As the year moves swiftly on, the summer feels like a memory we’re struggling to even remember. Our collective thoughts begin to turn towards the autumn and winter months, and for those that keep chickens, that should include you too.
Your flock of feathered friends need to be ready for the changing seasons as much as the rest of us do. This goes beyond just making sure they’re well fed and watered but includes their coop and run too. Here we’re going to be looking at how you can make sure your flock, their coop and your outdoor spaces are ready for whatever autumn holds.
It’s no surprise that autumn signals the change in the weather, but usually not for the better. The autumn months also herald the coming winter. So it’s a great time to prepare for both.
In terms of the chicken coop the first thing to check for is that its structural integrity remains intact. This essentially means that the roof isn’t leaking and the walls are keeping any other foreign bodies out. Take some time to look for any rotten wood (assuming it’s made from wood) .It’s important to make sure there are no small holes that have been created by insects, rodents or other pests. If this is all good, then the next step is to check that the coop remains secure.
The amount of daylight we see is greatly reduced in the autumn and winter. It’s going to be harder to see if there are any predators lurking around your chickens. Because of this, make sure that any windows, vents and doors still close properly, can be locked if necessary. If the coop has a power supply for light and heat, any wiring remains in good condition. Pay close attention to the vent and look for signs of lice eggs.
For many breeds of chicken the autumn means it’s moulting season. Don’t be surprised if your garden or field one day looks like it’s been hosting a pillow fight world championship, it’s a natural process for them. Newer feathers will grow in time for winter, but for now it’s a great time to check the chickens for signs of parasites - like mites or lice. Make sure you check under their wings too. It’s also important to adjust their feed when they’re moulting and they may need special higher-protein feed to help them through and encourage their new feathers to grow.
One of the benefits of autumn is that the leaves that fall from the trees make great bedding for your chickens in their coop. Dried leaves should be plentiful, so collecting and using them in the coop can help save you money. The autumn is a good time to clear the existing bedding from the coop entirely and if you’ve used sand during the summer months, this should be replaced completely.
Despite all these checks, as the temperatures start to drop if your coop isn’t in the best condition. Now might be the best time to replace it with something more robust. A new coop is always going to be better for the chickens especially in terms of safety, security and warmth.
So, for all your chicken coop or run needs, our team at Eggshell can help. We supply everything from runs and coops to rabbit hutches. Call us today on 01903 756121 or visit our contact page for more details.