Poultry thrives when they are kept in optimal conditions. If you plan to keep chicken without spending so much money on energy consumption, you should consider finding alternative ways of keeping your chicken warm.
This is especially crucial for young chicks, which are more vulnerable to cold as they develop pneumonia and other related illnesses. The need to keep your chicken warm is more crucial during the winter season. This is when water easily freezes, and when chicken consumes frozen water, they tend to get illnesses that have high risks of death.
If you live in an area where water easily freezes, you should consider finding tricks that make the water warm. Some of the best solutions include:
1. Use an Old Tire to Capture the Sun’s Heat
During the day, the sun may shine bright. You can use the energy to keep your chicken warm later in the day. To achieve this, you need to use a black rubber tube or plastic. Make use of a tire without the wheel. Tubes are preferred because they are more durable compared to plastic. Also, get enough packing bubble wrap/ newspapers, as well as wooden blocks. Once you have your materials together, proceed as follows:
- The hollow part of the tire should be filled with the scrunched newspaper or packing bubbles. Fill the part that the tube usually goes in. Do not fill the middle part.
- The wooden blocks will then go into the middle part of the tire, lifting the rubber tube so that it is flush with the top of the tire.
- Fit the rubber tube into the tire making sure that it is large enough to fit the tire’s hollow part snugly. It should not be too small to leave some space between the inner circle and the tire.
- The water system should be set outside where there is enough sunlight and heat all day long.
- The tire’s black rubber will gather the heat and store it, keeping the water warm enough not to freeze.
While the water may not be warm, it will also not be cold to freezing point. The goal is to ensure that it is at the right temperature to keep your chicken alive.
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2. Keep the Coops Small
A small-sized structure is easier to keep warm for long. Ensure the birds have as little space as possible during winter, especially if they still get to go outside.
Cordon off a large space of the house if you must. Use materials that you would normally put up as nesting areas. Modify the coop by making it slant to one side. Adjust the roof inside and create a dropped ceiling which will hold up the heat.
3. Use Natural Lighting
While most people may ignore it, natural lighting is powerful not only for the chicken’s overall growth but also because it boosts temperature levels. Use plastic materials to insulate the windows.
Alternatively, use professional cling foil or cello tape to cover the window without blocking natural light in. The goal is to block the wind but keep the light. When properly tapped and utilized, these light can help keep the coop warm and cozy for the chicken.
4. Choose Natural Insulation Techniques
Find cheap materials that can be found in the environment to insulate the walls of the coop. You can stack hay bales, old rugs, or home improvement leftover materials such as insulation cardboards. Pad the walls of the coop in preparation for the cold weather. At night, lock the windows to prevent any chicken from pecking on the windows. Hang a few vegetables inside the coop in case any of the chicken needs something to peck on.
5. Use Mechanized Water Heaters
Solar power is cheap and always available. Think about creating a solar chicken coop heater, especially if you are rearing your bird off the grid. These are effective, especially when inflammable materials are not used. Consider a kerosene powered egg incubator that has been used for years in the Amish farms. Note that the coop should be well ventilated so that it can handle the amount of output fumes that will be emitted.
6. Keep the Chicken Well Hydrated
Chicken needs to drink water to regulate its temperature. Make sure that the water they drink is at the right temperature levels. This can be difficult to ascertain, especially during cold months like in winter, where water freezes. You can keep the water from freezing by exposing one of the dishes outside where it is exposed to sunlight and the other one inside near the heat source. Consider buying insulated dishes such as a black rubber water dish that retains heat and keeps the water liquid for longer.
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7. Feed the Chicken with Hot Feeds
You can start by giving them hot oatmeal to help boost their metabolic heat. The chicken will burn a lot of heat during winter as a way of keeping themselves warm. You can also substitute it with hot potatoes. Including healthy fats such as those rich in omega 3 and coconut oil is also a great way to keep the chicken insulated. Mixing feeds properly can easily help boost energy levels and, in turn, supports heat production.
Add a high-quality protein source in their feeds during the day, but include cracked corn to boost their night-time energy levels. The more the chicken feed, the higher the chances of generating internal heat, thus keeping themselves warm and avoiding infections or sicknesses that are related to cold weather.
Rearing chicken for commercial and home use can be a challenge if you do not know how to handle the cold weather season. Fortunately, with a few tricks and locally available resources in your home, it is possible to support the growth of healthy chicken all year round. Invest in materials that keep their coop insulated during winter periods. Feed them with enriched foods, and work on keeping the water’s temperature right for them to drink.