Hey there. So chicken keeping in Alaska is really not that hard in the winter. Especially living in Anchorage, where our temperature is so mild compared to interior Alaska and some of the communities when you get farther north in the state and Anchorage, well, we’re pretty mild in our winters, comparatively. But there are a few things that you can do and you want to keep in mind if you backyard chicken keep in the winter anywhere that it gets cold enough to freeze So the first thing is their water. I have this water bucket I think it’s a 3 gallon. It’s designed for dogs and it’s an electric container. So there’s nothing hot on the top there’s nothing that ever gets hot enough on this to burn anything but there’s a little coil heater inside the bottom of it and whenever the temperature dips below I want to say it’s like 35 or 40 degrees F that’s when this turns on. So I’ve never had a problem with my water freezing with this, and you just plug it into an outlet and it’s only activated and turned on and using electricity when the temperature gets low enough for it to be necessary. So the first thing to keep in mind if you’re keeping backyard chickens in an area where you actually get a cold winter is that you need to think about what you’re going to do with their water. Because if you don’t have a way to keep it warm Well, I mean if you don’t mind coming out to your coop a couple times a day bringing water like fresh water then you can make it work, but I don’t want to have to do that. And if you ever if you ever just kind of want to leave your coop on auto pilot and go away for the weekend you’ll need to have a reliable way to make sure that their water isn’t going to freeze, because obviously water is really important. Uh, so another thing is making sure that your flock is warm. So right now a handful of my girls here have just started molting. We’ve already had our first snowfall for the year And temperatures day to day are around the freezing mark. Yet we have some girls who are molting, haha, like this Rhode Island Red. So some of them aren’t molting as bad but others molted pretty hard so you can see the black chicken in the middle here who’s wearing a little coat her whole back is naked. She doesn’t have any feathers. So we made her that little coat just so that she doesn’t have bare skin because otherwise her whole back would just get frostbite right now. So this is just a temporary thing, and it’s probably something that a lot of you won’t have going on, but if your chickens decide to start molting when it’s really cold out I mean, their feathers, that’s what keeps them warm. And they do really well in cold temperatures as long as they have well, you know, a full coat of feathers I’m just trying to help some of our girls who don’t have as many feathers stay warm, and once she starts to grow in grow those feathers back in, then I’ll take the coat off but for now, it’s what she needs to keep her warm and to prevent any frostbite over the night. So, the two things so far, having a reliable water source that you know isn’t going to freeze over or being willing to come over a couple times a day to bring them fresh water. Then the other thing is making sure that all of your girls have their full feathers, and if they don’t, making sure that they have a little bit of an escape so they can stay warm or In our case, since well since this black chicken is about half naked we felt like it would be cruel to let her go the winter without any feathers on her back I’m sure some people are going to look at that and say that’s a chicken, that’s extreme but I just felt like it would be very cruel to her to not help her stay warm. Another thing that you want to keep in mind is the actual coop itself. So the fenced in area that’s attached to the coop people usually call a “run” then where the chickens sleep at night where they have a little bit more shelter that’s referred to as the “coop” So I’ll open up our coop right now and show you what it looks like Now keep in mind that if it was night time and if all the chickens were in here I would not be opening the coop up at night. Because when all of the chickens are in the coop they all perch together and they roost on that I mean, you can use all kinds of things for your roost we just grabbed an old tree branch. But when they’re in here at night they’re all huddled together on this roost and even though the temperatures at night get a little bit colder, they all keep each other warm. Just being in this smaller space together, and having the insulated walls, it makes a huge difference temperature wise. So if you come out to check on them at night be mindful that their body heat and the fact that they’re in an enclosed space is what’s keeping them warm. So you never just want to open up an entire side wall, like this when they’re relying on that warmth to stay warm. So yeah, just being mindful of… and also, the number of chickens you have compared to the amount of space that their coop is. Because if you have a massive coop and only two or three chickens, then those two or three chickens won’t create enough body heat to warm that whole space. But above all, the most important part of your coop is making sure that it’s draft free. Because if there are a lot of gaps I mean, some ventilation is good just to keep the odors down and make sure it’s not too stagnant but if there’s a lot of draft and they can feel a lot of wind like cold air coming into the coop then that’s not a good thing (laughing) They all just ran in here now, because they’re curious. But it’s just amazing. Like in the evenings I mean, it’s getting dark here now at 6pm so sometimes I’ll come out an collect eggs after dark, and I’ll just open up one of the little nest boxes stick my hand in quickly and there will be a huge temperature difference outside versus sticking my hand in the coop. These girls are just amazing. So I guess the bottom line for keeping chickens in the winter if you live in an area that actually gets cold and snow is that chickens do great in the cold they do better in the cold than they do in the heat. But – it’s important to make sure that they have a source of water that’s not going to freeze over and it’s also really important that you give them a space that allows them to get out of the temperatures at night. And people in Alaska everybody here does chickens different. So some people will heat their coop with an electric heater Some people won’t. I personally don’t heat my coop but when we built it, we built it insulated. So you can see how thick this wall is right here. That is house-grade insulation. Keeping these girls warm. So yeah, some people heat the coop some people don’t some people have insulated coops some people don’t everybody does it differently. And I would say the most important thing is to just keep an eye on your birds and if you’re noticing frostbite or if they just seem like they’re not doing as well as they should be be taking notes on that I mean chickens are a learning process for everybody everybody keeps their chickens differently Everybody has a different idea of how chickens should be raised. Some people lean more toward the idea that chickens are pets, other people lean more toward the idea that chickens should be strictly food and not pets, Other people find a dual purpose between pets and food. But, the most important thing, especially if it’s your first winter, with your current coop setup is to just be home for the first few times it snows and for the first few freezes. So that if anything does go wrong, your water freezes over, I mean, you’re there. And you’re aware of it. And you know, you can keep tweaking things and making it better. I hope that helped some people. Just get a better idea keeping chickens in Alaska over the winter is not hard at all. There are just a few things to look for. Alright. Thanks for watching.