Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Poultry and Pets => The Hen House => Topic started by: Winter Tips on November 24, 2008, 14:15

Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Winter Tips on November 24, 2008, 14:15
This is a thread around a few things that I do to try and make sure my birds are as happy in winter as they are the rest of the year. Some of these things I have picked up from others on here.
Please add your bits too!  :D  :D Or perhaps a few wintery photos :?:

The weather..

Chooks cope pretty well with the cold,  to help them build up a good body temperature on cold nights I feed mixed corn in the afternoon. I also add a crushed clove of garlic and ACV in their water to help keep bugs away and  to help maintain a healthy gut. I know there are vitamins and supplements out there but I personally feel if the everything else is in place they really shouldn't need them, but thats just me. :D  Finally on the feed front I make sure that the feeders are inside the henhouse but that's because we live close to open fields and dont want to encourage mice and rats! :?
Chooks still need water - so make sure that they have access at all times -sometimes in very cold spells I pop a small drinker inside in case it freezes over later.

It also helps to make sure that the henhouse is the right size for the number of chooks. Chickens will huddle close to keep warm so too few birds in a large shed will mean it is harder to maintain body heat. A blob of vaseline rubbed into the larger combs and wattles will prevent frostbite.

Good ventilation is vital as the chooks will be inside for far longer that those longer halcyon summer days so air must be allowed to circulate without causing a bitter cold draft, chooks cope  very well with low temperatures but a cold draft  whistling through the henhouse can kill. Make sure that ventilation is not situated at perch level.

Bedding should be clean and dry at all times to avoid respiratory problems and damp bedding may harbour bacteria. I use dust extracted straw in the nestboxes (I put in a little extra this time of year) plus good quality wood shavings in the rest of the house. I also like easibed as an alternative to wood shavings as is very absorbant.The chooks will thank you for it particulary if it is wet outside!

Check that the henhouse is secure inside and out, and no tale tale signs of "gnawing" from rats, or possible loose boards or unsecure bolts for a hungry fox to gain entry. This is also a good time to prime a rat trap or two!

Outside..

If your site is very exposed (like mine)try to build wind shelters for them, here are some examples. I have found hazel hurdling scrounged from a timber merchants brilliant and was very cheap.
The landrover hood works well too! :D
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Winter Tips on November 28, 2008, 15:07
Water drinker heating pads -these are quite useful if you have access to mains or maybe can fix up to a battery.

Water Heaters (http://www.chicken-house.co.uk/cgi-bin/affiliate/clickme.cgi?exec=lowcost&site=site1&fd=acatalog/Electric_Drinker_Heater.html)

Automatic Door Openers (http://www.chicken-house.co.uk/cgi-bin/affiliate/clickme.cgi?exec=lowcost&site=site1&fd=acatalog/automatic-chicken-door-openers.html)

the door openers are useful in case you cant get back  home in time to lock those chooks up.

Maltilda Duck - I use gravel or type 1 then covered with a deep layer of wood chips then topped with bark so its nice and soft on their feet! :D
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: compostqueen on November 30, 2008, 11:42
I picked up all my girls in turn this morning (not to difficult as I've only got three  :lol: )and applied Vaseline to their wattles, combs and ear tips. They seemed to like it and sat under arm as good as gold  :D

Very, very cold here today, everything is frozen solid, including me  :D
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Roll Roll on December 02, 2008, 08:29
We have a kids paddling pool for our ducks which the chooks drink out of. So far we havent had a problem with ice, but my father in law keeps fish in his pond. To stop the ice covering it completley he floats a ball on top of it. If their is a slight breeze the ball will move to stop ice forming, if it has frozen over just remove the ball to expose the water. I know¬  this wont be of much use to most of you as you may have water bottles. I know it's an old idea which you all know, but just in case. Thanks for the tips foxy, we are still learning ourselfs.
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Aunty on December 02, 2008, 08:35
I use  a fish tank heater in my girls drinking water in the coldest of weather  (tip from Munty).  

You have to be careful to allow it to cool right down before putting it back into the fresh water though as it can break if you don't !
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: unaspenser on December 02, 2008, 15:27
Thanks for the great tips!  Any suggestions about providing light for them to keep them laying?  My girls aren't laying at all any more.  We've hung a bulb in their yard area but it doesn't seem to stop them going down for the night as soon as it gets dark out.
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Foxy on December 02, 2008, 17:23
You would need to extend light at both the beginning of the day and the end,although it sounds like they have already slowed right down for the winter.

