On a cold winter’s day, when there’s a heavy frost or a thick blanket of snow do you ever wonder how your chickens manage without central heating and a mug of cocoa? It’s natural to worry if your hens will be comfortable when the temperature dips below freezing.
Unsurprisingly, chickens will look for shelter when the weather’s bad so the first thing you can do to keep your chickens cosy is make sure they have a winter proof chicken coop. In this respect choosing the right chicken coop is similar to choosing your own house. You wouldn’t want drafty windows and doors, a leaky roof, and paper thin walls – and neither do your chickens. Many coops that are bought are fine during the summer, but unfortunately when winter comes they can leave their occupants shivering.We set about testing two very different chicken coops over the course of 3 nights in the Bavarian Forest in Germany. A place that gets more than its fair share of snow and ice.
The first chicken coop was typical of the type sold all over the internet. On first impressions everything fits together well and it’s attractively painted, it comes with a roosting bar and a nesting box and a run. It appears that this is a perfectly good chicken coop. However, on closer inspection it’s worrying to find that large sections of the wooden panels are only 5mm thick. There’s no insulation and nothing in the instructions regarding the suitability of the coop for year round use.
The second coop was the Eglu Cube by Omlet. This chicken coop is part of the Eglu range which all feature a twin walled construction providing an insulating layer all round the coop. Similar to the way ice chests are made, it feels extremely robust and heavy duty. You could say it’s agricultural quality in a hobby chicken coop. It looks the part – but would the Eglu keep the cold out and the warm in?
Identical digital thermometers were placed inside the Eglu and the wooden coop which would take readings both inside and outside the coops during the night. Cameras were also placed inside the coops to record the chickens. After the chickens went to bed the front doors were closed, in fact the Eglu Cube came complete with a rather fancy Automatic Chicken Coop door which gently closed behind the last chicken.
As it got dark the outside temperature dropped to -3.8℃. While it was getting colder outside, it was getting warmer in the Eglu Cube. Around an hour after the chickens had gone to roost the temperature inside the Eglu Cube was 8.3℃ and it stayed there all night. That’s a plus 12℃ temperature difference.
Unfortunately it was not as cosy in the wooden house. As the temperature outside dropped so too did the temperature inside the wooden coop. At 11pm it was -2℃ inside the coop. That’s only 1℃ warmer than the outside temperature. In fact the inside of the wooden coop stayed below zero for nearly the whole night, warming to just above zero by 7am.
If it was freezing inside you might be wondering how on earth the chickens survived. Chickens, as with all other warm blooded animals, have temperature-regulating mechanisms to keep their body temperature at a constant level (around 41-45℃ in a healthy adult hen), so they can cope with a certain amount of cold. Just like wild birds, chickens will fluff up their feathers when it gets cold; this traps a layer of air which insulates the chickens against the cold. This is why it’s so important that chickens don’t get wet during cold weather, as this prevents them from being able to fluff their feathers up. In addition a drafty coop will make it hard for them to trap this layer of warm air too.
They will also tuck their head under their wings and huddle together with their coop companions to keep themselves warm. On the in coop camera recording you could clearly see how the chickens select a roosting place, and then fluff up their feathers.
So if the chickens in the wooden coop were able to keep themselves warm even though it was freezing inside there’s nothing to worry about? Not quite, a coop that’s not insulated or draughty will place extra demands on your chickens because of the heat being lost. Chickens in a cold coop will have to increase their metabolism to turn food and fat reserves into heat at a faster rate than hens in a cosy coop. If the heat loss is extreme, or a chicken is not fully fit then over the course of several cold nights there is a risk that all the energy reserves are used up resulting in the chicken being unable to keep it’s body temperature high enough with potentially fatal consequences.
What this test shows is that properly insulated, winter ready chicken coop can make all the difference between a cosy night in the coop and one spent shivering to keep warm. As an added bonus hens that use up less energy keeping warm are more likely to keep laying.
A lot of chicken keepers are worried about their chickens during cold winter days. Chickens are usually well adapted to the cold and as long as their coop is dry on the inside, they feel happy and warm in the Eglu.
Of course there are a few things to look out for and prepare for during the winter, so we have spoken to Stefanie, who is going through her second winter with the chickens in their Eglu Cube this year. She tells us about the preparations and adaptations she makes for when the weather gets icy and how she and her chickens get through the season.
