We are very blessed to live in such a beautiful place with an amazing climate! That being said, if you live up in North County, you may start seeing frost in the mornings and frozen waters. This can certainly make getting out of a nice, warm bed and checking and feeding all of the animals a bit more challenging. There are a few tricks you can do to make the winter time chicken chores easier.
All of the chickens that we sell are cold hardy for our climate, so you really do not need to worry about your chickens being alright as long as they have a roost and a covered place. We have lost older chickens to the extreme summer heat, but we have yet to lose any to the cold winter here.
If you are very worried about your chickens, you can add a heat lamp, but it is really unnecessary and may cause them to lay through molt if the light is too bright. Unless you have young chicks (under 4 weeks) or you are trying to get your hens to lay through the winter, you do not ever need to add a heat lamp to your coop here on the Central Coast.
If you are worried about the water freezing, you can move it into the coop at night. We leave ours out where the sun will hit it first thing in the morning and this seems to work well as long as it’s not too frozen. Our chickens seem to like running around pecking at anything that was frosted over anyways, so we don’t worry too much about the water being frozen for an hour or so in the morning. Other than water, you really shouldn’t have any worries in the winter.
Most chickens lay their eggs mid morning. We usually collect eggs once a day in the afternoon. If you end up going on vacation, or missing an egg and it feels frozen, don’t worry! Just let it thaw out and you can use it like normal. Because eggs have an air pocket inside for a growing chick, they can freeze without breaking the shell. Your previously frozen egg will taste just as good once it’s room or fridge temp.If you have any further questions or comments about cold weather and chickens, please feel free to ask. I hope this was helpful and maybe even educational 🙂