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Feeding Your Birds During the Winter Months

Feeding your backyard flock during the winter can sometimes be a little tricky.

What if your birds are not producing eggs? Should you change their feed? Do they need extra feed because of the changing temperature?

One of the main ways a chicken compensates for a change in temperature or cooler weather is by increasing their feed intake.

If you’re raising layer hens, you’ll want to make sure you’re providing them a complete layer feed, such as Kalmbach Feeds 17 percent all natural layer feed, or our Organic Harvest layer feed.

Keep feed available to your birds all of the time, making sure you have enough feeders so all of your birds can eat at one time, and that your dominate hens aren’t eating too much of the feed and leaving the lesser dominate hens undernourished.

By eating a lot of extra feed, your birds will produce the calories they need to keep themselves warm during the winter months.

Take it Easy on the Treats

Many people will provide their flocks a supplemental feed such as scratch grains or something that’s a high-energy feed in order to give their birds those extra calories they need to stay warm.

This can be tricky and you really need to do that carefully. No more than 10 percent of their complete diet should be scratch grains or treats, because, just like humans, if they eat too many of the treats they’ll cut back on their complete feed which has all the vitamins, minerals and calcium that they need to stay healthy.

Nancy Jefferson
Nancy Jefferson
Nancy is a poultry nutritionist with Kalmbach Feeds with a PhD in food and animal science from West Virginia University. She resides in Crown City, Ohio with her husband John, where they raise beef cattle and keep a flock of backyard chickens. Nancy enjoys watching her chickens scratching and pecking around and collecting fresh eggs to feed to her family. She is a regular contributor to the Feed Your Flocks blog, where she provides tips and information to help backyard poultry owners get the most from their flocks. Read more about Nancy