Omlet: How long have you been keeping chickens and how many have you got?
Stefanie: We have been keeping six chickens since February 2018.
Omlet: What is your favourite thing about keeping chickens?
Stefanie: I love that we have our own, freshly laid eggs every morning.
Omlet: You live in an area of Germany that usually gets very cold and snowy in winter. How cold can it get in winter and how much snow do you have at the moment?
Stefanie: We live in Lohberg, in the south of Germany. The temperatures are usually between -5 and -15 degrees in winter, so it does get very cold here. We currently have around 50cm of snow, which is normal for this time of year.
Omlet: What changes to you make to the Eglu Cube to get it ready for winter?
Omlet: Do you change the daily food and water routine during the winter?
Stefanie: We make sure to feed them more regularly and keep an eye on them to make sure they definitely eat enough. They eat a lot of fresh lettuce, and I like to give them warm food to help them keep warm. Keeping an eye on the water is extremely important as it easily freezes.
Omlet: Do the chickens use the run more or less in the winter than they do the rest of the year and do your chickens like snow?
Stefanie: My chickens don’t like snow at all, so that’s why they mainly keep to the covered areas of their run, where it’s dry.
Omlet: Do your chickens lay eggs in the winter?
Stefanie: Our six girls don’t lay as much as they usually do during other times of the year, but even though we have a lot of snow, we still get around two to three eggs every day.
Omlet: Do you add a lightsource to your coop?
Stefanie: Yes, we do have a light in the coop as it gets dark very early these days.
Omlet: As chickens love scratching and foraging for food, do you give them some other entertainment when it’s snowy and icy?
Stefanie: Yes, we tend to spread some corn in the covered areas of their run. This keeps them entertained and offers them a chance to scratch naturally.
These are great ideas to keep your chickens happy and healthy during the winter. Have a look at our video of top tips for chicken keeping in winter:
When the temperatures drops, most rabbit owners know the importance of checking that their pet’s hutch is winter ready.
However, did you know it’s just as important to consider your rabbit’s emotional needs as well?
Brave the cold to give your bunny a cuddle!
An often overlooked problem for rabbits in winter is that they have reduced playtime with their owner. When the weather’s nice, you’ll often be outside even if you’re not specifically going out to see your rabbit. You and your pet will benefit from lots of regular visibility. However, in the winter when you’re not going outside as much, you and your rabbit will also be missing out on regular contact and this will have a significant impact on your rabbits’ health. Even if kept with other rabbits, they can still miss you and feel lonely. Brave the cold and get outside to maintain as much of their normal routine as possible. And remember rabbits are crepuscular meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn so even when it’s dark you can still pop out to see them, it’s unlikely you’ll disturb their sleep.
As well as less playtime with their owner, less exercise is also an unhealthy side effect of the winter months. It is incredibly important you do all you can to avoid this affecting your rabbits’ health.
Consider a hutch with a run attached so that your rabbits have access to space for exercise during the day. A large walk in run also makes it easier for you to play with your rabbit, as there is space inside for you to join them, and you and your rabbits can be protected from the elements by covers over the top and around the sides of the run.
If your rabbits’ hutch is not attached to a run, the Zippi Tunnel System is an excellent solution to link these two together, and provide rabbits with easy access to a larger area for exercise when they choose. You can also open the run in the morning and close in the evening by using the door on the Zippi Tunnel entrance.
Provide lots of dry bedding in their hutch and if your rabbit’s get really wet then you can dry your rabbits with a towel after outdoor activity. Check there is food and water available in the run, as well as a shelter and toys. You can even place some bedding in the run to encourage exercise when it is cold.
Your rabbits’ home
In winter, ensure that your rabbits’ home is waterproof, dry and ventilated. A common problem with standard wooden hutches is that they can become damp and cold from leaks and drafts. If you do have a wooden hutch, it is important to check the home for damp patches regularly. You will also need to remove any wet bedding promptly as this can freeze.
Consider moving your hutch closer to your house, in a sheltered area to protect it from wind and rain and make it easier for you to check on your bunnies regularly.
Provide your rabbits with extra bedding to keep them warmer during these colder months, and you may also want to purchase a safe microwavable heat pad to place underneath bedding if temperatures drop below freezing.