One thing to bear in mind that each hen is born with a finite number of eggs and by laying prolifically early in life will just use them up more quickly-this is a typical of  commercial hybrid hens. Laying is a strain on the birds and it uses a lot of calcium through the laying season, so a lot of peeps prefer to give them a bit of a natural break over the winter months :wink:

look HERE (http://www.roosterbooster.co.uk/) for an example of a lighting system to prolong laying, expensive but does give an idea of the general principles
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: unaspenser on December 03, 2008, 14:28
Thanks for the tips, Foxy.  I guess it's probably best to let them do their own thing and take a break.  I have one Dorking and two White-Faced Black Spanish, and we bought them at the worst time of year (in September mid-molt).  We haven't had a single egg from them, but they're still charming and a good source of fertilizer...
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Njal on December 04, 2008, 13:23
Thanks, useful tips.
I was worried our hens were getting cold so I have been putting more straw in their bedding area.
A bit of a pain to clean out but I think it should provide more insulation.

As for extra light - ours haven't slowed down at all yet!
Still an egg each a day and we're not far off midwinter.

Oh, the worst thing about winter hen keeping so far (my first chickeny winter) seems to be not being able to let them out as much. Also, having to slosh through a freezing and soggy garden at 7am in dressing gown to let them out and feed them. Brrr.
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Kazoo on December 06, 2008, 22:06
I have a hen house for 10 birds but only have 3, so during the cold weather I use a cardboard box filled with straw inside the house to reduce the area and hopefully keep the girls warmer.  Once the weather warms up I just remove it .  I also use thick cardboard from boxes to insulate the inside of the house and the base of the nest boxes (where the girls sleep during winter) and put in loads of extra straw (which they take great delight in sorting out each night).  When its really cold the straw bales come out for external insulation.
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hippy hen on December 16, 2008, 22:27
thank you Foxy for you info on keeping the chicks warm. i have done most of the tips already, but will have to see to the air vent(it is a natural one ie, a wood knot hole.) as it is mid front i will divert the airflow. my real prob is i let my hen wander the garden. nipping next door and even over the wall to the farm(there is a handsome male there, one crow from him and they go full pelt down the garden, over the wall and into the barn out of sight. such hussys.) they seem happy and come and peck and jump at the conservetory doors when they want their corn, then they go off to bed and i shut them up for the night. i know there are foxes around the area but am unable to afford elect fence and if i could we have cats around frequently. do you think that it would be better to have a small run for them in the winter months? also this week it rained all day and although they could shelter on the porch of the summer house, they still wondered around in the wet and looked drownd, in the finish i wiped them down with a towl and shut them in their hen house with a good feed of corn, was that right or wrong?
they are laying eggs as if its a new craze. ie, 12 eggs in one week and there are only two hens..... thats no yolk!! two days of which i get three eggs.  help.       ps why dosnt hen poo freeze on frosty mornings?
Title: chooks in winter
Post by: morganmarni on December 17, 2008, 21:28
Foxy, any tips on keepin the water liquid, we've no access to power for heat pads and we get thick frosts up here, do ya have to do anything woth the garlic before they eat it, are fishing maggots ok for them to eat as a treat, i've heard they like bread in the winter but been told too much can be bad for them, your tips and advice will be much appreciated  :roll:
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Foxy on December 17, 2008, 22:34
when its really frosty I empty the waterer pm and fill up in the morning to prevent them cracking, also I often keep a drinker in the coop, i have large henhouses with plenty of room in them so easy to do so.
Garlic I just crush a clove and pop in a drinker. Maggots OK if they like them, useful source of protein when moulting.
Bread they love -I give them a little wholemeal as a treat -but I avoid white bread contains nothing of value and may ferment if it the birds have not enough grit to move it through their crop.
Hippy Hen -what I have seen work really well is a "saggy" fence leaning outwards, foxes dont like to climb up flimsy structures and do apreciate a leg up from nice solid fencing! A friend of mine uses that without any problems, although he is around during the day to keep an eye on things -but works for him.
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: happy chick on January 02, 2009, 15:57
During this recent very cold spell I've been looking after neighbour's two chickens and the plastic poultry drinker that he uses (the mushroom shaped ones with water at the top going into bottom saucer) has frozen completely.  I gave up with these drinkers from day one because my girls kept knocking them over and instead use a sturdy plastic very shallow seed tray/ old baking tray.  This water tray has had a very thin layer of ice on top in the mornings but a coupla pokes of the finger and the water underneath is fine.  It hasn't frozen back up during the day and keeps the birds supplied with necessary water.  

