Most chickens can endure cold weather as long as they have shelter, food, and water. A chicken’s feathers trap in body heat and a chicken will cover its head with its wings to keep its bare skin warm. As a child I watched by neighbor’s chickens scratch through the snow under our birdfeeder or shrubs. Chickens don’t mind the snow as long as they have a warmer spot to go to when temperature dip below freezing. Some people recommend a heating lamp inside the coop, but other people feel that it can be a fire hazard. We skipped the lamp because we want our chickens to adapt to the decreasing temperatures. Instead of a heat source, we added more bedding and cleaned the bedding more regularly.
|Even chickens like to jump in autumn leaf piles.|
The sneaky problem we were faced with was the freezing drinking water. On one surprising cold day, I was going to the coop to chip away ice every couple hours. That method won’t last long for a working family. Some companies sell heated dog water bowls, but our chickens are too messy for that idea. I think they like to poop in anything we don’t want them to. We have a large galvanized tub and mypetchicken.com sells a heater that goes under the water tub. That would work ideally, but it is more than we can afford right now. Eric bought heated electrical wire that wraps around the water container. So far everything is working fine.