We are having an unseasonably warm November and December is shaping up to be that way as well. However, we do live in Minnesota, so we know the cold will eventually come. One question I get asked quite often is, “How do you keep your chickens warm in the winter?”
Chickens are created with a built-in down coat…all year round! That means that they actually have an easier time staying warm in the winter as opposed to staying cool in the summer. If your chickens are mature and fully feathered, they typically don’t need extra heat such as heat lamps, heaters, etc. If not, that’s a different story and they should have a heat source. Read my blog on How to Prepare your Coop for Winter to learn how to safely incorporate heat sources for your girls.
However, when you live in a part of the country where temps can get well below zero, there are a few things we can do to help our flocks out to make sure they’re staying comfortable. One of these things is to feed them cracked corn. You can find plain cracked corn, there’s also cracked corn in most scratch, and Strong Animals Chicken Essentials has cracked corn in Happy Tract and Golden Graze.
Happy Tract promotes digestive health and immunity in your flock. It contains oregano, cinnamon and thyme essential oils, prebiotics, multi-grains, cracked corn and sunflower seed.
Available in 5 lb. resealable pouch
Promotes digestive health
Contains essential oils and prebiotics
Oyster shells support egg quality
Marigold petals for golden yolks
Flaxseed for Omega-3 fatty acids
Also available in 5 lb. resealable pouch.
WHY DOES CRACKED CORN WORK?
Cracked corn has a higher carbohydrate count, so chickens need to work harder to digest it. When their bodies work hard, they obviously stay warmer. It works great to give them some cracked corn before they head to bed, so they can digest as they sleep. As with any treat/snack that’s not chicken food, you need to provide grit so they’re able to digest. And, remember, treats and snacks should make up a small percentage of a chicken’s diet. They can’t be the main source of nutrition as they don’t have the proper nutrients as a whole that chickens need to stay healthy.
But, if you see the temps dropping, go ahead and give them some cracked corn! It will help them stay comfortable as the temps get cooler.
Until next time,
–The Wing Lady