I don't know why the seed tray doesn't ice up completely like the mushroom drinkers, perhaps surface area of water greater? Anyway, I know I'm in a milder area of the country than most but if others are having freezing water problems maybe try a shallower drinking trough with greater surface area??!!!  :D
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Ygerna on January 05, 2009, 20:23
Ive been using one of these in my chickens drinking water container.

http://www.oscardehn.com/motherandchild/handwarmers.asp

I top the water up in the morning, then late morning I activate the handwarmer and pop it into the water container. It seems to keep it from freezing, then when I shut them up for the night, I take it out, and re-activate it ready for the next day. Seems to be working, the water was still clear when I went out tonight to shut them in.
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Patricia7455 on January 13, 2009, 17:05
I have been wondering how chicken keepers have been managing with the very severe temperatures lately - it reached -10 at night in our area. Do you cover up your hen houses with something?
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Foxy on January 13, 2009, 18:00
Hi Patrica, personally I dont as chooks are very hardy. What you can do is wedge a few few straw bales around the house if really exposed and if the windchill brings the temp down.
You can pop extra woodshavings in and a layer of straw on top to create insulation. Be careful not to block ventilation holes of as this may create damp bedding from the chooks breathing caused by condensation. Saying that chooks are really quite hardy if in a healthy condition. A small handful each of mixed corn will also help warm them-bit like us eating a bowl of Ready Brek! :D
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: poultrygeist on January 13, 2009, 19:13
Being a smart alec, I positioned our hen house in a corner, shielded by the shed and hedge. Plus it's beautifully constructed ( :roll: ) of course.

Some of the cheaper ones on ebay or similar look a bit on the thin and flimsy side so they may be struggling in the very cold.

One afternoon last week, while I was poo-picking, the poo was in frozen lumps but the door had been open all day below freezing  :shock:

Rob 8)
Title: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Patricia7455 on January 14, 2009, 09:09
Quote from: "poultrygeist"
Being a smart alec, I positioned our hen house in a corner, shielded by the shed and hedge. Plus it's beautifully constructed ( :roll: ) of course.

Some of the cheaper ones on ebay or similar look a bit on the thin and flimsy side so they may be struggling in the very cold.

One afternoon last week, while I was poo-picking, the poo was in frozen lumps but the door had been open all day below freezing  :shock:

Rob 8)


Some of the cheaper houses have walls only 12mm in thickness.  Is this thick enough? I thought that 19mm was the right thickness, having said that not all the more expensive houses specify how thick the walls are.

As always, thank you all for your replies. It's useful to have the feedback.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Steevie on February 16, 2009, 20:22
Do you have any ideas for 240volt hen house lighting, just a small chicken coop with 4 chickens. I have read about the 12volt battery type lighting but they initial outlay is quite expensive, and I don't see the point of a 12volt system when I have mains electic anyway. I would just like details of bulb power and size etc, and timers.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: poultrygeist on February 16, 2009, 20:36
Hi stevie. Welcome to the forum.  :)

Bear in mind that any mains electrical work outdoors should be carried out by a suitably qualified person.

The beauty of 12v is that you can do all your own wiring and not risk any dangerous faults. Could you use a transformer/rectifier from your mains to bring down to 12vdc ?

What purpose is the lighting for ??

Rob 8)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: poultrygeist on February 16, 2009, 20:39
err over to Poultrygeist on that one! :D

I missed this before. Sorry  ::)

I shouldn't think there'd be a lot of temperature difference between 12mm and 19mm. As Foxy said, they're hardy and you can add some additional insulation if it's really cold.
I think the 12mm is more at risk of warping and cracking than anything.

Rob 8)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: chech221 on March 05, 2009, 06:06
hi all.now ive had 15 hens now since boxing day and over last 3 months ive used a tilly lamp parrifin left it burning over night and its kept my hens nice and warm ideal for me also as i work nights and go into the hen house  at half 5 and warm up as this morning its minus 5,the shed has vents to let the fumes out so no danger there but id reccomend it, also ive just made a log burner out of an old gas bottle hoping to get it fitted in at the weekend as i have to fit a 6inche pipe thru the roof for the chimney then burn it thru the day while the hens are out.and im getting 15 eggs a day with just a tilly lamp so they must be happy,but il try the vaseline on the combs,not sure my cockerel will let me as hes very protective over the hens goes for me quite a lot luckilly his claws are all short,hasnt manged to attack me yet but im sure he will eventually,so if anyone has any tips of stopping him attacking as ive 3 kids 12,11,10,any advice would be gratefull.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: poultrygeist on March 05, 2009, 07:37
Hi chech221.