Ensure your rabbits have access to clean drinking water at all times, as they will likely drink more in winter, and check this is not frozen on particularly cold days. As well as hay, provide your rabbits with some leafy greens as these may be in short supply for them in your garden at this time of year.
Some owners bring their rabbits indoors for winter. This can be a great way to keep pets warm and healthy in the colder months, however, the process needs to be carefully managed. Moving your rabbits into a different habitat can be a stressful change, which should be done gradually. Remove all hazards and cables from ground level in the rooms which your rabbits will have access to, provide a dark sleeping spot, and place familiar items from the outside hutch into the home.
We recommend seeking further advice from animal welfare experts such as the RSPCA or your vet if moving your rabbits indoors.
If this is not an option for you, or if your wooden hutch is looking a little worse for wear, and not providing your rabbits with the warm, dry shelter, they require, consider upgrading to a insulated waterproof hutch, such as the Eglu Go, which offers complete protection against the elements.
The Eglu Go Hutch has a unique twin wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing to keep your rabbit’s home well insulated, while the draught-free ventilation system allows fresh air in without blowing cold air over the bedding area. The removable bedding tray can be slid out and cleaned quickly making it easier for you to meet your rabbits’ needs and maintain their dry living conditions.
January is historically the month to set yourself some achievable goals for the year ahead. We’ve put together some ideas for creating New Year Resolutions for you and your pet!
No more quick walks around the block after dinner. 2019 is all about getting fit with your pet. Both you and your pet will reap the rewards both physically and mentally. On an average 30 minute dog walk you can burn between 100 and 200 calories.
Try a new activity with your pet
From hiking to kayaking, hitting the waves to joining a pet exercise class, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new pastime. These new activities will help you burn lots of calories! A 30 minute walk on the beach will burn approximately 150 calories and you could expect to burn 220 calories on a 30 minute hike.
Incorporate More Playtime into Your Routine
Dogs love to play games and Cats love the thrill of chasing a toy; let’s just not tell them it’s exercise! Enjoy spending more time playing with your pets this year. A fun 20 minute tug of war would see you burn 50 calories.
Groom Your Pet Every Day
Brushing your pet helps to remove excess fur from their coat which reduces the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It also helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, to keep their coat healthy and shiny. Grooming an average sized dog burns 200 calories.
Teach an Old Dog a New Trick
Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in older animals. By keeping your senior pet’s brain active, it can actually make it healthier.
Update your Pet’s ID Info
Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. Don’t wait — update their tags and microchips now.
Make new Friends
Visit your park and get to know other pet owners! It’s easier that you think!
Maintain a healthy diet
Lead a healthy life with a balanced diet and not too many treats.
Most of all; enjoy spending time with your wonderful pets!
Finding a frozen egg in the next box is one of the most disappointing things a chicken keeper can experience, especially as eggs can be few and far between in winter.
An egg white freezes at -0.45°C, and a yolk at -0.58°C, which means that exposed eggs are at risk of freezing as soon as the temperatures approaches zero.
Can I use a frozen egg?
Frozen eggs can make you very ill. When the egg freezes the contents expand, causing the shell to crack. If you find a frozen egg with a cracked shell, the safest thing to do is to discard it, as you don’t know what unpleasant things the contents of the egg have come in contact with.
If the shell isn’t broken, you can keep the egg frozen until you need it, and then thaw it in the fridge. You might however find that it doesn’t behave completely like eggs that haven’t been frozen, especially the yolk. It can get gelatinous and thick, and will not flow like it normally does. It will also be much more difficult to separate the white and the yolk, so it’s best to use the egg for a recipe where the whole egg is needed.
How to prevent the eggs from freezing
Insulate your coop
The simple answer is to insulate your coop, or to get a coop that is already insulated, like the Eglu chicken coops. If you try to insulate your coop with plastic or tarp, or some old rugs you’ve got lying around, make sure you keep the coop well-ventilated.
Focus on the nest box
Try to make the nest box as inviting and warm as possible. Hanging curtains around them will help retain the heat from the chickens, as will lots of straw.
