Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chickens in the Cold

Our flock of chickens has been living here for so many generations that they've adapted pretty well to the cold.  When we first got chickens, and we only had a few of them, we used to box them up into the nesting boxes on cold nights, with only enough space for each chicken to sit.  They were able to keep this small space warm with their body heat and would be quite cozy in the morning when we let them out.

Now, we have too many chickens for this to be practical, but they seem to be fine as long as they have protection from the elements and (of course) lots of food. 

The two body parts that are most vulnerable to frost bite on a chicken are the comb and the feet.  We protect their feet by giving them a thick layer of dry hay to scratch and lie in.  As for the combs, well, roosters have one of two types of comb.  Some have tall combs that are really easily frozen and some have short, wide combs that are less susceptible.  We only keep the roosters with the short combs for breeding.
A rooster with a short comb (but some frost damage on his feet)

1 comment:

  1. looks like it is much colder there than here..the first year we had chickens I was worried about the cold but as long as they are dry they are usually fine. I also heard that a wider roost for the birds can help prevent feet frostbite