Will they eat more in winter


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 21, 2009
Just South of the "Big Ditch"
Here in Nor AZ the winters get a little cold 35-45 days deep freezing nights and howling cold winds(today's are already hitting 50 mile gusts). I do not plan on adding heat, but the coop is snug and draft free(I went super bonkers with the caulk gun)with great ventilation that can be adjusted for the winds, with deep litter on the wooden floor.
The gang free ranges all day now and that will be available all winter also, they are currently on Arizona grains layer pellets, with anything else they can get their beaks on, cat, dog food, lizards, the mice they steal from the kitties, all the kitchen treats and now a bumper crop of pumpkins that will be fed over the winter.
So I guess my question would be other than making sure their water is always ice free should I be feeding them anything else to make sure they winter safely?
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15 Years
Dec 12, 2007
ID/WA border
Those are some key ingredients to a safe winter.

My chickens eat about one-third more during the winter's coldest weeks. I give a little scratch and kitchen scraps during the winter to boost the calories. Otherwise, they have 20% protein feed always available.



10 Years
Jun 23, 2009
Ours eat more feed during the winter because there's a lot less to forage for, and they need more energy for body heat.

In Arizona, you might have to feed a bit more, but you probably still have insects and such out and your birds will get more forage than we get (assuming they get some free range time), and your weather is probably not quite as cold. They'll still need more feed for the cold weather, but not likely as much as if you were in a northern climate.

Keep some ventilation up high. If you're in a windy area, it's best if you can set up your ventilation so that you can cover it on whatever side the wind is coming from, if it gets really windy. You can also stack straw bales up to make a wind break on the windy side.

Keep the floor and roost area as draft-free as you can, but have ventilation up higher. If you go crazy with the calk gun and seal everything all the way up, you'll get too much moisture accumulating in the coop. You're in a dry area, so that helps, but chickens do put out a lot of moisture, and a soggy coop is not healthy.

You want to aim for no drafts where the birds are, but air flow up above them.


11 Years
Aug 5, 2009
Middleton, WI
My Coop
My Coop
If they can free range you may not notice a big increase in feeding layer rations....but they'll probably eat more when it's cold. If you don't have snow on the ground and they can get bugs, vegetation etc they are lucky....we will have feet of sow and they will have to not only increase their food intake but also rely a lot on feed...Some have posted that they give some cracked corn "at bedtime' when it's cold, some mentioned they give warm oatmeal or mash in the morning when it s very cold.....I don't know if it will be that cold for your chicks:)

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