Spring is the best time to set up a chicken coop or bring new hens home. In spring, your birds benefit from longer (and hopefully warmer) days. The garden begins to stir from its winter slumber, and the first fresh greens are available – an essential supplement to your hens’ diets. The chickens will start producing more eggs after the winter lull. They will generally look happier and livelier in this gentler climate of warmth and growth.
When should I buy point of lay chickens?
Point-of-lay hens become available in the spring, as most breeders hatch their chicks in December or January. These chickens are on the verge of laying between 16 and 22 weeks later – hence the term point-of-lay (and, indeed, the term ‘spring chicken’). This means your next generation of hens will be available at some point between mid-March and early June.
Bringing hens home at this time of year, at the very beginning of their laying lives, gives you at least three years of dependable egg production. This is a major consideration for many chicken keepers, as eggs are what it’s all about!
Red mite control
Red mites can be a problem in chicken coops, but their numbers drop drastically in the winter. Early spring is a good time to spray your chicken shed and run against these tiny blood-sucking creatures, before the warmer weather causes a population boom. Your pet supplier may stock a suitable mite spray, and failing that, you can source one from an agricultural supplier.
An even better year round preventative action is to give your spring chickens a coop that is practically mite-free. Mites thrive in traditional wooden coops with lots of nooks and crannies. Keeping hens in a state-of-the-art coop such as the Eglu range gives the pests nowhere to hide and thrive – the coop is made from easily washable plastic, and the mites don’t stand a chance!
Photo by Myriam from Pixabay
While you’re zapping the red mites, spring is also the best time to treat the hens for parasitic worms. Again, there are relatively few of these parasites in the environment at the end of winter, so treating the chickens now is a great preventative measure.
If you’re rehousing barn hens, summer is the ideal time. These birds will not be used to life outdoors, and in the summer the weather will be at its kindest, giving the hens plenty of time to acclimatise. In spring, they’ll be fine; but in summer they’ll be as happy as a newly-liberated hen can possibly be!
Ex-barn hens (and ex-battery hens too, in parts of the world where batteries are still allowed) make great pets, and in spite of having been ‘retired’ by their former owners, they will have up to two years good laying left. In the UK, you can collect these birds via an organisation such as the British Hen Welfare Trust (www.bhwt.org.uk). The advantage of this is that all the hens have been screened for good health, and you will never knowingly be given an unhealthy bird.
If you let your hens free range in the garden during summer, they will pick off pests such as slugs and flies. You may want to protect young shoots and flower beds, though, as chickens are very partial to tender young plants.
If you live in an area that experiences very hot summers, make sure your birds have plenty of shade and a well-ventilated coop. The Eglu is perfect here – relatively cool inside, even on the hottest days, and with an Eglu weather protection shields that can be fixed onto the run to provide shade all day long.
Autumn and Winter Chickens
Autumn is a great season for chickens and chicken keepers. There are lots of juicy bugs to scratch for in the still-soft ground and leaf litter, and if you have any fruit trees, there are rich pickings for the birds in the shape of windfalls.
Hens often moult in the autumn, so they need a good diet to help them stay healthy and grow new feathers. Extra vitamins and minerals will help, and a little apple cider vinegar in their water will help ensure a healthy, glossy new plumage.
Most chickens don’t mind the cold at all. However, they prefer not to get wet, so it’s a good idea to provide bit of extra protection with a cover for the coop, or somewhere dry for the hens to huddle. To prevent the area under the run becoming muddy, cover the ground with bark chippings.
Depending on the breed of your chickens, you will tend to get fewer eggs in the winter, but the supply will never be cut off completely. You can keep the chickens busy and healthy by using Caddi treat holders and peck toys to keep the nutritious food flowing!
Unless the winter months in your area is very harsh, your chickens will be able to keep warm by snugglingup in the coop. They are hardy birds (with the exception of some of the more delicate, decorative breeds), and will adapt to the climate. It’s always a good idea to assist them wherever you can, though, and an insulated coop such as the Eglu will go a long way towards ensuring your birds’ health and happiness in the winter months.
The takeaway message here is that even though spring is the best time to introduce new hens to your garden, they will thrive at any time of year.
This entry was posted in Chickens on April 1st, 2021 by juliakretzner
Photo by Freestocks on Unsplash
Are you eggcited about Easter? Easter is the second biggest family gathering of the year, so let’s celebrate it with some extra “hoppy” Easter games! This year, Easter will be celebrated in a small circle, but this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the great fun. Here are 5 festive Easter games that will keep the whole family entertained!
