How I Keep My Chickens Healthy All Winter Long

When the days are short, the ground is frozen, and foraging is scarce, it's easy for your backyard chickens to get lazy or fat (or both!).

Keep them healthy with fun and simple boredom busters, nutritious snacks, and a safe way to move around the yard.

Here are seven tried-and-true tips to keep your chickens active and fit all winter long so they're ready to lay again come spring.


Cook up a hot, high-protein treat.

I do this often in winter, mainly because my picky chickens sometimes won’t eat dried legumes… but give them a steaming hot bowl of cooked lentils or split peas on a cold dreary day, and they’re all over it!


Clear the way for your chickens.

After a decent storm, we try to clear a path through the yard as soon as we can so the chickens aren’t confined to their coop.


Let grains and seeds sprout naturally in the run.

Instead of cleaning up the mess, let Mother Nature do the work: A few days after a rain, all those grains and seeds will sprout themselves — and voilà, instant pasture!


Alfalfa is your friend.

Alfalfa can be found at your local feed store with the straw and hay bales. Mini alfalfa hay bales and loose alfalfa hay (made for rabbits and other small pets) are available too, if you want to throw a few handfuls inside a small run.


Bring on the bugs.

Release your chickens right after a rain, as all the moisture in the ground brings out a buffet of protein-filled worms, grubs, and other delectable bugs that they love to scratch, peck, and devour.

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