How chicks keep it cool in the winter
The short days, and even colder nights, are lingering now with winter at our door. Luckily for us, we can curl up by the fireplace, throw on a blanket, and be toasty. Obviously this isn’t the case for (most) animals. Have you ever wondered how chickens keep warm in the winter months? In this post, I’ll be explaining how farmers help these small dainty birds stay warm in the winter.
One of the immediate ideas that tends to come to mind is to put a space heater in the chicken coop. But this isn’t always the best option as heaters run the risk of causing a fire. Instead, some farmers let their chickens naturally find heat by huddling together to keep warm. Chickens have the natural ability to keep themselves warm. They’ll tend to group together and give off heat by rubbing up against each other. It has been reported that chickens can do just fine in frigid conditions – even in temperatures below 0 degrees.
The old saying of adding an extra layer in the winter months also applies to chickens. When chickens eat a little extra in the evening, they provide themselves more warmth through digestion – keeping their body temperatures at a safe level. The higher their diet is in protein, the warmer they are. In addition to a high protein diet, chickens who have vitamin supplements in their feed are more likely to have stronger bones, keeping them equipped for winter.
There are certain kinds of chickens that are more susceptible to the colder climate. These include Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, and Russian Orloffs, to name a few.
A symptom of an overheated chicken is panting. The chicken will pant to cool itself and lower its body temperature. An overheated chicken will also have little to no appetite, as digestion naturally produces heat.
Are you a small farmer or do you have a backyard flock?