Many people assume that chickens will not lay eggs during the winter months because they are simply too cold. In many cases this is true. The chickens need the energy they would normally use to produce eggs to stay warm and alive. However, you can take the burden off your backyard chickens by keeping them warm so they can save their energy for egg production. Our team at Greenwood Hardware has everything you need to keep your chickens warm this winter!
One of the most popular methods of providing warmth is with a heat lamp in the coop. Go with an infrared heat lamp instead of the clear, bright bulbs. The red lamps are hotter and the light is not quite as intrusive. Your chickens need time to rest at night, but they also need heat. The light emitted from the red lamps is much easier on the chicken’s resting habits.
Use a timer to turn your light off and on. Chickens need about 14 hours of light to maintain an egg production cycle. During the winter months, you need to compensate with the short days by adding light. The red lamp will work fine. Set the lamp to turn on at dusk and stay on through the night until about 8 in the morning. If temperatures are below freezing, you may need to leave the light on 24 hours to keep the chickens warm and the water from freezing.
A deep litter method is another common way to keep chickens warm. You can use this in combination with your heat lamp. Add several layers of pine shavings to the floor of the coop. This will act as insulation. It also makes it much easier for cleaning the coop. You won’t have to do it as often when you use a deep litter method.
Make sure you have enough chickens for your coop size! If you have a large coop but only two chickens, you are doing your chickens a disservice. Chickens produce a lot of body heat. During the cold nights, they will roost close together to stay warm. If you have a large coop, consider blocking off a portion that will be used for the chickens to roost in at night.
You can keep your chickens happy and healthy and laying eggs all winter by ensuring they are nice and warm. If there is snow on the ground, try to shovel out an area where they can scratch for food. Scratching is crucial to egg production! Head on into Greenwood Hardware and pick up the supplies you need to keep your chickens warm this winter. Come on in, or contact us online.