Ask the Expert — April/May 2019

Tough Winter We’ve had a tough winter here in Central New Hampshire.  Lots of snow and ice.  The door to my chicken run becomes frozen often and I end up chipping the ice in order to let my girls out.  I was wondering if “pet safe” ice melt crystals are safe for chickens.  And if not, do you have any other suggestions? Please let me know your thoughts on this. Bob Patenaude, Moultonborough, New Hampshire •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Hi Bob, It’s been a crazy winter, hasn’t it? In regards to your question about ice melt crystals: I would not recommend use of any of them around chickens. Those crystals are tempting to peck and eat. A chicken’s kidneys are smaller than those of most other pets, and even simple rock salt can cause problems. My favorite farm “hack” is to purchase a good, waterproof seedling heat mat. These don’t get too hot, since

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