How to Winterize a Chicken Run

Your birds require warmth for good health. Low temperatures may affect their production, which tends to be less and also increase the outbreak of infections. Ensure you take good care of your chicken, provide roosts, keeps them busy, cover their wattles with jelly, and more. These are several steps to help winterize chicken run.

Minimize Drafts

Chill wind increases the rate of heat loss from the run. You need to seal any leaks, especially at night. The cheapest way to repair any holes or gaps is through the use of plywood. Ensure your birds remain warm by blocking the cold wind from getting into the run.

Keep the Run Well Ventilated

Ensure the run is not fully closed but has more ventilation holes or a part enclosed with wire mesh. Good air circulation prevents the build-up of complicated problems like ammonia.

Use the Deep Litter Method

The deep litter method allows the chicken poop and bedding to build up in the run over seasons on the floor. This composting material gives out heat and warms the run naturally. The deep litter requires careful management, which includes stirring and monitoring moisture content.

Feed Your Birds with Corn

Giving your birds feeds with cracked corns keeps them warm during the night. It’s also a favorite feed to keep their stomach full. The grains have plenty of calories, which helps the birds stay warm by providing more energy.

Keep Your Birds Busy

Alleviate some of the boredom for your chickens caused by the cold weather. You can add treats, for instance, a whole cabbage in the run for the chicken to peck. You can also use suet cakes and other chicken feed that have high fat for extra calories to help keep the chicken warm.

You can also provide extra grit in the run for them to forage. Provide it in the form of a dust bath, which also keeps the birds busy and parasites at bay. The tub contains sand, dry dirt, and wood ash and sets it in the run. You can use a rubber tube for any large plastic container.

Use Sunlight to Trap Heat

Use sunlight to trap heat during the day and keep the run warm at night. You can achieve this by using more thermal mass. These are materials like compost floor, concrete, and stone that retain more heat and release at night. The method is a way of keeping chicken warm in winter. You could also use insulated windows as a sun trap, especially if you have a dirt or dark slab floor or use a deep litter method.

Make Chicken Roosts

Build roosts at least two feet off the ground. Roosting is vital to your chicken and will fluff up their feathers to keep themselves warm. As an alternative, use a log or stumps to hop onto and get off the cold weather for chicken. The stump will act as a perch, shelter to nap under, and wind block in the run.

Protect them Against Frostbite

Cover your bird’s comb and wattle with petroleum jelly for insulation. The jelly protects the chicken from the freezing temperatures by preventing excess heat loss form the body.

Keep Water Thawed

Buy a variety of heated water systems for your run to keep it from freezing all winter. You can install an actual low watt’s bulb into a metal cookie tin. Set regular metal waterer on top and the heat from the lights is enough to keep the water from freezing.

Wrap the Run in Clear Plastic

The plastic cover helps provide a wind block and keep off the snow from drifting into the run. Suppose the run is small, cover it all over, but for a sizeable run, only cover the corner that gets a breeze. You can also use plywood to block wind, traps, or bales of hay.

Plastic is more advantageous to use as it’s clear and allows the sun to shine through and keeps the run bright and warm. Tarps are also well secured with large eye hooks, thus not easily blown by heavy winds.

Make Straw Paths

Take care of your chicken and protect their feet from freezing. Make a path of straws that will entice them out to sunbathe and even do some exercises. The straws will keep their feet warm as they walk.

What Temperatures is too Cold for Chicken?

Chicken are hardy and can tolerate temperatures below freezing though they prefer warm climates. The ideal temperatures for birds are about 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit,  meaning temps below 70 degrees F is cold for chicken.

Do Chicken Coops Need to be Insulated for Winter?

Chicken coops require insulation significantly if temperatures drop to negative. Insulation increases warmth, ensures better egg production, and lowers your heating costs. Insulate in cold and windy weather for your birds’ comfort. It also depends on the birds breed you are rearing because some adapt well to the cold.

Should I Heat My Chicken Cage in Winter?

It’s not best to offer supplemental heat to your coop unless the temps drop below freezing regularly. Some chickens can change body metabolism with seasons. The birds fluff up their feathers in cold and help maintain heat. Again, if you heat the coop, you rob your birds the chance to acclimate to cold temperatures and thus quickly lose their lives.


Following these steps should ensure your birds remain happy and healthy over winter. With proper care provided, you can make sure the birds stay cozy and keep producing eggs.