Healthy chickens are quite hardy in normal winter weather conditions, here are some tips to help keep them happy in winter:
- Combs and wattles are susceptible to frost bite damage during freezing weather, smear with Vaseline to prevent this from happening.
- Pieces of carpet or an old duvet on top of the hen-house roof will stop heat escaping. Avoid covering ventilation holes and make sure ventilation is above head height. Remove before the onset of spring to avoid harbouring red mite.
- Check drinkers regularly during very cold weather, they’re likely to freeze quickly.
- Feed warm wet mash in the morning, this can be done by mixing layers mash with slightly cooled boiled water into suitable bowls. I use large ceramic dog bowls. Check the temperature with your finger before feeding!
- Feed a little mixed corn as an afternoon treat just before shutting your hens up for the night. Corn provides a boost of energy to help keep them warm on a cold winters night.
- Spread an extra thick layer of straw or bedding on the coop floor, make sure the coop is clear of droppings and watertight.
- Add Life-Guard to the drinking water, it’s a tonic and vitamin boost for chickens which is helpful during cold weather and the moult.
- Be extra vigilant with foxes. They’re likely to be hungry during difficult weather conditions making chickens more at risk than normal, even during the day.
Thank you to Ex Battery Hens forum members, Sue Presley and Linda Grier for kind permission to use their photos.