Chicken keeping in the winter does require more planning. How do you keep the water from freezing? Do you heat the coop? Do you provide artificial light to keep the hens laying? How do you make sure that the coop has enough ventilation but no drafts? What will you do to provide shelter from the wind and snow?
The water was the easy part. We got a heated water bowl. That works fairly well but the Ladies get tons of dirt into it and I need to refill at least once a day. We'll be tweaking that for next winter.
Do we heat the coop? Big "No" for us. I figure people have been raising chickens in New England long before electricity. And I was careful to get cold hearty breeds. They do have big down coats of their own anyway. And for that matter, when was the last time you saw people providing the wild birds with a heater? At least mine have a cozy coop. And another big "No" for me on providing artificial light to keep them laying through the darker part of the year. Again chickens did ok before electricity. And who am I to argue with Mother Nature? If she says the chickens need to slow down during the winter, then ok! I'm not dependent on the eggs anyway.
Luna is no "chicken" when it comes to snow!
I admit the ventilation vs no drafts has been a bit confusing to me. I asked someone on one of the web sites and got a lecture on Thermo Dynamics. Still have no idea. But I guess I just watch the Ladies and see how they fare. It they make it through the winter with no frostbite on their combs I guess I'm doing ok.
The issue of providing shelter from wind, rain, and snow was more up my alley. It took me a few attempts to get the plastic to not just tear off at the first big wind but we did it. Unfortunately, I finally figured it out on the coldest day! Ladies happy, Farmer Jenn not so much! Then we got our first snow and my domed run top caved in. Back to the drawing board. It's fixed now - thanks to some 1/4 inch pvc. And it only involved one wipe out by Farmer Jenn in the chicken run!
Here's to making it through our first winter with the Ladies!