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Keeping Chickens Healthy During the Winter Season

Updated: Feb 10

I'm not a winter person or cold weather of any kind person, which is why I loved the climate when we moved to South Carolina in 1973. We moved here during the first of December and found a beautiful sunny sky and 72-degree temperatures. We just left snow a foot deep in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, so I fell in love with South Carolina. It used to be that poultry keeping during the winter was not that much of a problem because the winters were usually mild and short. But I have to say the past 6 to 7 years have been awful! I miss those mild winters that I first fell in love with here in South Carolina!

But in the past seven years, our winters have been full of flash flooding, ice storms breaking limbs down and trees down over the power lines, over foot-deep snow that lasted for over two weeks! Which was very unusual here! Average winters in our area after having snow (no matter how deep) would be gone in a day or two due to the warm ground. Usually, our big problem in South Carolina has been the ice storms. Each winter, we thought, "Well, it won't be this way next year." But it seemed to get worse every year, so now we're over our denial. We will officially prepare our coops for the upcoming flash floods, ice storms, sleet, snow, and freezing temperatures that we've seen these past few years.

Using 1" X 2" slats of wood 8 foot long makes putting this plastic over this chicken run easy.
Wood slats size 1" X 2" X 8' with screws

We use six mil plastic over most of our coop's windows and some of the runs. It's simple to cut the plastic to size and screw strips of wood to secure the plastic over the windows or openings. This year we are slowly adding storm windows to some of the coops they fit. We found a multitude of used storm windows on Craigslist that were free for the taking. These people just wanted someone to haul them away, and we were delighted to oblige. But these windows will allow us to open them in the spring and shut them in the winter, very easy to winterize that way. 😉

The key to winterizing is to stop the wind from blowing in on your poultry. If given a shelter free of drafts, they will be able to maintain body heat. In the winter, you will see your chickens standing with their feathers puffed up to stay warm. They fluff their feathers out like a balloon to contain the warmth from their body heat inside this bubble.