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Fall Project Guide - Tractor Supply Co.

Fall Project Guide - Prepare Your Coop for Winter

Now is the time to get your chicken coop prepared for cold weather and we have everything you’ll need.

Check the Condition of the Coop

  • Check for holes in the siding and floors
  • Make sure the roof is in good condition
  • Keep predators out using hardware cloth


When you need Supplemental Heat

  • If temperatures consistently drop to severe levels
  • Use a heat lamp, suited for outdoor use and well grounded


Insulate the Entire Coop

  • Insulated walls, roof and floor are necessary in extreme cold weather
  • Properly ventilate the coop to allow moisture to escape
  • Moisture creates more problems than cold temperatures


Fresh Water is Essential

  • Use heated water dishes or freeze-free waterers designed for chickens
  • You can also use additional waterers and rotate fresh water with frozen


Provide them Plenty of Food

  • Chickens keep themselves warm in cold weather, but need good feed to burn calories and stay warm
  • Consider increasing the amount of feed you would normally provide


Consider Supplemental Lighting

  • Adding artificial light during the day may help egg production by providing more light to make up for winter’s short daylight hours

More Information about Winter Care for Chickens


How To Prepare Your Chickens For Winter

With a few easy steps, keeping your chickens healthy during the winter can be accomplished and may even reward you with egg-production year-round. When preparing your chickens for cold weather, some areas to consider include lighting, heating, proper air flow in their coop, water and feedings.

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Do I Need Heat in the Coop?

If you don't have a roof on your chicken run, you might want to consider adding one, at least for the winter. (In summer, it will be a good source of shade, too!)

To create a wind and weather break, add construction-grade plastic sheeting around turn-out areas. This serves several purposes. It will keep out wind, rain and snow which will also help keep the area dry. If the ground is dry and there's no snow on it, chickens are happier to go outside of the coop. It also makes one less area for you to shovel! It is a good idea to ventilate though, so be sure to leave some small areas at the top of the turn out for fresh air to get in, without compromising the integrity of your cover!

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Keep a Healthy Winter Chicken Coop

When temperatures plummet in winter, it’s imperative to provide your chickens with sufficient shelter from the weather. Even with cold temperatures, a henhouse must provide adequate ventilation. People commonly make the mistake of insulating the coop to a point that limits air circulation. With no air movement, humidity builds up inside the coop, which can lead to frostbite on chickens’ fleshy parts — combs or wattles.

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Winter Feeding for Chickens — More!

We've already heard that chickens need more feed to keep warm in the winter. Now more details!

Everyone needs to eat for energy. We need energy for everything — from blinking our eyes to running a marathon. Even sleeping requires energy! Chickens need additional energy in winter to stay warm, so the amount of food offered needs to be increased. Heat created in the process of digestion helps warm birds from the inside out. Chickens should have access to feed throughout the day. However, once they roost at night, birds typically will not eat anymore until the next day. You may need to experiment to determine what the ideal amount of feed to offer each day is so that you end up with very little left over. Keep in mind that the colder it gets, the more chickens will eat, so you may need to make adjustments throughout the season.

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