Chicken Care

Top 10 Tips for Keeping Chickens in Winter

Healthy chickens are quite hardy during a typical UK winter, even so, it pays to have some knowledge on caring for chickens during the colder months. Here are my tops tips for keeping your feathery friends happy:

  1. Combs and wattles are susceptible to frost bite damage during freezing weather, smear with Vaseline to prevent this from happening.
  2. Pieces of carpet or an old duvet on top of the hen-house roof will stop heat escaping. Avoid covering ventilation holes and make sure ventilation is above head height. Remove before the onset of spring to avoid harbouring red mite.
  3. Check drinkers regularly during very cold weather, they’re likely to freeze quickly.
  4. Feed warm wet mash in the morning, this can be done by mixing layers mash with slightly cooled boiled water into suitable bowls. I use large ceramic dog bowls. Check the temperature with your finger before feeding!
  5. Feed a little mixed corn as an afternoon treat before shutting your hens up for the night, this will provide a boost of energy to help keep them warm on a cold winters night.
  6. A deep layer of straw or bedding on the coop floor will insulate, make sure the coop is clear of droppings and watertight.
  7. Add Life-Guard to the drinking water, it’s a tonic and vitamin boost for chickens which is helpful during cold weather and the moult.
  8. Be extra vigilant with foxes, they’re likely to be hungry during difficult weather conditions making chickens more at risk than normal, even during the day.
  9. Create a covered/sheltered area where free ranging chickens can get out of the snow and cold biting wind, for example a tarp draped over a garden table or pallets secured together to form a shelter.
  10. There is always a risk of avian influenza (bird flu) with a high number of outbreaks in winter. For guidance visit the government website here If you only keep a small number of birds but would like to be kept updated on bird flu outbreaks register your flock here If you keep 50 birds or more you must register by law.

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