Collect the eggs more frequently
You will be surprised how fast an egg freezes in sub zero temperatures. Rather than collecting the eggs once in the morning, try to visit the coop 3 or 4 times a day to get the new eggs into the warmth of the house as soon as possible.
If this is not a possibility for you, Omlet’s Eglu coops can give you a bit more flexibility. The twin-wall insulation system will keep the coop warmer for longer, which prevents the eggs in the nest box from freezing, while also keeping your chickens warm and cosy, and the coop nicely ventilated. You can also protect your eggs (and chickens) against the most extreme temperatures with our rage of insulating blankets and jackets.
Christmas is a time that all members of the family should enjoy, including your pet pooch. The problem is that if you are not careful, the festivities can turn out to be not so great for your dog. Giving them the wrong food, or inviting them into a busy kitchen, can cause things to take a turn for the worse, very quickly.
Foods that your dog should not eat
Starting with the basics, your furry friend should never be encouraged to join in with Christmas drinking. Even a small amount of alcohol is bad for them. There are also several traditional festive food goodies that you should not share with your pet:
The bones and skin from the turkey. Bones from any bird can be dangerous. They are delicate and can break into small pieces making them a serious choking hazard. The skin of turkeys and chickens is full of fat which can cause problems with your dog’s pancreas.
The gravy you have with dinner. You may think that gravy is delicious and completely harmless. However, it’s high in salt and fat; both of which can be dangerous to dogs.
Onions and other bulb vegetables. Onions are the main cause for concern when it comes to bulb vegetables. They are poisonous to dogs, so your pet should be kept away from them. It’s also a good idea to not feed them other bulb vegetables like garlic. They are not as immediately toxic but a build-up of them can cause serious problems.
Christmas cake ingredients, raisins, currants and sultanas. All of these items, together with grapes, are poisonous to dogs. In fact, if your pet does eat even a small amount, you should seek help from a vet as soon as possible. For this reason, Christmas treats such as Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies should never be fed to dogs.
Chocolate in any form. Chocolate is a favourite in most homes over the holidays. This is fine for humans, in moderation, but it’s not good for dogs. The theobromine that is present in chocolate can be deadly to your furry friend, so do not let them have any,, no matter how much they give you the sad eyes treatment.
These are a few of the festive food treats that you should not share with your dog at Christmas, or any other time of year. However, it’s not all bad news, there are some favourites that your pet can enjoy.
Christmas food that your dog can eat
Before you start feeling mean about depriving your pooch of all the food that they want, but is really bad for them, there are several favourites that pets and people can all enjoy. It’s important to remember that all of these foods should be given to dogs in moderation; keep portions small.
A few slices of turkey. You can give your pet some white turkey meat, as long as the skin has all been removed.
Boiled and mashed potatoes. Dogs enjoy a little potato that can be boiled or mashed. Remember that you should only ever feed your pet plain potato with no salt or butter added.
Mixed and green vegetables. As with any other food items, do not give your dog a pile of vegetables, but it’s fine to let them have a few selected items such as carrot and swede mash, sprouts, parsnip and green beans. Do not add any seasoning or sauces before you give the vegetables to your pet.
Fruit with pips or stones removed. Aside from rhubarb, which is poisonous to dogs, you can share fruit bowl items with your pet. However, you need to make sure that pips and stones are removed. You should also remember that fruit is acidic and contains sugar so can cause stomach problems in dogs if they have too much.
Making sure your furry friend has a great Christmas is important. Keeping your dog out of the kitchen, and making sure they eat and drink the right things, can help make this happen.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, and we are all looking forward to celebrating together with our loved ones, including our pets! It’s therefore important to think about what effect all the festive fun is having on our furry little friends, and make sure they’re also having a nice time. Here are some of our top tips for keeping your pets safe and happy this Christmas:
We know it’s much more difficult to resist feeding scraps to your pets over Christmas, but in most cases it really is not good for them. In some cases it can actually be harmful. Instead we suggest that you, if you’ve got a few days off from work, spend some extra time with your pets. They will without a doubt prefer that to treats or presents!
Try to stick to the normal schedule as much as possible over the holidays, especially when it comes to meal times. Let your chickens out at the same time as usual, walk your dog as you would normally and give your cat its daily play time. They might not understand that you have got lots to do, and a disruption of their routines will add to a possibly already stressful time.
