Chickens are a rather low maintenance animal, in my opinion. Caring for your chickens in the winter doesn’t require much effort, just a little foresight.
Chickens need water in the winter still.
You will want to keep it from freezing as much as possible. My affiliate partner, Amazon, sells these really cool heated waterers that work great. I have an extension cord running to our coop to have this plugged in, and have never had a problem with it in 7 years. Otherwise, you could go outside every hour or so, and dump warm water to break any layer of ice off the top.
Chickens need food in the winter still.
With our ground frozen and covered over with snow and ice, scratching for bugs just isn’t going to happen for them. We go through a 50lb bag of feed every 10 days or so during the Spring thru the Fall, but in the winter, usage can up to 2 50lb bags per week. They still need grit, so we make sure to add that to their feed (it’s sold separately at our farm store) and we will also add a bag of oyster shells (also sold separately, but you can purchase it from my affiliate parnter) We add 1/4 bag each per 50lb bag of feed, and mix it all together.
Chickens need entertainment in the winter.
Ours watch youtube and netflix. Just kidding…Without being able to really scratch at the ground, chickens can get bored. So, we hang a head of cabbage where they can peck at it, or you can add what’s known as a “flock block” from my affiliate partner. This keeps them pecking at that, vs. each other. It’s full of treats and one of those blocks lasts our flock of 20 girls the entire winter.
Chickens need to be draft free.
Their feathers can handle wind, rain and cold, but their coop still needs to be draft free, especially at night. We close ours up at night, but there is still some air coming through that gives them fresh air. It just doesn’t blow directly on the roosting area.
Chickens need a certain number of daylight hours to keep laying.
In the shorter winter months, they may stop laying and/or molt. You can see why we choose to add an artificial light to our coop here. It’s fairly simple to do, just add a timer, and you don’t have to mess with it.