Although your chickens have plenty of feathers to keep them warm during the cold, they can still suffer from icy winds and heavy rain, which is why it is essential that you ensure that they are fully protected during the colder months.
Knowing exactly what to do can be difficult, and taking a ‘trial and error’ approach can result in your chickens suffering from the full force of the harsh winter weather. With this in mind, here are some top tips to make your chickens more comfortable this winter.
Provide Some Shelter
Strong winds can ruffle your chickens’ feathers, meaning that the warm air they have trapped in between them can be lost. The cold wind can then penetrate through to the chicken’s skin, potentially causing them to catch a chill. You should provide shelter from the wind and rain, however you must also ensure that not all holes in your chicken house are covered up, as some ventilation is needed – build-up of moisture and damp can lead to your chickens getting ill. We here at Eggshell Online provide high quality chicken houses that can help you achieve this, ensuring your birds are protected from the harsh weather.
Ventilation is also important to prevent damp conditions from forming, as condensation can form on the walls and can create an extremely undesirable environment for your birds.
Ensure That There Is Adequate Bedding
It is important that the floor of your chicken house is covered with suitable bedding to not only provide insulation, but also to ensure that their living environment is as comfortable as possible. It should not be overstuffed with bedding, but a reasonable layer should cover the floor stopping the cold from seeping in; pine shavings are a great bedding choice as it is highly absorbent and relatively low cost.
Make Sure That They Have Enough Water
During the colder months it is likely that the water you leave out for your chickens will freeze, making it difficult for them to drink a healthy amount and stay hydrated. You should check the water regularly throughout the day to ensure that it is not frozen, or alternatively you could use some sort of heat source to ensure that the water doesn’t completely freeze. However you do it, the important thing is to keep on top of it so that your chickens have adequate access to water.
Up Their Feed
During the winter your chickens are going to need much more energy to help to keep them warm, which is why many owners allow their chickens to have free access to feed during the colder months rather than measuring out a certain amount. You should, however, make sure that you remove this at night so you don’t attract any pests or vermin. It is also advisable to put out a bit of slow-burn grain a little while before your birds go to bed to give them that little bit of energy to keep them warm throughout the night.
Give Them Something To Do
During the winter months your birds may start to get bored, and being confined to small spaces they may start to turn on one another leading to bullying and feather pecking. These habits are hard to break once started, so it is important that you do all you can to prevent it. You can purchase a ‘boredom buster’ to give them something to peck at rather than attack each other!
By following these simple tips you can ensure that your chickens are kept healthy and warm over the winter, ensuring that they are in the best possible condition and giving them a healthy start to the New Year. For more information on our quality chicken houses call us today on 01903 756121 so speak to a member of our team.