Give your pets a safe space
Christmas can get hectic, so make sure your pet have somewhere to go to get away from all hustle and bustle, preferably in a different, quieter, room. If you’ve got guests coming over, let them know what to do, and what not to do, around your pets. It’s important that everyone knows what doors, windows and gates need to be kept closed, what the pets are allowed to do and eat, and when they are to be left alone.
If you’re spending Christmas somewhere else, you need to take your pets into consideration. Don’t leave them alone for longer than they are used to, and make sure they’ve got what they need while you’re away. If you’re taking them with you, bring something that will remind them of home, like a blanket or a toy, or even their crate or cage. If you can’t take them with you, you will need to find another solution.
Make sure you plan the journey and be aware of the fact that traffic can be busy around Christmas. Your pet must have access to food and water at all times, and depending on your what pet you’ve got, there might be a need for toilet breaks.
Christmas Trees and Plants
Make sure your Christmas tree if safely secured, as cats tend to try and climb them. It might also be a good idea to hang especially intriguing and tantalising decorations higher up in the tree where pets can’t reach them as easily. This minimises the risk of cats getting tangled and the tree falling over.
Hoover under and around the tree regularly to get rid of fallen pine needles. The needles can get stuck in mouths or between toes, which can be very painful.
Lots of our most common Christmas plants, including poinsettias, mistletoe and amaryllis, are poisonous to a lot of pets, so make sure you stay clear of them, or keep them out of reach.
Decorations and presents
If possible, choose non-toxic Christmas decorations. Keep cables from lights and other decorations out of reach, or your pets might try to nibble through them, which can cause damage to both cable and pet.
Don’t leave presents containing eatable things (chocolate in particular!) under the tree. It will soon be sniffed out, and it won’t take a couple of greedy paws long to get into a wrapped present.
Once the gifts have been opened, clear away the wrapping paper straight away. Not only will you avoid having paper all over the room once your pets get to it, but coloured paper and string should also not be ingested by pets.
Make sure you order before the these dates to get your delivery in time for the big day:
Orders delivered by DPD must be placed by 12 Noon on Wednesday 19th December.
Royal Mail orders must be received by 12 Noon on Monday 17th December for Christmas delivery.
Orders for large items requiring pallet delivery (e.g. Eglu Classic) must be received by 12 Noon on Wednesday 12th December for Christmas delivery.
Deadlines depend on the product you are purchasing and your chosen delivery method delivering to a mainland UK address. Please allow an extra day for delivery to the Highlands. This date is a guide only, we recommend that you place your orders early to avoid disappointment. If this date has passed you can call out customer service team to see if delivery is still possible. Omlet cannot take responsibility for third party supplier delays such as courier service.
No delivery service available on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years Day.
The cold, frosty temperatures of Winter are in full swing, and while you are enjoying a warm cup of tea in the warmth of your kitchen, you might be looking out on your girls wondering how they feel about the colder weather.
If you’re looking for a new way to keep them warm first thing in the morning, or late afternoon just before they go to roost, consider making this yummy, warm corn recipe, specially for your hens, with a festive flavour which will provide extra nutrients to keep up their health this winter. It’s super simple and quick to make.
Ingredients – for 2-3 chickens
100ml hot water
Pinch of ginger, cinnamon
Soak the corn, oats and raisins in hot water for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in a pinch of Ginger and Cinnamon for added nutrients for your chickens. Leave to cool slightly before feeding to chickens.
Ginger supports the immune system and provides anti-inflammatory benefits which can be particularly beneficial for a poorly hen. Cinnamon has antibacterial and antioxidant benefits, and can reduce inflammation, these are extremely good for chickens as they are likely to experience respiratory problems.
Only feed your chicken’s porridge as an occasional treat. Make this recipe outside of your kitchen to avoid cross contamination of food.
Winter is coming. If you’re new to keeping chickens you might wonder what you can do for your chickens to keep them happy and healthy during winter. Most chicken breeds cope well in moderately cold temperatures as long as they have a well-insulated and dry coop. Chickens normally acclimatise themselves to the cold weather, so you shouldn’t worry too much about your chickens getting too cold, especially if you have an Eglu which is well insulated. In fact, chickens are able to adapt better to the cold than they are the heat. But why not give your chickens a bit of extra protection during the winter, if only for your own piece of mind.
