hey there folks, this is Josh Stoney Ridge farmer, welcome back to the farm today we’re going to be talking about what you need to do in the winter time for your chickens, what’s good for them, what’s going to keep them laying, whether you need to have a heat lamp on them and all sorts of stuff
so hopefully, I’ll settle this argument with you and your wife as to whether you need to put some heat out there for the chickens and we’ll have some fun today on the farm.
all right guys you don’t have to keep a heat lamp on your chickens unless it gets down to sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures. you really don’t have to unless you have a very windy drafty coop
I’m sure some of you guys are having that argument with your husband or with your wife or with your kids . we got to keep the chickens warm
well the chickens grow feathers for the winter and grow feathers for the summer. That’s why they molt, they have a down comforter wrapping them up
let’s talk about food and water. now when it gets freezing or gets below freezing, your waterers are basically useless. Your standard chicken waters and what we use is just a pan.
that’s what we use. I prefer the metal pan but you just take the rubber pan out every day dump it on the ground, give it a stomp it knocks the ice out. you pour some fresh water in and you’re good to go
now for food it’s basically the same. you can see the design of our chicken coop here is probably different than any chicken coop.
it gets hot here in the summer and I wanted to have a nice draft through the top of the chicken coop. Now if it’s going to get below 15 degrees, we’ll wrap this top edge up in plastic and we’ll get a little closer shot for everything we have ease of access to our laying boxes right here
so basically we can just go right over here lift up and access our eggs. we’ll take you over and we’ll show you close-ups of all this stuff how our coop works and maybe to give you some good food for thought and good ideas for your queue
we built this coop. it’s probably about two years old so this is the coop we’ll open it up for you has 2×4 construction very simple. this door swings wide open so we can get in here
there’s a little board right here that slides up and down so I can pull a wheelbarrow up underneath the coop. I’ll show you so that board comes out and I can slide a wheelbarrow up underneath there and just rake out the poopy
now you don’t want to go cleaning your chicken coop out at this time of year. you want that poop to serve as insulation for the bottom of your coop so just keep adding and adding and adding with your straw bedding or your sawdust
what that does is help ensure that your chickens have a nice insulated bed on the bottom and actually the fermenting manure that’s underneath there can provide some heat for your chickens
so you’ll come down here inside the coop even though it has this open top. you’ll come down here and it’ll be ten degrees warmer in this coop just from the birds body heat and just from the manure in the bottom
basically we have a chain that’s nailed up to the ceiling to support our feeder and we have this little contraption you can buy at Lowe’s or Home Depot
basically it hangs the feeder. We want to hang the feeder up high enough to where the birds can’t kick a bunch of trash into it so this is how we do it. Take that little hook. We fill up our feeder and we hang it up right there on the hook very simple, very easy design.
These are nesting boxes and I’ve just stuffed all the nesting boxes and put another bed of litter in here for the chickens. we basically just use some cedar logs and we’ve got about twelve chickens in here the coop itself here is about a five by eight so we’re given the birds about forty square feet inside
so let’s talk a little bit about our outside run. this is an 8 by 8 so it’s 64 square feet so we’ve got about a five square feet for these birds. basically I just opened the door here and let them free-range around the garden
when it’s not so much snow on the ground, pretty simple they’re digging around in here. I just put this fresh litter in we always save our chicken scraps and I’ve got a big old tub of chicken scraps
we’re gonna dump in there. we save our chicken scraps. we give them to our birds are just great little garbage disposals to have around the farm . we got some Apple peelings here and some apple cores and some pickled beets
Chickens love the table scraps. They don’t know quite what to think right now but they love those table scraps so now you’ve seen the inside of the coop the lame boxes and the run that we have for the chickens will be retiring some of these birds pretty soon
one more feature of our chicken coop is lighting . we have motion lights mounted up on the chicken coop so if predators come at night they get the light shined on them and most of the time it just scares them away unless they’re about to starve to death, they’re not going to try to get in this chicken coop because they’re going to be exposed so the biggest thing you can do to a predator to keep them away is expose them same thing with your house too
the biggest thing you can do for a burglar to keep them away. it shot a bright light in their face. Now what we do is a little trick to keep our Birds laying all winter long is sprinkle a little touch of cayenne pepper over in there water
what that does is gives them a warm fuzzy feeling. they feel like it’s spring or summer time again and they start laying. if your birds aren’t laying, try it.I swear it works.
another thing you can do to keep your laying hens laying is to get a light with a timer on it and let it run for two hours after dark that works pretty good
generally if you get too bright of a light or you leave it on for too long you can throw the bird cycle off and you might get a few double yolk eggs. those are kind of cool too
now we’re here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina so our temperatures really don’t drop much below zero degrees Fahrenheit but if you live out west if you live in a mountainous region if you live up north Michigan or New Hampshire or something like that New England area, you may want to search out breeds that don’t have very large combs
meaning the red thing on the top of the head birds with a very tall coma very thick robust tall comb tend to get frostbite on their combs so you need to think about that
if you’re thinking about buying chickens or if you have chickens with a tall comb and you live in a northern area then you might want to keep a heat lamp in there in their coop. if it gets down below zero, our birds have been just fine
we’ve had the lowest temperature is negative too. they’ve been just fine. the coop normally stays 10 to 15 degrees warmer just from the body heat of the chickens
the biggest thing that you can do to protect your birds from the cold weather is to keep the wind out so if it gets really really cold, we’ll wrap this guy up in plastic right here or you can wrap your own chicken coop up in plastic
the biggest thing you can do to help your birds is to keep the wind off of them. if the temperature isn’t below 15 degrees Fahrenheit consistently I don’t think you need a heat lamp
I think the proofs in the pudding ,these birds have never had to have a heat lamp. they’ve done absolutely fantastic.