As the weather gets colder, people start craving chili and hearty soups to warm them from the inside out. Chickens don’t have quite the same desires, but their dietary needs do change in the winter. Since you want to ensure the health of your flock during these dark, cold days, you may be wondering what you can do to help them feel their best.
After a long summer of laying eggs, chickens use the winter as a time to rest and recuperate. Egg production requires a lot of protein, so your birds will need plenty of this vital resource in their feed to get through molting and maintain their strength. If you’re lucky, you may even get some good winter eggs — just be sure to collect them before they freeze.
Aside from protein, chickens generally need more of everything in the winter. Carbohydrates are essential for energy and generating warmth. The lack of forage available makes it even more important for you to use a healthy, nutritionally balanced food so that they don’t miss out on any vital nutrients.
You should plan to feed your chickens around 1.5 times what they eat in the warmer months so that they have plenty of energy to regulate their temperatures. Digestion creates heat, so sending your birds to bed with full stomachs will help them get through cold winter nights.
Chickens always love treats, but the extra stimulation is even more valuable on cold days when your birds might be bored. A few natural, healthy snacks will keep them entertained and provide benefits such as extra calories and a boost to the immune system. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are ideal, and something warm like split pea soup is a great winter chicken treat, provided it’s natural and low in salt.
To give your chickens an extra bit of fun, hang a head of cabbage or romaine lettuce on a line from the top of the coop. They’ll love the tasty treat, and the game of chicken tetherball will keep them entertained for hours. Classic snacks like scratch grains or cracked corn are also great options for keeping your flock’s foraging skills sharp while providing some tasty extra carbohydrates. Given before roosting, these treats will help your birds generate digestive heat. Nature’s Best Organic Poultry Scratch Grains are available in 10lb. bags at Tractor Supply and are a nutritious treat for your layers and broilers!
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you offer your chickens some extra grit to aid in digestion, as they may struggle to find enough when the ground is frozen.
Even in winter, treats should only be a small part of a chicken’s diet. To keep your birds healthy and happy throughout the winter season, you need to give them a nutritionally balanced feed that covers all of their essential needs. Nature’s Best Organic Feeds are all-natural, Non-GMO Project Verified, and backed by scientific research. Our carefully balanced chicken feeds use an optimal balance of protein, carbs and nutrients to give chicks, growers and layers everything they need.
With plenty of healthy feed to get them through the winter, your chickens will be plump, happy and ready to fill those nesting boxes again in the spring. Winter won’t be a problem when you give your chickens Nature’s Best.
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