Do your chickens wear sweaters?
Mine don’t, although I have to admit the pictures I’ve seen of sweatered hens are pretty cute. Alas, knitting is one area where my craftiness fails me, so I don’t see myself creating outerwear for my flock anytime soon.
But it brings us to an important topic– how exactly does one keep a chicken warm in the winter?
When I first got my chickens, I assumed they needed supplemental heat anytime the thermometer dipped below freezing. I mean, I was cold, so they obviously were too, right?
There’s actually a bit of debate surrounding the whole topic of chickens and heat lamps (not a surprise, because there seems to be debate surrounding everything these days…), so let’s look at this a bit closer.
Why do People Use Heat Lamps for Chickens?
Most people follow the same thought pattern I did: If I’m cold, my chickens must be cold too. Being the kind-hearted homesteaders we are, we want to make our animals as comfortable as possible. This usually means installing a heat lamp or two to provide extra warmth on those chilly days.
I did this for a while, mostly because I assumed it was the “right” thing to do–especially considering we homestead in Wyoming where it’s freeeezing cold during the winter months.
But as I did more research and made more observations, I started to question as to whether this was actually correct…
Why Heat Lamps can be a Problem
First off, thinking an animal must be cold, just because we are cold, is a faulty assumption.
Chickens have feathers. Cows and goats have layers of winter hair. We don’t. Most all animals are designed to withstand weather conditions without any help from us humans. It can be hard for us to accept, but it’s true.… [Continue Reading]