Making the Hen House Winterproof

hen house surrounded by fog.
Light fog announces the winter.

Chickens are very robust animals. Thanks to their springs, they can withstand temperatures well below minus ten degrees celsius. And yet we can make their life a little easier with a winterproof hen house at low temperatures.

Naturally, in winter you will find less eggs in the laying nests than in summer. Winter is a chicken’s resting period, therefore they lay fewer eggs. The energy is put into protection against the cold.

If you want your hens to lay eggs in winter, too, you might want to think about installing a light bulb inside the stable. They gain energy from the additional light.

Protection from this cold is provided above all by a winterproof hen house. Therefore we have put together a few tips for you, with which you can prepare your hen house and also your chickens for the cold season.

Some chickens are inside the hen house warming each other in the winter.
In cold weather, chickens like to slide tightly together and warm each other up.

As we humans know, there is a time when we celebrate our spring cleaning. We should do the same with our hen house in autumn.

Following you will find our exclusive tips to make your hen house winterproof and keep your chickens warm in winter.

Tip #1: Clean in Time

The best time to start with the basic cleaning is on the last beautiful days of the year and before the permanent cold and rain – this keeps the mood at work high.

Regular cleaning of the hen house, irrespective of making it winterproof, helps to maintain a certain level of hygiene. In addition, you will have less to do before winter.

You can do the following things:

  • Thoroughly, clean the hen house and re-calcify, if necessary. A coating of lime milk reduces germs and closes loopholes for parasites.
  • Renew litter and if necessary the sand bath.
  • Pay attention to the place for drinking water in new stables. Place the drinking water inside the hen house to prevent the water from freezing.
Filthy entrance of the wooden hen house.
Careful cleaning prepares the chicken house for the winter.

Tip #2: Check for Defects

Completely check the inside and outside of the hen house to make sure that the material of your hen house will survive this winter.

The following points can help you here:

  • Check climate factors: Draft and humidity
    Check the hen house for large holes and cracks to avoid excessive draughts. Nevertheless, the air should circulate in a chicken coop and there must be ventilation. After all, moisture is much harder for a chicken to tolerate than draughts. How strong the ventilation must be depends on the design of the barn and cannot be answered across the board.
    Our tip: In case of uncertainty, a hygrometer in the stable to measure the moisture in the vicinity of the perch will help. It should preferably be between 60% and 80%.
  • Check the construction of the hen house for damage
    Can all the important elements, such as roof and outer wall withstand strong wind, rain and above all snow? Are there holes in the roof?
  • Chicken fence control
    The fence should be removed and checked at regular intervals. Is there any wire that carries a risk of injury? Is the chicken fence hole-free? For electric fences: Does the fence have too much contact with the ground or plants? Does the power supply still work properly?

Tip #3: Food and Care for the Chickens

Beautiful chicken with comb.
Before winter you can spoil your chickens a bit.

A well-fed chicken will naturally survive the winter better than an emaciated chicken.

An extra portion of multi-worms, warm porridge, fresh vegetables and extra corn, lentils and peas can’t hurt. A little fattening will do them good. The fat layer of the chicken contributes, besides the feathers of course, to the protection against the cold. So make the portions of food a bit more generous at this time of the year.

But even with all the tips and good food, chickens sometimes suffer frostbite during severe cold spells. Dark to black spots appear on the comb or gills. This should be avoided in any case. Nevertheless, please do not panic. If it does happen, the chickens will survive.

If frostbite occurs more than once on your chickens, although they are in the barn, you should check and improve the insulation of the hen house.

It is also helpful to get in touch with experienced chicken farmer in your area. Surely they know many more tips and tricks to get the henhouse winterproof.

We wish you good luck and a nice winter with your chickens!

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