Big Lake, Alaska News, Weather, Events, And More

Welcome to The Big Lake Times
Saturday, March 24 2018 @ 07:38 AM AKDT

Winter Care for Chickens

Pets and AnimalsFrom the Alaska DEC

Alaska’s cold winters can have a negative impact on the health and egg-laying capacity of your flock, so it is important to ensure your chickens are warm and comfortable all winter long. Below are a few tips from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service. Read the full article about how to keep laying hens productive during the winter months:


*Provide fourteen to sixteen hours of light per day for your laying hens.


* Provide two to three square feet of floor space per bird.

Roosting Space

*Provide at least six to eight inches of linear roost space per hen.


*There needs to be an exchange of air for laying hens to be healthy. If the smell of ammonia is evident, adequate ventilation is lacking.

Check for Drafts

*Check for drafts at high points, low points, and at every corner.


*Keep all areas of the pen clean. Remove soiled feed and dirty water immediately. Keep feeders, roosts, nests and waterers clean. Keep bedding dry and clean.


*Provide adequate warmth for the birds. This can be accomplished through insulating the floors, walls and ceiling with fiberglass matting or Styrofoam panels. Consider supplemental heat. Try to maintain a temperature of at least 40°F. Be aware of any potential fire hazards when using heaters and heat lamps.


*Birds typically need extra feed in cold and freezing temperatures.


*Provide ample clean water. Keep water from freezing using electric heaters, warm bricks placed inside the watering container, or frequent changing.


* Remove sick, weak, or unproductive birds from the flock.


*Provide adequate nest boxes (one nest box per five hens) and keep bedding inside the nest box clean and dry.

Rodent Control

*Keep rodents out by using traps or poisons placed strategically in bait stations. Keep the traps and poisons away from the birds and pets. (NOTE: Chickens eat rodents, so avoid poisons-Ed)

Egg Collection

*Collect eggs at least twice each day or more frequently to prevent eggs from freezing.


*Birds can get frostbite on extremities (combs, wattles, and toes). Birds should be kept from walking on snow and ice. To help prevent frostbite in small flocks, apply petroleum jelly to wattles and combs.

Observe Birds

*Take time to observe your birds each day. Watch the birds’ behavior. Handle a random sample of birds to check combs, feet, toes, eyes, legs color, vent size, and general appearance. When handling, look for signs of external parasites, and check body condition and weight.

Dust Bath

* A dust bath of a shallow wood or metal box with three to four inches of clean sand, wood ash or a mix of sand and wood ash can help deter external parasites and can provide comfort to hens.

Winter Biosecurity

*Designate and use specific chore clothing and footwear when feeding, caring for and handling poultry. Keep visitors out of your poultry house/pen.

Predator Pressures

*The winter season can bring about increased predator pressure. Make sure your henhouse or coop is secure so as to prevent entry by predators.

Stay Connected: Subscribe to The Big Lake Times Newsfeed for free to stay on top of breaking stories, Like The Big Lake Times on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter

Story Options

Winter Care for Chickens | 0 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.