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Keeping chickens in the garden: Important tips on how to prepare your poultry for the winter and what winter care is necessary!

Winter is a challenge for any animal, and for chickens it is no different. If you keep chickens in the garden, you should make sure that your poultry is well taken care of. Your chickens will appreciate that and make your life easier. Regardless of the time of year, it is important to create the optimal conditions for your animals. Even if they are not producing eggs at the moment, if you take care of them, they will start the new laying season in the best condition. How to prepare your poultry for winter, read on!

The ventilation of the coop is important

Coop ventilation is crucial for your poultry all year round

Coop ventilation is crucial for your poultry throughout the year. So don’t be tempted to plug every hole in the coop, believing that this will keep the birds warm when the wild weather arrives. Because of the shorter daylight hours, chickens stay in the coop longer, but even during this time they need airflow through the coop. When birds are roosting, they produce a lot of moisture, and when this condenses on the walls and ceiling of the coop, it creates a cold and damp climate that is far from ideal for your birds.

Keeping chickens in the garden - Important tips on how to prepare your poultry for the winter.

Make any repairs to the house to prevent drafts, as they can kill birds, but make sure the warm air can escape and fresh air can enter. Check the entry points . Make sure doors, hatches and other openings can be closed tightly and remain closed. Cover ventilated areas. Air inlets and outlets should be covered with sturdy wire or mesh to deter predators and pests.

Bedding should be sufficiently deep

A deep layer of litter helps insulate the floor and can help keep the coop warmer

A deep layer of bedding helps insulate the floor and can help keep the barn warmer in the winter. Wet areas of bedding should be removed to prevent ammonia and moisture buildup, but dry bedding can be left in during the winter and cleaned in the spring. Don’t be tempted to stuff the house full of straw, thinking it will make a cozy house.

Keeping chickens in the garden tips for the winter


Straw may look clean and dry, but it is not particularly absorbent and has a habit of “sweating” when soiled with feces or muddy feet. This can quickly lead to fungal infections, and the resulting spores can cause respiratory disease in the chickens. If possible, it is far better to use shavings or other biodegradable litter products on the market.

Keeping chickens in the garden: regular mucking out.

According to experts, chickens typically drink about one liter of water for every 0.5 kg of feed they eat

Mucking out should be done at least once a week, but in winter you may need to increase the frequency because the birds stay in the coop longer (and therefore soil the litter more). If you are unable to increase the frequency of cleaning, try a short “pile pick” each morning or place a sheet of newspaper under the perch that you can remove when you let the birds out each day. This will extend the life of the litter and help keep the house clean.

Provide food and water properly

A handful of corn or other slow burning grain, provides additional energy


Disinfect the feed and water troughs every week with a good quality antibacterial agent or disinfectant, but always rinse them well and dry them before filling them again. It’s a good idea to allow the chickens free access to feed during the day, rather than measuring out a set amount, as the amount of feed will vary depending on the weather.

If you use mash instead of a pellet mix feed, you can mix it with a little warm water in the morning, which is appreciated by the chickens. Be sure to remove the feed at night if you are feeding outdoors, otherwise there is a risk of attracting vermin. A handful of corn or other “slow-burning” grain given as scratch feed about an hour before bedtime will provide extra energy to keep the birds warm during the night.

Consider supplementing their diet with high-energy feeds such as grains and oilseeds – corn, meal, sunflower seeds, etc. – to provide additional energy. However, watch for excess energy that can lead to feather pecking. If this is the case, you should stop supplemental feeding and go back to a balanced complete feed. You may also consider giving your chickens plant material – leafy hay, root vegetables, squash, etc. – to keep them active throughout the day.

Because of the shorter daylight hours, chickens stay indoors longer

According to experts, chickens typically drink about one liter of water for every 0.5 kg of feed they eat. Water is important for healthy digestion, temperature regulation and egg production. Bring waterers indoors at night or empty them completely. It’s much easier to fill an empty feeder in the morning than to walk around with a kettle of boiling water trying to thaw a solid feeder – plus, if there’s a really hard freeze, there’s a good chance the feeder will be broken by the expanding ice.

Keeping chickens in the garden: lighting the coop.

Keeping chickens in the garden - Lighting is important for egg production

Lighting is important for egg production. Chickens usually lay eggs when the days are long in the spring and summer. When there is less daylight in the fall, they stop laying eggs. To keep your chickens laying eggs in the fall and winter, you need to provide at least 14 hours of light per day and supplement daylight with artificial light.

If the light bulbs you use are a heat source, you may need to leave them on throughout the day. Experts suggest using a 40-watt bulb with a reflector mounted three feet off the ground to provide enough light for a 200-square-foot area.

Provide exercise and entertainment

If you keep chickens in the garden, you know that they can get bored in the winter just like humans do

If you keep chickens in the garden, you know that just like humans, they can get a little bored and loopy in the winter. A cabbage head on a string in the coop seems to be especially appealing to them. They pick at it like crazy as it sways back and forth. Try this simple trick to keep your chickens happy.

Sleeping places for all above ground

Keeping chickens in the garden - Make sure all the chickens have enough space to settle comfortably

Chickens fold up and fluff themselves up. This keeps them warm. It also keeps them off the cold ground – roosting space should be at least three feet above ground. So make sure all the chickens have enough room to settle comfortably. Check on them with a flashlight in the evening – if a bird is lying on the ground, there is not enough space.

If you keep chickens in the garden, you should make sure that your poultry is well taken care of.