1- Easter Tic-Tac-Toe
This is mostly played by young children but makes a great strategy game for adults too! To make this game extra “hoppy” for Easter, you could paint real or plastic eggs in different colours or decorate them to distinguish each player.
Players then take it in turns placing their egg on the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The player who succeeds in placing three of their eggs in a diagonal, horizontal, or vertical row is the winner!
Photo by Ulleo from Pixabay
2- Hula Hoop Aim
This is a great game for families or groups, where everyone will be entertained – and it’s super easy. Set up five hula hoops on the floor and assign a point value to each (example: the closest hoop is 10 points, the second closest 20,…, and the furthest hoop is 50 points). Give each player five plastic eggs. Have them toss the eggs into the hoops to see who can rack up the most points!
You can decorate the eggs together with your children by painting them in individual colours, so that each player has their own coloured egg. Let the fun begin!
Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash
3- Bunny Hop Sack Race
Old but gold: the hoppiest game in our top picks! Since bunnies hop, having a good old-fashioned sack race is a great fit for Easter, your children will love racing you!
Set up each player with a burlap sack — decked out with a bunny tail — and have them race to the finish line. Make sure you’re on a soft ground. Just don’t forget to whip up some yummy Easter treats for the grand prize winner!
Photo by Michael Schmid on Unsplash
4- Pin Rabbit Tails
This game is for the whole family! Get pom poms and attach double-sided sticky tape to each of them. The players then have to stick the rabbit tails (pom poms) to one another…whoever ends up with most tails on them after 5 minutes of playing loses the game!
Once the game is finished, your children can get creative and do some Easter crafts. The possibilities are endless!
Photo by Eliza Diamond on Unsplash
5- Easter Egg Piñata
Piñatas are great for any celebration but they’re also fun to make! Kids will have a blast making these as much as they will enjoy tearing them down.
You’ll need the following suppliers:
balloons (small, middle and/or big)
- craft glue
- 2 cups water
- tissue paper and/or crepe paper streamers
- 1 cup flour
- newspaper Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels
- craft knife
- wire, string, ribbon or rope (to hang the piñata)
- piñata bat (e.g. baseball bat)
Step 1: Blow up the balloon, tie it closed and tear or cut newspaper into strips.
Step 2: Mix water with flour to create paste. Dip the newspaper strips in the paste and apply the moistened strips to the balloon. Repeat this until the balloon is completely covered – three layers will help make the piñata strong. Make sure not to cover the knot. This is where you’re going to put the treats later. This part is messy but the kids will love getting their hands dirty. To hold the balloon in place while applying the newspaper strips, place it on top of a plastic container that will act as a stable base.
Step 3: Let the piñata dry for at least 24 hours, making sure to rotate it so all sides dry.
Step 4: After it’s completely dry, cut different colored tissue papers in strips and give the kids freedom to choose their colors and start adding stripes with craft glue to cover the base layer. Decorate as you wish. Now pop the knot with a craft knife and pull out the balloon. Punch two small holes around the main hole. Tie a string or ribbon to the holes to create a loop.
Step 5: Now fill your piñata with some delicious treats, like mini chocolate eggs, jelly beans, marshmallows or any other sweets… whatever you prefer!
Step 6: Glue down some crepe paper on top of the hole, or use masking tape. The goal is to prevent the filling of the pinata from falling out before you’ve actually hit it. Tie another piece of string, ribbon, or rope to the loop you’ve already made and use this to attach the pinata to whatever you’d like to hang it from.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Photo by Eismannhans from Pixabay
Here is a video about how to make a piñata and who explains it better than kids itself?
Here comes an eggstra game! Everything’s a bit more fun with a little mystery. Check out this super cool secret Easter egg hunt!
Let the children – and adults – hunt for the eggs but this time, write a letter on each egg. In the end, when all eggs are collected together, they have to decode the message and they’ll get the clue where the Easter gift is actually hidden. Example: if you hide the gift in the garage, place the letters “G”, “A”, “R”, “A”, “G”, “E” individually on each egg. If they put the letters together, they know where to go for a successful egg hunt! – You can also use Kinder eggs and put individual messages inside.
Omlet wishes you Happy Easter &
a successful Egg Hunt!
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
This entry was posted in Uncategorised on April 1st, 2021 by juliakretzner