Friday, 22 January 2016

Top Tips for Chickens During the Winter

Here in Dorset it has been a mixed start to the new year. 2016 has so far seen me knee deep in mud one day, and strolling across the frozen surface of the muddy chicken field with impunity, the next. At this precise moment as Flyte so Fancy HQ it is neither raining nor cold, it's windy.

With all these different weather patterns, it is no wonder that one of the hens upon my opening the coop the other day, poked her head out the pop-hole and decided to go back to bed. This week's blog contains some handy tips on helping your hens healthy and happy, through these difficult winter months.

Dorset Flyte so Fancy under Snow
Flyte so Fancy under snow several winters ago
  • Bedding - Colder weather calls for a thicker duvet and in many ways it is the same for inside your hen house. A thicker laying of poultry bedding, like our HempBed-E for example, will help insulate the floor of the coop and keep the inside warm. Your hens will warm the interior of their coops from their own body heat, so an extra deep layer of HempBed-E will help them along. 
  • Feed - An extra handful of Mixed Corn can really help your girls with a warm energy boost. Often given as an afternoon treat, a handful at lunch time can help see your girls through short winter days. 
  • Mud - Seeing your demoralised hens slog their way through knee high mud is a disheartening sight, that can lead to all sorts of health problems for your precious girls. Luckily it is also the easiest problem to solve in your chicken run. Flyte so Fancy Hardwood Woodchip is the ideal run surface for your poultry run. Sustainable, eco-friendly and 100% natural, the woodchip forms a protective barrier on top of the mud, allowing your hens to keep their feet dry and your chicken run hygienic. 
  • Feeders - With the rain, mud and the fact that chickens can be messy eaters, it can be difficult to stop your feed getting spoiled. The best thing to do is either buy a feeder with a big rain hat that you can suspend or purchase a feeder that already has legs to lift it up out of the mud, to prevent the problem. 
  • Drinkers - Chances are over the next few weeks you will find your drinker frozen over. It's good practice to check this everyday to make sure your chickens have access to drinking water. To help try to prevent your drinker freezing you can always try wrapping it in bubble wrap to insulate it agains't the cold, or float a ping-pong ball in the drinker, moving water being less likely to freeze. Finally if you have a power supply you can always try an Eton Drinker Heat Plate, to prevent your water from freezing. 
Flyte so Fancy Winter Care tips
One of our bold chickens struggling through the snow of two years ago. 
Hopefully these hints and bits of advice will help you to keep your hens happy and healthy during this particularly challenging winter. Equally, remember to not them get bored and hang a Boredom Buster or a pecking block inside their run to keep them entertained on cold winter days. 

If you have any questions about looking after your hens in wintry weather leave a comment below or phone us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of our team. 

Thanks for Reading

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