It’s November, which means it’s almost time for the chilly weather to arrive. Now is the ideal time to double-check that you have all of the resources you’ll need to keep your flock safe and happy during winter. Here are a couple of things to double-check:
You’ll want to make sure that your coop has enough airflow. While it’s natural to want to keep your birds warm, you must be cautious. Because of the high ammonia concentration in chicken dung, there is a greater risk of condensation in a coop. It’s an unpleasant and harmful condition when condensation collects on the coop’s ceiling and drops down onto the birds’ heads!
Another concern with ammonia levels is that hens have delicate respiratory systems, so they might suffer breathing difficulties if the coop is not properly ventilated. The most essential thing you can do for your birds throughout the winter is to keep the coop draft-free yet well-ventilated.
Heating the coop is not a smart idea. Heating the coop can actually weaken the chickens since they have built-in protections against the cold. If you decide to heat your coop, proceed with caution and thorough study.
If you keep your birds on a run, make sure you have plenty of material to distribute around, such as straw or hay. Because it’s crucial to keep the birds’ feet dry, you’ll want to keep the mud covered. The litter material also acts as a form of insulation, reducing the danger of frostbite.
Both the run and the coop should be double-checked for security. During the winter months, fat, happy hens are more tempting to hungry predators. Check for any potential weak spots and make any required repairs.
When the weather becomes colder, you may want to change your feeding schedule. If the birds have full bellies, it helps them remain warm. Many people find that a light morning meal followed by a bigger afternoon feeding is sufficient.
Frozen water is a problem in extremely cold places. Birds require constant access to clean, thawed water. Some individuals maintain the water in a liquid condition with an electric water warmer, while others just change it more regularly. When the temperature drops below freezing, you’ll want to keep a careful check on your birds’ water.
A Few Words About Eggs
Winter is a natural time for chickens to lay fewer eggs. With fewer eggs, you’ll have more energy to stay warm and healthy. It also provides some relaxation for the hen, allowing her body to recoup and prepare for the following season of strong egg production.
Some individuals use lighting and timers to keep their birds laying throughout the winter. It takes a lot of extra labour and effort to keep such a system running, but if you need a lot of eggs in the winter, it can be worth it.