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Spring chickens: top seasonal tips for hen owners

Spring chickens – how to prepare for the new season

Ahhh, spring. The season of hope and rebirth, when the days finally get longer, the flowers begin to sprout and the sunshine might just make an appearance (no promises though). As we emerge from the long winter months, the change of seasons is a welcome one. But have you ever wondered how the seasonal shift affects your hens? From laying to lice, we’ve got the lowdown on how to help your hens spring into the new season.  

Don’t feed them grass clippings

We get tonnes of calls to our Hen Helpline on this one and it’s hardly surprising, given that now is the time when most people take advantage of the dry weather and start shaping up their lawns. Whilst grass can hold some nutritional value for your hens in small helpings, feeding freshly mown grass clippings to them is a big no, no.  

Mowing your grass immediately starts the breaking down process, so, if eaten, clippings can cause issues such as diarrhoea and crop impaction. In addition, the length and sheer quantity of clippings is likely to be too much for your girls – who could become seriously ill if they gorge on it.  

Find out more about grass for hens here. 

Mother Hens

The warmer weather can act as biological trigger to some hens and you may notice some odd behaviour. Broodiness is typically characterised by your hen wanting to stay put in her nest box and putting up quite a fight should you try to remove her. Being broody is perfectly natural and should last no more than a few weeks – the time it takes to hatch eggs.  

You can help your hen by regularly collecting eggs and encouraging her to leave the nest box to eat and drink. Keeping her underside cool will help to reduce her core temperature, too. 

For more information on broody hens take a look here. 

Sunny side up

At the beginning of March, the number of daylight hours in the UK creeps its way up to around twelve. By the end of April, it’s edging closer to fifteen. The longer days mean more light and more time outside for our feathered friends. Both of which are great news for them and great news for you, if you look forward to your daily egg collection. The combination of light and warmer weather mean that your girls are pumping less energy into keeping toasty and have more available for producing eggs. How eggciting! 

Watch out for unwelcome visitors

Unfortunately, it’s not just hens and humans who enjoy the spring temperatures. Warm spells also bring an increase in lice and mites. A good spring clean of your coop and routine checking and handling of your chickens will help you to keep on top of things.  

Do you want to know more about the fascinating lives of hens? Or are you keen to learn about hen health and welfare? Then head here for more articles. 

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