That's one chilly shed you've got !  :blink:

Whereabouts in the arctic circle are you ??  :D
I've not heard of anyone needing to heat their henhouse before. They have excellent insulation built in and should be able to survive all but the coldest of nights. Unless of course, you're in a particularly cold spot. :unsure:

Can't offer advice on the cockerel I'm afriad, other than what I've read from others.
If you can, pin him down a few times and hold him for a minute or two, until he calms down. If you keep doing that, he's supposed to show some respect. But you'll get some better advice soon. :)

Rob 8)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: chech221 on March 07, 2009, 14:21
hi i live near bishop auckland an yes it does get cold, over summer we have had snow here in 28 degree temps,thats y i thought of fitting a log burner burn it thru the day and let in burn down overnight so keeping the water from freezing too also i can heat my grreenhouse with it too.but thanks for the tip il try it over the last few days hes been ok hasnt attacked me but hes only doing his job but i dnt want the kids getting attacked our lass would make me kill him and im trying to get him to mate so i can have ago at raising some chics. so i have about 25 hens as ive plenty of room for them.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: beulah59 on September 07, 2009, 08:36
Putting some glycerine in the water should stop it freezing unless it gets really, really cold ...
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: lightyears on September 07, 2009, 14:06
old post i know, just reading about keeping the water liquid. My other main hobbie is breading and selling rare breed tropical fish, obviously when i send them out i have to keep them at 25C or so in the packaging for up to 2 or 3 days, i use pads very similar to back ache pads which warm up when exposed to air, i wonder if this could be implemented in a poultry situation to keep the water feeder from frozen. they stay warm in a fish pack for 3 days, so one frosty nite would probably be all they are worth, but it must be worth a try for the none electrical folks like me.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Foxy on November 30, 2009, 22:13
Around here the temp is dropping, they reckon on -3 tonight, so a good time to have another look at this sticky!

Please feel free to share any of your top tips or experiences this time of year :) :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on December 01, 2009, 06:59
well this morning at 05.30 we had a nice crisp frost so may start making my porridge up (with water) for the girls today.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: lightyears on December 01, 2009, 17:51
had a hard frost last night, weather thing i have at allotment recorded -3 as lowest last night. The chickens are fine, i put more hemicore in today to make a deeper roosting area, plus i have installed polystyrene in the coops roof(breathable of course). its pretty toasty in there now.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on December 02, 2009, 00:36
Putting some glycerine in the water should stop it freezing unless it gets really, really cold ...

I don't know about gycerine and I've not heard anyone recommend this in the past, but don't use antifreeze as it's highly toxic.

HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on December 02, 2009, 04:16
A few Winter tips.

You've probably noticed it gets dark in an evening and it's a good idea to install some lighting so you can see.  This is best and most economically done by installing it on your head. You can use a head torch such as the LED Lenser head torch.  These are great, allowing hands free use, high powered, lightweight and cheap to run if you invest in some AAA rechargable (GP 1000mah ) batteries.  They last upto 50 hours use supposedly, and although I've never checked this, they certainly last a long time on one charge.   They are so useful for lots of jobs, for example should you in an emergency need to deliver a baby on a dark night.  I use mine every night though not of course always for delivering babies but mostly for locking up my chx.  see http://www.tooled-up.com/ManProduct.asp?PID=132241 .  The LED LASER three LED model is the one to go for.   A great stocking filler.

Have you ever settled down on a dark cold rainy night to watch your favourite TV programme and then thought "did I close the pophole"?  If you can see the house from the back door and the pophole has a drop down door you can fit a rigid wire to the door and take it up through a vine eye on the roof.  Fix something visible to the top of the wire to act as a flag such as a high visibility strip or bicycle reflector and with a torch you can check if the flags up or down without putting on the waterproofs and wellies.  Another reflector fixed to the roof might be required to act as a reference point if the house is a long way off.  If you have a porch over the pophole entrance, the wire can be used to raise and lower the door too.

To combat mud, use a duck board mat in front of the pophole and provide a covered "porch" tunnel in front of the door, if it's an ark type.  Helps to keep the entrance dry and mud out of the house

Use duck boards made from pallets sawn in half (lengthways) and painted with a preservative as a walk way for chx and you.  Composted tree shreddings are useful to cover the muddy areas. Cheaply available from tree surgeons.  Don't neglect those autumn leaves for this purpose either.

Empty or take inside drinkers at night to prevent freezing.  Make dark (black) polythene covers for then using dampproof course sheeting or similar heavy duty polythene taped up with duct tape or similar cloth reinforced sticky tape.  Use these to absorb the heat from the sun during the day and it also helps to insulate them and hold the heat in to some extent.

Don't use open flame heaters in the house as these are fire hazards with chx and they don't need heat in any but the most sever weather.  An old waterproof horse rug thrown over the roof keeps the rain and condensation off, making the house warmer, and helps with insulation and protecting the house.

Corrugated bitumen roof panels set on a wood frame on short posts (don't forget to set them at an angle to shed rain) make good rain shelters.  Adding a wall on the windy side and a curtain of weed fabric cut into ribbons along the other sides makes a good wind and rain break.  Hang your feeders under them to keep dry, so make them high enough to do this.