The basics of any chicken coop and run in the winter
Weather Protection and insulation. The coop must be weatherproof. As said, most chicken breeds don’t mind the cold at all but they prefer not to get wet. The chicken coop should also be insulated enough that it remains warm inside even in the midst of winter. If you have an well-insulated Eglu chicken coop you can increase the level of protection against the most extreme temperatures with our range of insulating blankets and jackets.
Ventilation. A well ventilated chicken coop will ensure that plenty of fresh air gets inside the coop. This will keep the odours down and avoids moisture build-up. When a chicken coop is too tightly insulated, not only will it retain heat, it will also retain moisture. Just make sure the coop is draft-free.
Rising damp. Rising damp can also be an issue for chicken coops. Coops should be raised off the floor to prevent the base becoming damp. If your coop doesn’t have legs fitted, you can place bricks under the coop to allow air to circulate and reduce damp. Always make sure you place or build your chicken coop and run on high ground that won’t flood during heavy rain.
Size of the coop. Make sure your chicken coop is not too big for the amount of chickens you have. When the coop is too big, your chickens won’t create enough body heat to warm up the space. Chickens huddle together and keep each other warm, so they don’t need a lot of space. Try not to open the door of the coop at night when your chickens are roosting. Be mindful that their body heat is keeping them warm and by opening the coop you will let out the build-up warmth. If you do have a large coop/stable and just a few chickens, you can put a large cardboard box on its side, half filled with chopped straw/wood shavings in a corner to help them conserve their body heat.
Run. It’s important that at least part of the chicken run is covered with a winter shade. You can even build a kind of greenhouse style addition to your coop, covering it with clear plastic. This will give your chickens a bit more space on nice days. Another tip to prevent the area under the run becoming muddy is to cover the area with bark chippings. Mud is a breeding ground for poultry worms so muddy areas should always be avoided.
Perches. Give your chickens have plenty places to roost. To prevent their feet will get too cold, you’ll need to give your chickens a place to perch in both their coop and run. The perches need to be wide enough so that the chickens can cover their toes with their feathers. This will provide them with a little extra warmth which will save them from the bitter cold.
Cleaning. Keep your chicken coop clean and dry. Clean the droppings from inside the coop daily and replace the bedding as necessary. By keeping the coop both dry and clean, you will help to prevent dampness which can cause frostbite.
Also take care of…
Water. It is important your flock always has a source of fresh, unfrozen water. Depending on where you live this can be quite challenging. To prevent you have to keep rushing outside to swap over your drinkers every few hours, there are heated waterers like the Eton Drinker Heater. You can also wrap the drinkers up in a layer of bubble wrap to keep the water unfrozen for longer. Don’t place the water inside the coop, this can cause damp.
Feed. During winter your chickens feed consumption will typically be much higher than in the spring/summer. Often chickens enjoy warm feed, like cooked lentils or warm oatmeal with some raisins or other small dried fruits. Give your hens extra corn in the afternoon as this will heat them up internally as they digest it overnight. To encourage your chickens to keep laying eggs in the winter, always have a good amount of food available. Layer pellets have the right nutrients your chickens need throughout the winter.
Combs and Wattles. If it gets extremely cold across the winters your chickens’ combs and wattles can be in danger of getting frostbite. Most hardy chicken breeds have small combs, but if you have breeds with very large, floppy combs you will need to gently rub petroleum jelly onto their combs and wattles. You will also need to keep an eye out for coughs, colds and general symptoms of being unwell. Read our chicken breed directory to find out which birds are best suited to colder climates.
Vermin. Remember at this time of year, there are hungry rats and mice attracted to the chickens feed and water. Take extra care with the storage of your feeds. Store feed away from the coop and keep it in an airtight container. If you notice any signs of vermin, remove the feeders and drinkers at night.
Boredom. It is more likely your chickens will get bored in the winter, when there are no grass and weeds to munch and fewer bugs to feast on. This will lead to mischief, like feather pecking, egg eating etc. Prevent boredom by giving your chickens a Chicken Swings, perches, piles of leaves and/or a mirror. Read our blog “Keep your hens entertained!” for more non-food ideas for keeping your chickens busy.
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.
Once moulting has finished it 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: