Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tips to fight the frost


We three hens
Despite the blue sky and sunshine, it’s minus 2 outside today and everything is frozen solid. Although this is far from the worst of the winter weather, prolonged periods of freezing temperatures can make life a little tough for chickens. So here are my top 10 tips for surviving the snow and frost.
Rub vaseline onto combs and wattles
  • Carry out any necessary repairs needed to ensure that your coop is dry and draft free.
  • Feed corn an hour before your hens go to roost. It will help them generate heat as they digest it through the night.
  • Rub Vaseline onto chicken combs to prevent frost bite in extremely cold weather. Also keep an eye on breeds with feathered heads or feet to make sure they don’t freeze up when wet.
  • Put extra straw on the floor of the coop and around roosting areas to keep in the heat.
  • Use a dull emitter light bulb to reduce the temperature drop in the coop without emitting light.
  • Place electric heating plates under water hoppers to prevent them from freezing over.
  • Clear snow away from the door of the coop to encourage your birds to get out and about.
Keep an eye on wet feathers
  • Provide a covered area with perches to allow hens to exercise while keeping them dry and off the cold ground.
  • Clear snow from areas of grass to allow them access to vegetation. If this isn’t possible, hanging broccoli up in their run or other covered area will give the birds some much needed greens, as well as stimulation.
  • Ensure ad-lib feed and provide additional feed stations to ensure nutritional needs are met and reduce competition amongst hungry birds.
Access to greenery is important
If anyone else has their own favourite tips for coping with the cold, please feel free to share them.

3 comments:

  1. That Poland is just gorgeous! I have Polands and in the winter I keep an old hairdryer in the shed for soaked heads! The hens are all used to being blasted and enjoy the warmth.

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  2. Haha! thats a great idea Eve. My hens also love the hair dryer. A micro-fibre towel is good for drying them off too. It's just started snowing here so it looks like a cold wet time ahead for my chickens!

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  3. We had a frizzle Poland with deformed feathers and she was nearly bald on her back. We made her a little coat from an old jeans pocket! It looked daft but at least she was warm!

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