Best wishes
HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: gcb on December 02, 2009, 16:11
I see you have wood bark for the chickens foxy. I was thinking of using some in my run this winter. How do you keep it clean?
Thanks for all the tips everyone - i will be making some porridge tomorrow.
geoff
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on December 02, 2009, 16:12
Don't forget to make it with water and not too much  :)
I only give mine it when it's frosty or snowy  :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on December 02, 2009, 17:50
Don't forget to make it with water and not too much  :)
I only give mine it when it's frosty or snowy  :)

Why do you say with water Joy, is it because you don't think chx should have dairy products? I'm dubious of giving milk too though I note many people advocate giving them yogurt, a practise I'm not sure about.

Regards
HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on December 02, 2009, 17:54
Ideally no dairy but at a push a probiotic yoghurt if they are very ill just to get the good bacteria into their guts - but ideally you would be better using Avipro.  :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Foxy on December 02, 2009, 18:14
I see you have wood bark for the chickens foxy. I was thinking of using some in my run this winter. How do you keep it clean?
Thanks for all the tips everyone - i will be making some porridge tomorrow.
geoff

It depends on the size of your run and how many chooks you have within any given area. I used type 1 (builders aggregate) on the base tamped down with a wacker plate. Roughly 3 inches of wood chip topped off with wood bark/mulch covering to make it soft. This drains really well. I only change twice a year, by scraping the top layer of(makes a fab compost!) and renewing in the spring and autumn.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: gcb on December 03, 2009, 21:25
Can you tell me where you get wood chip/bark/mulch/ My garden is so boggy at the  moment, with all the rain, that moving my 10ft run to the ark every couple of weeks is out of the question. I have put the coup and the run on a concrete path through the garden in the hope I can leave it there until my grass may hopefully grow again. I thought putting bark type stuff on the path would be an idea to put in this semi permanent run rather than the laysoft that is in the hutch - both of which may be better than the plain concrete in there at the moment.
geoff
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Bonniebean on December 03, 2009, 22:27
I found a local tree surgeon who  supplies it free, just comes over and tips it on the driveway. It's worth a couple of phone calls -saves quite a bit and it's brilliant stuff. It will have greenery in it though!
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on December 03, 2009, 23:17
I found a local tree surgeon who  supplies it free, just comes over and tips it on the driveway. It's worth a couple of phone calls -saves quite a bit and it's brilliant stuff. It will have greenery in it though!

It's safer if it has composted a while rather than green.  It could contain yew for example which is highly toxic or other toxic material and you don't want the chx eating it.  Worth asking your supplier if he knows what it contains and compost it until it's not palitable to your chx. before you use it.

Regards
HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Bonniebean on December 04, 2009, 08:06
Thanks Hillfooter, did give that consideration! Fortunately he keeps chickens himself and will only provide what is suitable for the girls. Sue
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: leddenton on January 09, 2010, 10:27
Having read on her re adding hot water to pelletts I tried it out this morning. They tucked in really well, ate much more breakfast than normal.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: mattb on January 11, 2010, 09:49
Just signed up to the forum and wanted to say thanks for all the advice I have just read.  Where can i get glycerine to stop water freezing?

cheers
mattb
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Foxy on January 11, 2010, 11:02
The amount you would need -( I have heard 5ml per litre) I think you to buy from a chemist. Not used it myself though but a few people I know have tried out of desperation!
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on January 11, 2010, 22:40
I'd be wary about adding glycerine as it is a laxative and might upset your chx digestion and in any case the reports I've seen don't indicate it's a very effective antifreeze.

If you have problems with water freezing during the day when you can't change it try heating some bricks around the fire and standing your drinker on them.  The better you insulate the bricks from the ground the more effective they will be.  Use polystyrine or a bed of straw covered with a sheet of black polythene to insulate from the ground.

Cover the drinker in BLACK polythene and stand in a position where it will get the sun.  Take in the drinkers at night. and fill with warm/tepid water in the morning.

HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Step.hens on January 17, 2010, 12:37
For keeping the water from freezing up. Try using a 'Brewing Heating Belt' around the drinker circumference. may need to protect it from pecking or gnawing rodents.  Cable fed into a hosepipe would help keep things safe. RCD protection always.

I make housing and insulate my houses or hutches with paper shreddings compaced within the construction. 

Step~hens
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: gillian62 on March 06, 2010, 08:46
My chickens (which I've only had 2 weeks) love their porridge every morning.  I always put some layer pellets in it, to ensure they eat them.  I make it with water.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Trisha on June 10, 2010, 11:05
Great tips, I'll be well prepared when the winter comes.  I'm a newbie to the forum and only had my chooks 2weeks and learning from them every day.   :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: jhub on June 10, 2010, 21:54
thanks for your pearls of wisdom and I have a Q about  insulation/ wind barriers.
I have an Eglu cube but only 3 chx so they huddle in a corner. Should I place a couple of carboard boxes in the house to keep them cosy or am I being over protective?

