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Although Prescott and the surrounding areas are not known for aggressive winter weather, temperatures still regularly drop below freezing, and snow blankets the ground on occasion. For many chicken keepers, prepping their coops for the winter is important and will save your birds from the cold.
Here are a few easy tips to make sure you are keeping your chickens safe and healthy during the winter months:
1. Prep Your Coop
Much of prepping your chickens for Prescott winters is making sure your coop is free from drafts, well insulated, and clean. Make sure there are no large holes or gaps in your coop’s side and use insulation as necessary to provide temperate warmth for your chickens.
While bundling your coop up is a good start, make sure there is proper ventilation as to not cause ammonia build-up, respiratory issues, or mold. Place ventilation near the roof so the cold air does not flow right onto your birds. Additionally, create a vent that can be closed for evening cold spells, heavy rain, and snow.
2. Deep Litter Method
A great way to keep your coop cleaner as well as insulated, the deep litter method is a must-do. According to the Backyard Chicken Project, “The deep litter method works wonders for keeping the coop warm in winter. Stacking six inches (or more) of litter on the floor of the coop helps to insulate it. Deep litter also produces its own heat while it slowly composts over the course of the season.”
3. It’s All About the Roosts
By creating quality roosts, chickens are able to escape the cold ground and revert back to their natural instincts. The chickens will puff up their feathers and huddle together to provide warmth. Make sure the roosts are not in drafts and that the roosts are big enough
so that a chicken can completely cover their feet while sitting on it.
4. Preventing Frostbite
Although very unlikely in this area, it is good to know how to prevent frostbite in chickens. Some chicken’s large combs can be prone to frostbite, so it is important to protect them. Cover the combs in petroleum jelly to insulate them.
5. Get the Right Chickens for this Climate
Staying warm starts with the breed. Some chickens are able to regulate heat and protect themselves from the cold better. The chicken breeds that do the best in colder climates include Ameraucana, Australop, Brahma, Buff Orpington, Cochin, Delaware, Dominique, New Hampshire, Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, Speckled Sussex, and Wyandottes.
Stave off the cold and keep your chickens warm this winter!
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