We recently got the chance to speak with Frau Dr. Sewerin, a German Vet who specialises in poultry. We asked her what her top tips were for keeping your hens happy in colder conditions, here’s what she had to say:
“Make sure the water does not freeze. To do this, place a thick, well-insulated bowl of warm water in a sheltered place, change the water on regular basis or get a water heater.
You should also make sure that there is a dry, snow-free place in the run. You can regularly mix leaves with some wheat grains so that the animals have something to pick. A dry corner with sandbathing possibility must not be missing. Different perching options should always be available during the day anyway, but especially in winter: this helps keeping their feet warm!
Depending on the circumstances, a windcover should be installed at chicken height so that the animals are somewhat protected. You can easily turn the Eglu run into a sheltered, snow-free area. There is are a range of weather protection covers available at Omlet or you could use simple greenhouse film, combined with bubble wrap. This way the run will be a few degrees warmer and windproof on the inside.
In order to help the chickens saving energy and make it a little bit more comfortable for them, you can get an extreme weather jacket for Eglu coops or use tinfoil as it can be found in emergency blankets. The dropping tray can be additionally insulated with an extra thick layer of straw or newspaper. But after all the easiest way is to use the Omlet extreme weather jackets which makes sure that there’s still a good insulation on the inside of the coop.
Pay special attention to the inside of the coop, because the exhalations of the excretions will otherwise accumulate quickly in the interior and irritate the respiratory tract. Good ventilation is also important to remove the humidity, so that the animals do not catch a cold.
A few extra vitamins in the form of fruits, vegetables and herbs can help the immune system. Also onions, garlic and leeks shredded with vegetables or mixed with “flavor enhancers” such as oatmeal, grated carrots, yogurt and oil are very popular.
Now is the ideal time to do a worming cure. If chickens are heavily infested with worms, it weakens them very much.”
If you’re thinking of upgrading your coop, now is the best time to do so. Here are some of the top benefits of having an Eglu plastic chicken coop vs a wooden one, particularly in winter:
- Eglu chicken coops and rabbit hutches do not absorb water so they don’t get heavy and remain easy to move.
- They don’t rot and don’t require painting with varnish or wood stains (also means that you don’t have to move pets out whilst you are waiting for the fumes to go.)
- They have insulation built in so remain warm.
- They have draft free ventilation so your pets wont get a nasty chilly breeze coming in.
- The door locks are made from heavy duty steel and wont break even in the freezing weather.
- The door handles are all made from plastic so your fingers won’t freeze to them.
- The door handles are nice and big so you can use them with gloves on.
- The water container is really quick to lift out so you can take it in at night to prevent it from freezing.
Looking to upgrade your Chicken Coop? Click here to find out more about the different types of insulated Eglu coops, plus get FREE Delivery if you order before 21st December. Just quote SANTAPAWS at checkout.
This entry was posted in Pet Advice
Chickens love to hop onto a perch. This fondness for perches is instinctive. Chickens are descended from the Asian Jungle Fowl, which roosts on the branches of trees. Perching is as natural to hens as scratching and egg-laying. This might lead you to assume that the ideal perch is in a tree, or at least high off the ground. But while some of the lighter breeds such as Bantams or Leghorns might be able to flap their way to the topmost branches, the average domestic hen is way too big to try. A perch that a bird can hop onto from the ground is perfectly adequate.
During the day they’ll use the perch to relax, take a break and watch the world pass by. If you are keeping your chickens in a run then adding a perch is an excellent way to enrich their enclosure. Enrichment is one of those terms that does what it says on the tin. By adding accessories to the bird’s run you are enriching their lives by providing activities, variation and interest for them. Whilst it might not seem like an obvious activity, a static perch is actually one of the best additions you can make to your chickens environment, click here to see a video of how to attach a perch to your run. And if you have a big flock of chickens, you can add several perches in different locations, which will help to avoid any pecking order problems where the chickens lower down are not allowed to join in the perching fun! Top 4 tips when choosing a perch for your chickens
- Make sure that the perch is strong enough to take the weight of your chickens, an average egg laying chicken weighs about 2kg. A bantam would be about 800g-1kg and a large breed could be up to 5kg.
- Make sure that the perch is long enough, you should allow about 20cm per average sized chicken.
- Don’t place the perch too high. When you first introduce the perch, place it quite low, maybe 10cm off the ground. The chickens will quickly learn to trust it and then you can raise it so it’s just above their heads.
- When choosing a place to position your perch try to find a spot in the run that is covered so that the hens can still perch when it’s raining without getting wet.
Using a perch in the chicken house.
When chickens “come home to roost”, they usually head straight for their favourite spot on the perch. It may not look like the most comfortable way to spend the night, but that perch is every bit as snug and inviting to a hen as your warm, cosy bed is to you.
Hens will roost on pretty much anything, from an old ladder to a flat plank of wood. But it’s best to give them something custom made – wide enough with rounded corners, and easily adjustable. As their well-being is at stake – and that impacts your egg supply – it makes sense to buy the best. Omlet’s chicken perch is very easy to fit to every type of chicken run and wooden coops too, click here to find out more.
If a chicken doesn’t have a perch, they are more likely to attract mites and lice, or to pick up bacteria from the soiled ground. The stress of having no perch will also lower their immune systems, maximising their chances of disease.
Perches help hens feel safe and secure. At night a chicken is totally blind, and a perch gives them somewhere to “sit tight” if they are disturbed. As far as they’re concerned, if their feet are gripping that reassuring perch, they’re safe from predators. This reduces stress, which in turn promotes good egg-laying.
Perches even help with coop hygiene, as the entire night’s load of droppings will be dumped in one convenient spot for you to clean out.
This entry was posted in Keeping Chickens
This entry was posted in Pet Advice