Also some of you have suggested wind barriers for the run- I use polystyrene insulation sheets on the lower walls of the greenhouse, could i use these along one side of the run anchored with bungees? My hens have not pecked at the ones in the greenhouse so no probs with attempting to eat it.
Thanks
Jane
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on June 11, 2010, 08:27
I wouldn't use polystyrene, there is always that risk of them eating it - they may not have yet but they could in the future.
Your hens will be alright in their cube over winter they have their own duvets wrapped all around them and will still stay huddled together. If you want a wind break around your run why not use scaffold material (the green fabric stuff that people use to cover cabbages etc - loads on ebay) and fix this to the outside of your run.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: jhub on June 11, 2010, 09:04
thanks Joy
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Lola on August 05, 2010, 21:45
Thanks for the tips Foxy, i'm new to chicken keeping, so this will be my first winter with them so really helpful :D
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: kopperdrake on August 26, 2010, 13:12
After last winter being crazy-cold I added a post to our blog to show how we combatted the big freeze here in the flat windswept valleys of South Derbyshire


Some of it might prove useful - it worked for us (and more importantly, them) :)

EDIT: Please post your helpful information here kd.  We don't generally allow links to personal blogs.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: feelingbroody on August 26, 2010, 18:28
Winter!!!! winter ???? please no dont say summer is already over  :ohmy: :ohmy:
I read all the threads with great interest thank you to all who have posted on this thread, it will be my first chickenkeepingwinter  :D so all the tips have really got me prepared and thinking about the welfare of the girls in the winter time. I had heard about the light extending options to keep them in lay but I think I will let them decide what to do and if I have to go and buy a few eggs from a organic source over the winter , hey we all need a holiday  :D :D :D

Thanks peoples

Broody
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Knight Family on August 26, 2010, 22:20
Thats the problem of winter the reduced laying, but hey thats nature......

My problem is going to be keeping my water drinker from being frozen, since its a drip barrel type on three legs.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: TeaPots on November 05, 2010, 22:10
My tip for winter chooky keepers....
BUY SOME WARM PJ'S, for that early morning/late night nip outside to the chooks in PJ's and wellies  :)   :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: TeaPots on November 17, 2010, 22:54
I have just fixed a weldmesh panel as a ramp to the chook coop. Now the girls 'wipe their feet' as they go to bed. Much less mud and wet in the bedding, and it HAS TO BE good for their feet. Who wants to sleep with muddy feet in the cold.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on November 18, 2010, 00:57
My tip for winter chooky keepers....
BUY SOME WARM PJ'S, for that early morning/late night nip outside to the chooks in PJ's and wellies  :)   :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

And my tip is get an auto door control and stay in bed in your warm jimjams.
HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: TeaPots on November 18, 2010, 15:14
I would need 16 though!
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on November 18, 2010, 15:44
I would need 16 though!


But not if you are clever and build your own with just 1 controller and 16 actuators.  I need to update my how to build an auto door controller thread"  I've been too busy recently to add the last installment. 
HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: TeaPots on November 18, 2010, 16:03
Very tempting!! but Im afraid it would make me lazy. I take their fresh water out to each pen every morning, and say hello to them all (alert to any not charging eagerly out to their breakfast), then do the corn treat and egg collecting late afternoon if I am home, Then at night, I empty each drinker (its easier to fill than to defrost every morning) and carry them to the tap. I close up the coops, and top up any feeders that are low. All done, ready for the morning. I like to check they are in bed, not in a tree etc! 
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on November 18, 2010, 18:31
Like TP I let mine out every morning and love to see them come rushing out rapidly chased by the cockerels  :lol:
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: neil9797 on November 27, 2010, 23:53
I've read previously that one should rub some vaseline onto the comb and wattle to protect them from frost. But how much and how often? Just a smear seems too little but chunks of it will get very dirty, very quickly!

Thanks, N
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: penninehillbilly on November 28, 2010, 01:20
just been re-reading this thread, some very useful tips I must make notes of,
My tip is, when it's freezing, to use plastic christmas pudding bowls for water, if they do freeze they don't split with the pressure and it's easy to get the ice out because of the shape.
The most important thing is not to forget to water at least twice a day. Apparently a local farmer lost most of his flock when he didn't realise their water supply had frozen (many years ago).
I like the hand warmer idea-will try that, and the duck boards for when it thaws.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: compostqueen on November 30, 2010, 13:38
I replaced the straw bale shelter in the hen run at the weekend.  The run has an Onduline roof and most of it is covered with tarps to protect them from icy blasts. The straw bales give further protection from cold wind if they need it.  The sit on the top of it quite a lot too  :)

