The answer is yes.
Owners of backyard hens need to take a few simple common sense precautions. But chickens, especially the cold-hardy breeds, can adapt fairly well to cold weather. Let's have a look at some common recommendations for cold-weather care.
1. Start with a cold-hardy breed. Some breeds of chickens do better in the cold than others. Cold-hardy breeds generally have smaller combs and wattles. Some breeds have feathers on their legs and feet. There is even a breed, the Chantecler, that is considered to have been developed for Canada's climate: check out this interesting article from two Alberta farmers.
2. Ensure the coop is draft-free and dry. Drafts and humidity increase the risk of frost bite. A coop must be adequately ventilated in a way that will not cause cold air to circulate around the chickens. Consider ventilation only at the top of the coop. There are different views on bedding - some prefer to change it frequently in order to keep it dry, while others prefer the deep litter method.
3. Ensure the chickens have enough room to move about during the day, and a cozy roost area at night. Some chicken owners roof their outdoor runs, and wrap the sides in plastic to encourage chickens to use this space, even in cold weather. Others keep their chickens in a larger coop, so that they are always indoors in winter. Other recommendations include providing a wider roost, such as a 2x4 with rounded edges, so that the chickens extend their feet and warm them with their bellies.
4. Provide access to fresh water at all times. This isn't as tough as it sounds. Some suggest using a heated pet bowl, or even a specialized water pail warmer.
5. Provide plenty of nourishing food. Chickens need to eat more in winter to keep themselves warm. It is often suggested they should be provided with their regular food, plus extra "scratch" in the form of corn or other grains, to give them that energy boost.
6. Consider insulation in your coop. This topic is under debate among chicken experts. The answer is likely dependent on individual conditions, such as outdoor temperature and coop construction in general. A warning, however - some chickens find sheet insulation to be tasty, but this problem can be solved by covering it with plywood.
7. Consider heat, with caution. Some owners provide artifical light as a heat source, and to encourage for egg production during our short winter days. But electrity can be a fire hazard, in coops as elsewhere, and there is a potential burn hazard from lamps that are too hot or too low. Others use infrared bulbs with low wattage that can be substituted for a regular bulb in a trouble light. These bulbs provides heat without ‘light’ and may reduce fire hazard. Not everyone agrees, however. Some owners feel that chickens can become dependant on a heat source and will experience stress if it is suddenly removed or if the power goes out.
Where can you learn more? Here are a few places to get started. Any others you would like to share?
A very comprehensive article from Alaska Mill and Feed
City Girl Farming
Henderson's chicken breed chart