulb for them. Ours was just a regular big bulb, but really you want a red light so they can sleep at night. I bet ours has bloodshot eyes from staying awake all night. :-)I think one of them might lose part of his comb from the below 0 weather before we got the heat lamp on him. But that happens sometimes. He will be fine, just not as pretty.
Best heated chicken waterer
I love to use these in my chicken coops in the winter, saves me so many trips to the coop when the weather is freezing outside and all I want to do is stay in by the fire. I think the Best heated Chicken Waterer is the ones that plug in, they are easy to clean up. The chickens don’t knock them over and they really work out great for us.
So really it’s just simple to keep your chickens water bowl from freezing. You have to go break the ice or invest some money and save yourself from a lot of work in the freezing weather and by them a heated chicken waterer.