I smeared some Vaseline on their combs last week but I did rub it in very gently so there was no excess. They quite enjoyed it I think. You have to be very gentle though
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Aunty on November 30, 2010, 16:42
That looks very cozy CQ.  I'll bet they love their straw igloo as much as their eglu  :D
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: farmerGiles on December 02, 2010, 16:35
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: TeaPots on December 02, 2010, 22:05
Layers MASH, mixed with hot water to bread crumb consistency, and a spoonful of malt extract given warm and fresh for when they get up for breakfast. layers pellets ad lib, then Last thing before bed, mixed corn. The corn takes longer to digest, so keeps them going through the long nights. It is also believed to be  'warming food' but I dont really know about that.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on December 03, 2010, 05:08
Layers MASH, mixed with hot water to bread crumb consistency, and a spoonful of malt extract given warm and fresh for when they get up for breakfast. layers pellets ad lib, then Last thing before bed, mixed corn. The corn takes longer to digest, so keeps them going through the long nights. It is also believed to be  'warming food' but I dont really know about that.

Sounds like a good regime Teapots.

I think the idea that corn is warming is a bit of a myth popularised by the Scots Porridge Oats ads.  However grain and cereals generally contain lots of fibre so aren't as quickly digested as refined food so in theory should give slow (but low) energy release.  Although chickens store food in their crops anyway so naturally slow down digestion so it's not clear to me that grain actually provides much additional benefit in providing longer energy release.

HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: TeaPots on December 03, 2010, 09:37
I think maybe the only advantage of the corn then, is that they love it so much they top up their crop  :lol:  Thanks for that info HF  :D
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: penninehillbilly on December 03, 2010, 21:45
some years ago I was at the corn merchants buying feed and couldn't decide between split corn and mixed corn, the man who works there keeps poultry and said unless I wanted it to improve the yolk colour it was better to feed split corn in winter as a heating feed (or similar phrase :unsure:)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on December 05, 2010, 00:39
some years ago I was at the corn merchants buying feed and couldn't decide between split corn and mixed corn, the man who works there keeps poultry and said unless I wanted it to improve the yolk colour it was better to feed split corn in winter as a heating feed (or similar phrase :unsure:)

This all a little theoretical but it depends what you want from a feed and what is meant by warming feed. 

Refined feed and in particular food scraps such as pasta, is quickly and easily absorbed so producing rapid energy release, so would be more "warming" than a slow release feed containing fibre.  It might therefore be beneficial as a morning feed however it is by no means a balenced feed so should not be overdone.  Your chx staple feed needs to be a layers mash or pellet fed adlib during the day.

Split corn would be more readily absorbed that whole corn and often contains greater variety of grains so would be more "warming" but by no means as "warming" as a refined feed or a pellet or mash.

People often feed whole grain corn in the evening as they believe a slower energy release is preferable than a rapid release.  Certainly since corn is readily eaten it will help stock up their crops overnight.  Some grains such as maize needs to be split or flaked to be absorbed easily so I'd prefer a poultry corn containing flaked maize.  I'm not sure why your feed merchant would say whole grain is more beneficial for egg yolk colour than split grain unless that particular grain brand also contained a natural yolk colour enhancer like primrose oil which wasn't present in the split grain which may have included pulses like split peas, lentels etc.
HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: penninehillbilly on December 05, 2010, 02:18
some years ago I was at the corn merchants buying feed and couldn't decide between split corn and mixed corn, the man who works there keeps poultry and said unless I wanted it to improve the yolk colour it was better to feed split corn in winter as a heating feed (or similar phrase :unsure:)

This all a little theoretical but it depends what you want from a feed and what is meant by warming feed.  

Refined feed and in particular food scraps such as pasta, is quickly and easily absorbed so producing rapid energy release, so would be more "warming" than a slow release feed containing fibre.  It might therefore be beneficial as a morning feed however it is by no means a balenced feed so should not be overdone.  Your chx staple feed needs to be a layers mash or pellet fed adlib during the day.

Split corn would be more readily absorbed that whole corn and often contains greater variety of grains so would be more "warming" but by no means as "warming" as a refined feed or a pellet or mash.

People often feed whole grain corn in the evening as they believe a slower energy release is preferable than a rapid release.  Certainly since corn is readily eaten it will help stock up their crops overnight.  Some grains such as maize needs to be split or flaked to be absorbed easily so I'd prefer a poultry corn containing flaked maize.  I'm not sure why your feed merchant would say whole grain is more beneficial for egg yolk colour than split grain unless that particular grain brand also contained a natural yolk colour enhancer like primrose oil which wasn't present in the split grain which may have included pulses like split peas, lentels etc.
HF
By split corn I suppose it's more like maize very coarsely ground, so I presume its the yellow from the maize which helps colour the egg yolk, much the same as with my white call ducks, if fed maize when they are moulting their feathers have a yellowish tinge.
The chap is an 'old timer' who has given me plenty of useful advice over the years so I have no reason to disbelieve him.
I used to feed flaked maize or mixed flake, but all the merchants round here have changed suppliers and none of my lot will touch it now. :(
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on December 05, 2010, 10:47
watch out for icy areas, your chickens can slip and break their limbs  :(
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: feelingbroody on December 08, 2010, 11:38
Hi all, is it better to keep the girlies in or do they like the snow, I feel sorry for their toes in this cold icy snap,  8) 8) 8) 8) 8)

