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should I feed differently for winter cold?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hensonly, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY

    I have 15 chickens (13 golden comet hens, two roos) who are 8 months old. Due to family emergencies curtailing the building of a weatherproof winter coop, they are in a not-very-warm house with attached run, and I use tarps wrapped around to keep drafts away. Not ideal but the best I can do for now, and they seem to be doing ok.

    My question is, should I be giving them any different kind of feed to help them deal with the single-digit cold we've been having? I understand they don't put on fat under the skin to help insulate like other critters do, but they've got to be using a lot of energy to keep warm, anyway. They get layer crumble, and I give oatmeal (raw) twice a day, and sunflower seeds. Also some cracked corn, but I've read that they shouldn't get too much of that.

    What's best for a winter diet? I give leafy greens and yogurt, too, a few times a week, and occasional treats like carrots or apples.

    Is this ok, or should I be doing something different?

    The girls are still laying, 8 - 10 eggs a day!

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sounds fine. Mine live in a tarped tractor pretty much too. Granted we aren't having single digits, but mine are doing just fine. Go ahead and give cracked corn and keep up what you are doing. You can be a bit lineient on the corn, it's a high calorie food so would be fine in single digits to keep their little furnaces running. Since they are still laying, I doubt they are getting fat on it as long as it's not half their diet.

    Good luck!

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