Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tips on Winterizing Your Chicken Coop And Caring For The Chickens

Giving your chickens a nice feeing of warm cooked oatmeal in the morning and cracked corn before bed gives them something to digest during the night keeping them warmer. And they do love these treats.
Just like humans, chickens can and do get bored and stir crazy, especially in the winter months. They love it when I hang a head of cabbage or romain lettuce on a string in the coop. They go wild pecking at it while it bobs around. It makes me feel happy that i am trying to do something for them to keep them busy.
If you are worried about your girls not having enough space in the coop, you can build a kind of cold frame or greenhouse addition to your coop, covering it in clear plastic. They will wander out into it and have a bit more space on nice days, and giving them needed time out of the coop.

In the coldest winter climates, you may find that breeds with large combs and wattles are prone to frostbite. To protect them, you can smear their combs and wattles with petroleum jelly. However, if your chickens do get frostbite, it is usually just the tips of the combs that are affected, and they don’t seem to be any worse for the wear - but it can look a little icky.
Chickens don’t like snow.Generally speaking, once temperatures are in the 20 degree F range, chickens (mine, anyway) won’t walk out onto snow. You can scatter hay or straw on the ground and this will make it more palatable for them. And I find when it’s in the low 30s, they don’t seem to mind walking on the snow as much.
Check the health of your birds. Any health issues will be exacerbated by the cold weather. Treat any ailments, keep waterers and feeders topped off so their immune systems are at their peak.

Check out Nutrena Feed, that is the brand I use for everything for my chickens.
Things to do:
Clean and disinfect feeders, waterers and perches
- Healthy birds require a clean environment. Wash away any microorganisms that have grown happy in the warm weather.
- Perches and laying boxes are often forgotten during cleaning. Birds spend a lot of time in these places and bacteria are plentiful! Don’t forget these spots.
Muck out and deep-bed your coop
- Remove the bedding you use in your coop and replace with a thick layer of pine shavings, sawdust or straw.
- Pile the bedding up against the walls or leave a few bales of straw in your coop so if you need to remove some bedding during the winter during cleaning, you don’t have to haul fresh bedding in.
- Piles of straw provide a warm place for chickens to cuddle through the coldest weather.
- Don’t forget to place straw or other bedding in the nesting boxes. Soft, dried grass makes a great (free!) nest that protects eggs from cracking.
Feed and supplement your birds correctly- Chickens need a source of calcium and protein all year, so don’t neglect providing oyster shells in winter.
- To stimulate the scratching instinct and keep birds entertained, provide scratch grains periodically.
- To beat boredom, consider adding a Scratch Block to the coop for a healthy distraction!
Check for drafts
- Drafts can cause respiratory problems and sickness in your flock.
- Check for drafts where your chickens roost and spend most of their time when in the coop.
- Make any repairs to your chickens’ house while the weather is still fair.
Set up any heat lamps and water heaters
-  Develop a plan so your chickens have access to fresh, unfrozen water 24 hours a day.
- Frozen water isn’t any fun. Set up your heating devices early so you’re prepared and safe.

Some of this Information is from :

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