Getting your chickens in shape for winter
Fit and healthy chickens are better equipped to cope with bad weather, so check them over carefully.
Deal quickly with any signs of
external parasites. Some can breed
even in cool weather, and will
severely weaken the chickens.
Don’t forget internal parasites –
autumn is an ideal time to dose with
Flubenvet.
Sudden changes in weather condi-
tions can cause stress to chickens,
and affect their immune systems.
Adding unpasteurised apple cider
vinegar to their drinking water one
week in every month will give them
a boost. Use a plastic drinker and
add 20ml vinegar to each litre of
water.
Battening down the
hatches
Before winter takes hold, inspect your
henhouse thoroughly. Is it watertight
and well-insulated? Is the roof sound
and angled to shed water? A wooden
house might need re-proofing. See
that doors, windows and ventilation
openings fit and function properly.
Make sure there are no gaps for the
wind to whistle through.
If the weather permits, scrub and
disinfect the henhouse too – but only
if you can be sure it will be dry by
evening.
Predators and rodents are hungry in
winter, making them more prepared to
take chances. Ensure house and run are really secure from large and small uninvited guests. Foxes
have been known to turn swivel catches, so replace them with bolts. Nest-boxes and pop-hole doors
are often weak points.
Replace any catches with bolts
Check chickens carefully before winter
Continued over ...
Anne has a new book out on 16 Jan next year
called ‘A Family Guide to Keeping Chickens,’
published by ‘How To Books’ (an imprint of
Constable & Robinson). You can pre-order a
copy now on Amazon!