5 Ways to Keep Your Chickens Healthy in the Winter


As the chill of winter continues, we all stay prepared to stay warm and brace the cold with furnaces, stoves, blankets, and more. The winter months can be brutal and being prepared is essential!

Remember to do the same for any animals you live with too, especially your chickens! As the temperatures continue to drop and the winds become colder and drier, it’s important to keep your chickens comfortable during these freezing months.

Here are a few tips on keeping your feathered friends happy and healthy this season:

1. Make The Coop Cozy

Humans love coziness in their own homes — your chickens aren’t any different! Make sure to fix anything that could make your chickens unhappy in their coops. Repair leaks and cracks, make sure to get rid of any pests lurking in the coops, and ensure the temperature isn’t too hot or cold. If windows don’t manage to close completely, that’s perfectly fine. Too much heat kept in the coop will encourage mold to grow, and will make your chickens sick with respiratory diseases. The coop doesn’t have to be airtight!

2. Bring A Heat Lamp to the Coop

Some chicken owners swear by this method to keep chickens happy and toasty throughout the winter months. The heat and warmth encourage relaxation to prevent stressed out chickens. The heat lamp will really help your chickens enjoy the winter and not be bothered by the snow and wind!

3. Add Karo Syrup or Sugar to Water

Karo Syrup or sugar, when added to the chickens’ water, helps create perky and excitable chickens during the never-ending winter. For chicks, the ratio should be one part sugar and two parts water. For waterfowl, one part sugar and three parts water. Chickens and smaller birds also like their water to be a bit warmer during cold weather as well.

4. Make a Deep Litter for Warmth

This method will naturally help keep your chickens warm without exerting too much extra energy. Throughout spring, summer, and fall you’re essentially letting your chicken manure decompose and warm up with the nutrients on the floor. The litter should be made out of sawdust, pine shavings, dry leaves, hay, and other shavings. These microbes are actually beneficial for your chickens — think of them as probiotics.

5. Use Metal Containers

During the winter, rats and other invaders will try to come in and take away space and warmth from your chickens. They are more likely to come if the food is more readily available to them. Keep your chicken feed and water in metal containers so they have a more difficult time getting in.

Big R also has some great heat lamps you can buy for your chickens to keep them warm this winter. Visit the store today!

About Big R

Bill and Pat Crabtree originated the Illinois Big R Stores in 1964 opening the first store in Watseka, Illinois. To date 20 stores have been opened in Illinois and Indiana; 2 stores in Ohio and 1 store in Wisconsin and we are still proud to be family-owned and operated. Our 12 Illinois stores are located in Watseka, Gibson City, Danville, Tilton, Pontiac, Morris, Pekin, Washington, Rochelle, Homer Glen, Streator and McHenry. Our 8 Indiana stores are located in Warsaw, 2 locations in Elkhart, Rochester, Wabash, Crawfordsville, Michigan City, and Marion. Our 2 stores in Ohio are located in Lima and Findlay. And 1 location in Wisconsin in Burlington. The offices and warehouses for Big R remain in Watseka, IL. Farm and Ranch store owners in the western states started the Big R brand name; they chose the name "Big R" to convey the "Ranch" identity. The Big R group is now comprised of 12 independent owners with store locations throughout the U.S. They all are members of Mid-States Distributing Company of St. Paul, MN. The Mid-States Coop has over 600 stores throughout the United States and Canada.