Keep Your Chickens Fit and Healthy This Winter
For any animal living outdoors, winter is likely to be the most challenging time of year, and chickens are no exception. The days are short, there aren’t as many bugs and plants to peck at, and the humans they like following around the garden tend to spend less time outside. The days can get a bit repetitive, and even more so in years with avian flu outbreaks, when hens are not allowed to roam free in the garden.
Chickens will do their best to find ways to entertain themselves, but there is only so much excitement they can invent before they turn to pecking their friends or eating feathers and eggs. That’s why it’s important for you as an owner to step in and make sure your flock has enough stimulation and entertainment in their run to make it through to warmer weather and longer days. For more information on how the winter weather can have an effect on your hens’ eggs, take a read of our How Long Can Chicken Eggs Stay in the Coop? blog.
Here are some suggestions on how you can keep your chickens fit, healthy and entertained this winter:
One of the best things you can do to enrich your hens environment is to invest in a range of perches. Perching is an extremely relaxing and stimulating activity for chickens, and having perches at different heights in the run will make their day much more exciting.
Omlet’s PoleTree Chicken Perch is perfect for this. The strong vertical poles fasten to the roof of most chicken runs, and you can then accessorise with as many perches as you see fit, at any height and orientation.
Make sure there is enough space for the whole flock to perch, and customise the position of the perches to make sure they fit the age and ability of your pets. You can even create a spiral staircase for them to climb up to the top of the run when they get confident enough!
Having more space to move around on will, unsurprisingly, encourage chickens to exercise and explore. As you might not be able to let your flock free range at the moment, providing them with a bigger run is a good solution. The Omlet Walk In Run can be customised to fit the space you’ve got and will hinder all types of predators from getting to your hens. You can also accessorise it with covers to stop rain, and visits from wild birds.
If you already have a Walk In Chicken Run, remember that you can extend it at any time with easy to add panels. Use the handy extension configurator on our website to see what opportunities you have to make your run bigger!
Straw or hay bales
You might have seen your hens absolutely demolish a pile of leaves as you were raking the lawn this autumn. They hate piles and mounds, and will do their very best to level anything they can to the ground, while also looking for yummy bugs and seeds.
Place an appropriately sized bale in the run, and your chickens will immediately jump on top and peck away!
(Please note that to limit the spread of avian flu, it’s important that you get your bales from a place where they have not been in contact with wild birds or other poultry.)
Like with dogs and small children, the right toys will keep your hens occupied for hours! Chicken Peck Toys, like Omlet’s Poppy or Pendant, are slow release treat toys that randomly scatter treats, corn or grit as the chickens peck them. The Poppy is pressed into the ground and sways as it’s pecked, whereas Pendant is hung from the run or any other structure.
Give your flock a couple of peck toys to play with to minimise the risk of the dominant members of the flock having all the fun!
Of course you don’t want your chickens to overeat at a time when they are not as active as they might be during the warmer months, and providing hens with a balanced diet is the best thing you can do to keep them fit and healthy. With that being said, occasionally giving them high quality goodies can help them stay warm, while also activating their mind and bodies.
The Feldy Pecker balls fit perfectly into the Caddi Chicken Treat Holders, which can be hung from the roof of your run, or a high perch. As the chickens peck the tasty balls, the Caddi will swing and create a rewarding challenge for your flock – it will keep them going for hours!
This entry was posted in Chickens