How to prepare a chicken coop for Winter

If you are worried about how your much-loved chickens will handle the winter months we have both good news and some advice. Firstly, chickens are hardy, far hardier than we give them credit for and they will acclimatise to the winter months without too much intervention from yourself. That said, there are some checks and precautions you can take to make sure you have prepared your chicken coop for winter as well as giving your chickens as much comfort as possible.

Why should you prepare your coop for winter?

Just like your home, your chicken's coop will become their safe haven over the winter months. Ensuring that you have invested some time into making sure it is ready for the colder months will pay off in the long term. Anyone who values their brood as much loved family members will want to make sure that everything they need is prepared for winter to avoid their birds becoming unhappy or uncomfortable.

Benefits of thoroughly maintaining your chicken coop.

- Your bird's health is undoubtedly a priority over the winter months, and by investing some time late in autumn you can help ward off winter illnesses in your flock.
- You have likely invested both time and money into your pet chicken brood and their home and not taking the time to run through some checks might end up costing you in the long run. We suggest a thorough chicken coop check and maintenance session at least once a year.
- Egg production, one of my favourite perks of chicken keeping is the fresh eggs...I don't want to see this drop off any more than necessary in Winter.

How to prepare and protect your chicken coop in winter.

Here's our checklist for the things you should be looking closely for when preparing a chicken coop for winter in the U.K, once these are completed you can rest safe in the knowledge your bird should be as comfortable as possible throughout winter.

- Your coop will need emptying thoroughly, we think this is a great time to do a deep clean. The main purpose of this exercise is to check the wooden frame and panels for any damage or areas that might need some attention. If you spot any areas that appear damaged they may need repairing, this is especially important if the area will let rain and wind in.

- Taking the time to wash, dry and apply a water-based preservative if your coop is 2+ years old is highly recommended; our coops come pre-treated but after 2 winters this should be done annually. This process will ensure your chicken coop will last for years, preventing issues caused by weather is far better than having to spend money repairing it instead.

- Whilst it might seem counterproductive to allow ventilation it remains a critical element of your chicken's health. Our Chicken Coops all have ventilation holes positioned high in the coop to allow a natural flow of air above your chickens, when buying or building a coop you should check these are positioned so your birds won't get an icy flow of air whilst they are roosting. Even during winter, it is important fresh, dry air can move through the coop, if this isn't provided the air can become damp and the bedding mouldy.

- Provide extra bedding, this might seem fairly obvious but some extra, high-quality bedding wouldn't go amiss. It's also worth pointing out that Chickens will often be reluctant to walk on the frosted or snowy ground much below -7 degrees, and adding hay or straw to their run might help them to want to stretch their legs.

Final home comforts to think about for your chicken coop in winter.

Your chickens will naturally climatise to the colder months, they are hardy and well-equipped to handle frost and snow, but they will definitely appreciate you doing the following;

- Increasing their food, they'll be burning up more energy to keep warm, a nightly top-up before bed will help fire up their energy stores.

- Make sure their water supply remains frost free, they will need access to it even in the coldest months.

- Stockpile food and bedding so irrespective of supply, delivery services or any other outside factor you can feed them.

- Your birds will be spending more time huddled together but it's important to provide some entertainment when they do venture out, try hanging a cabbage or treat feeder from their run or fitting a perch that hangs and swings to give them something to keep them moving.

Please get in touch with any questions;