How to Keep Your Chickens Healthy in Winter

It’s the middle of winter. You’re getting very few eggs from your flock, if any at all. They’re still in the stages of seasonal feather loss and feather growth, or they’re just finishing up their last molt.

With their reproductive systems taking a rest and your chickens shedding their coats, winter is an important time for them to rebuild their nutrient reserves and renew their feathers for the year.

For happy hens, try these seven simple tips for keeping chickens healthy in winter and helping them thrive all season.


Supplement your chickens’ diet with store-bought greens.

Choose nutritionally dense, dark greens like kale, collards, chard, and spinach. Try to stay away from the cheap stuff like iceberg lettuce, which is basically just green-tinged water.


Hang a green piñata in the chicken run.

Turn feeding time into a little game for chickens who might be cooped up and restless when it’s grim outside.


Let grains and seeds sprout naturally in the run.

Instead of cleaning up the mess, let Mother Nature do the work: A few days after a rain, all those grains and seeds will sprout themselves — and voilà, instant pasture!


Alfalfa is your friend.

Alfalfa can be found at your local feed store with the straw and hay bales. Mini alfalfa hay bales and loose alfalfa hay (made for rabbits and other small pets) are available too, if you want to throw a few handfuls inside a small run.


Bring on the bugs.

Release your chickens right after a rain, as all the moisture in the ground brings out a buffet of protein-filled worms, grubs, and other delectable bugs that they love to scratch, peck, and devour.

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