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,

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