What to Feed Chickens in Winter to Help them Stay Warm

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Wondering what to feed chickens in winter? It is possible to help your birds stay warmer by changing up the ingredients in their feed. Give your flock a warming boost during the cold weather any one of these seven ideas!  

what to feed chickens

What to Feed Chickens in the Winter to Help them Stay Warm

Just as there are great treats to give your backyard flock in the summer to help them stay cool, there are also a few winter treats to help your chickens stay warm. 

Warming chicken food can be a great help to your chickens during the winter. When the temperature gets really cold their bodies are expending calories to stay warm which means less eggs for you.  So, don’t be afraid to give your chickens a warm breakfast to help them stay warm all day. 

what to feed chickens to keep them warm in winter


Cooked Oatmeal

Oatmeal is great source of carbohydrates to give your chickens.  I do like to cook mine before giving it to them but you don’t actually have cook the oatmeal for your chickens.  Simply pouring hot water over the oats and let them soften slightly while you get your boots and coat on will be enough. Dump it outside for your girls and watch them go crazy. You could also add some hot water to soften up their current feed as well.

what to feed chickens to keep them warm in winter

Cooked Squash / Pumpkins

Another treat chickens love is cooked squash or pumpkins. If you grew any in your garden or bought any for décor that have gone over-ripe in the winter, here’s what to do. Take of the stem, poke a few holes in the squash and bake at 350 for an hour. After they cooled to the touch (half hour or so) toss them out to the chickens. I bet you’ll even get a few wild birds coming over for this delicious treat!


what to feed chickens to keep them warm in winter

Cooked Eggs with Shells

Here’s the rub – during the winter those deadbeat chickens take a break from laying eggs so they’re harder to come by, but your chickens would really appreciate a warm snack of cooked eggs if you’re so inclined. Just scramble up the eggs and then for an added bonus, toss in the crushed eggshell as well. By the way, save the salt and pepper for your own eggs – the chickens don’t need the sodium.

Cooked Lentils

Lentils are affordable, cooked in about 20 min and your birds will enjoy gobbling it up.  I’ve also found they’ll happily eat any warm beans. Just don’t give them raw beans – chickens can’t eat raw beans.

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In addition to the warm breakfasts, it’s also a good idea to give your chickens a handful of cracked corn at bedtime. Digesting that corn through the night will help their little bodies stay warmer.

what to feed chickens to keep them warm in winter


Extra Protein – Meal Worms

Meal worms are a treat!  I will pick up a large bag of dehydrated meal worms and I have even stopped at the pet store for a few fresh meal worms for them.  A few years ago we use to raise them during the summer for winter treats by dehydrating them in our solar dehydrator.

Warm Water

And don’t forget that warm water is also a nice thing to provide your chickens during the cold winter months.  Adding a thermal bowl you plug in will keep the water warmer or you can simply add hot water a few times during the day for them.  

what to feed chickens to keep them warm in winter

What warm snacks have you found that your chickens devour?

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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