winter chores for the hen house folks

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muntjac

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winter chores for the hen house folks
« on: November 15, 2006, 22:17 »
ok its winter ( or supposed to be   ) the egg production is down now with the shorter days .some of your birds will be still laying enough i hope to keep you ticking over in the kitchen depending on how many you have to start with of course i have 183 at present and still getting 4 dozen eggs a day or thereabouts so im ticking along nicely. but now is the time we should be looking at making sure our birds are well prepared for what the winter may throw at us ,what we do not want again here at the most easterly point is a another year like 1996 , we had minus 14c and windchill of minus -30 reported  the losses to wildlife  was masive here i was feeding corn ( wheat barley crushed maize to my pheasants just for them to be able to survive this time but still we found birds frozen to death laying in the ice and snow , chicken and poultry keepers fared no better whole flocks of backyard birds dead, ducks frozen to the ice sheep dead in snowdrifts .so i took a big lesson from my dad during those weeks as during the 1963 weather  he had saved all of his birds with no losses at all . how wel he prepared well in advance . he knew the weather was coming heeding warnings  he put bales of straw around the hens house  stretched tarps over these to shelter the houses, the hens lived in a hen house within a bale house, his ducks he moved indoors as well as the turkeys geese . water birds can get very stressed out during confinement so he catered for that by building a small resoivoir with bales and railway sleepers and a waterproof sheet  few planks to let them in and out the birds did thier prison time content . so why am i waffling , well now before the weather does turn crappy get the hens  houses sorted .druaghts are the biggest killers of hens ,so make sure that is sorted . build a wind break now to the coop door . use a pallet or 2 to make a wind baffle .face the opening to the south . look to leave extra feed out on the very coldest of nights .the action of turning corn to poop creates enegy ie warmth if neccasry run a light lead to the coop , the birds will rest with a light on as they will in the dark, the heat from that single bulb in a 1oft by 6ft shed will raise the temperature a few degrees. . dont forget the water drinkers they will freeze . and do not for crist sakes do what i know one novice keeper did and pult a hand ful of salt in the water thinking that it would keep the ice off .. it didnt but he had no birds to worry about anyways as he poisoned them . another thing you want to be doing is putting a coat of paint or preservative on the sheds. checking glass in windows ,does it rattle ?if it does then that is a draught the birds can do without .  double check your door bolts locks etc . foxes get very hungry in winter .
 You may have bred your own birds this last season so take up your brooder pens and give them a clean out with jeyes and a spruce up with a coat of paint etc ..nows the time rats wil come in from the fileds and dykes and try to take up residence under your sheds ,dont just look at the under floor look in the roof as well. if you have someplace where you can do this  cleanup work undercover ,you may be able to convert pallets into new brooder pens and runs as i do .they sell as well in the spring  :wink: . oh and for a book on building small poultry sheds for the beginner  can i recommend the following the golden cockerel series
poultry house construction by micheal roberts ,
isbn9780947870218
my kids bought me this  because they thought ishould get some designer pens built for yuppees and these with a multi coloured lick of paint or posh yacht varnish would compete with the new plastic rubbish argo or arko or whatever they call them and im glad to say with a little bit of freedom to change things they do ,,,at less than half the cost of commercial sheds ,and the plastic stuff :wink:  regs karl
still alive /............

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spud

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winter chores for the hen house folks
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2006, 22:49 »
Great post...got me to thinking!

 :)
Best Regards,

spud

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becky

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winter chores for the hen house folks
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2006, 16:31 »
:D Thanks for the advice, last year we struggled with the cold, the idea of the straw bales sounds good, I may move in with my chooks at this rate!!!
Peas out!

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Zak the Rabbit

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winter chores for the hen house folks
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2006, 15:51 »
Smashing advice, thanks.

Im a quarter way through building my henhouse (from pallets), and being the sort of person i am its P for Plenty as far as construction goes, doubt even the RE sappers could get in let alone foxes, but i'll still be going and checking it over a few times to make sure. Im waiting for the gash on me neck to heal as well, i stood up inside it and got caught on one of the planks sticking out

Its got me thinking re: windbreaks - im putting a mesh grill ventilation in, but think i may put a drop board around it as well so theres no direct path for the wind.

need more nails now though...


Martin
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the rabbit of caerbannogg



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