Jan 5/2010
Chickens in the winter time!

Chickens can seem quite fragile and without survival characteristics, but that is not totally true. They have some characteristics that allow them to pull through and survive harsh weather conditions. These traitsĀ  depend on the chicken species, so its important to keep this in mind if you are raising chickens in colder norther climates. We wondered about our chickens in the snow and coldĀ  last winter and whether we should put the heat lamp back in the coop…would the freezing nights doom our little flock and leave them shivering through the night?? Through a little research we learned that providing an unnatural heat source can leave them susceptible to catching a cold or even freezing. They are best left to their own devices and can adapt to difficult weather conditions as their body has a changing metabolism.

In times of extreme cold weather and harsh weather conditions there are a couple of precautions that may be taken so the lives of your chicken will not be in danger:

1. Sometimes, low temperatures cause the comb (the fleshy growth on the top of the head) or the wattle(located under the chin) to have frostbite. You can rub a natural protective cream (most recommended are vegetable (castor – un-petroleum) jelly and zinc) on those places from time to time.

2.*very important. Make sure the water supply is not frozen. Depriving chickens of water can seriously damage their health. Its also important to make sure the water does not have impurities and you should clean the water containers often. Chickens can get diseases from water impurities. In order to keep the water flowing, set up a water heater or get the water from inside the house and bring it fresh to the chickens in the morning.

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