broody
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: penninehillbilly on December 08, 2010, 11:48
I let mine out, it's up to them whether they want to play out, for the ducks I put old hay down for them to sit on, maybe the same idea could be used for hens (old carpet or something? as long as they don't peck bits off it :unsure:)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: alandbailey on December 14, 2010, 16:05
 As my ducks like sitting next to the farm hedge, which is now only naked and sparse branches, I erected next to the hedge a cheap & cheerful multicoloured beach windbreak, bought from Lidl some years ago. This has cut down the prevailing NW wind a lot.

If their straw bedding is not too mucky, I spread it over the frozen earth.

For the chicken run, I put up a 12' x 18' tarpaulin draped up and over the fence and also over the coop. Luckily I suffer from ducks disease else the restraining ropes could do me a mischief. :D They now have ample room to shelter from the snow & sleet.

Merry Christmas,

Alan
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: CDave on December 26, 2010, 23:08
Watch out for balls of mud and straw forming on the end of chooks toes. Spent an hour catching half a dozen of mine today. Each had mud balls - that had hardened like bell metal - on the ends of one or more toes. Various sizes - but one was like a marble. Took ages to gently loosen with a bowl of warm water and pick off when soft. Did they appreciate it - not by the noise they made. You'd think I was pulling out their toe-nails. At least they have nice clean feet - until tomorrow  ;) .
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: falcieri on January 10, 2011, 18:58
Luckily I have a couple of outhouses at the back of my house, so I moved my three Bantams in to one when the weather turned bad and made them a coop and a nest box. There's a window so they had light. Once the snow started they refused to leave the building anyway and they were quite snuggly in there for a few weeks until the snow had gone. I just fed them plenty of anything they wanted and deiced the water every morning and they're still quite round. It must have done the trick as two have already started laying already.

:)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: gladis on January 22, 2011, 18:23
when will my rhodenisland reds start laying again
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on January 22, 2011, 18:26
when they are ready  ;), some of mine have come back into lay now but others are still holding on for longer brighter days  :).
Hello and welcome by the way, why not nip over to the welcome section and introduce yourself to everybody  :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Abacus on January 23, 2011, 15:52
when will my rhodenisland reds start laying again

Mine never gave up - mind you fully-enclosed roofed run, central heating. insulation... I was strongly tempted to move in myself.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on January 23, 2011, 17:46
it depends on their age, some will lay through their first couple of winters and then stop in their third. If you have them laying all the time they use their egg supplies up quicker (this is done by using artificial lighting and heating - like is used in battery hens).
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: sussexchook on October 17, 2011, 17:52
i have a coop with a  run and a area of my garden wich is all fenced in
 i have 5 chickens well 4 and a cock and i just wanted to no what is the best thing for the floor in the garden area as with the rain  it is just becomeing a mess it was all stoned  but with my ladies looking for food and digging holes it is just a mudy mess  the run i have made has a plastic roof so thay do have a clean dry area to go and i do have places where thay sit outside  off the floor so thay are not sitting in the mud  thay do like digging and looking for food but when its  all wet thay get covered in mud and take it in to the house
 we have started keeping them in the run when it rains but i do like to let them out when it stops

if anyone can tell me the best thing to use or do that would be good :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: kopperdrake on October 30, 2011, 23:02
Personally, if they're in the same place and it's turned to mud with no option of you turning it back to grass (by moving them somewhere else), I'd slab the area and put down wood chips (not bark chips as they can get affected by stuff in the bark). That way the wood chips will soak up their litter and you can replace it as when you need to, they can scratch in it so keeping them happy, but you can properly clean the slabs every now and then (Jeyes Fluid?) to keep any bug build-up at bay. Not sure what others think?

On the winter theme - I've strung a series of mop heads from a wooden pole that I mount across the top of the coop, so that the mops dangle down at the same height as the chooks. They snuggle up and even bury their heads in them in the winter, like hanging duvets - works a treat.

We also invested in an old ceramic hot water bottle from an antiques place, fill that with hot water and place it in the nest box over night, which radiate some heat into the coop. The coop only houses four hens though, but as we've expanded this year I'll have to rethink the system.

Oh, and they do all get the vaseline'd combs when it gets really cold - bless :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: silverteen on November 15, 2011, 21:08
hi has anyone used hot water bottles before?

i have these mini hot water bottles, about a third of a standard size one i guess, about 6 inches long 4 inches wide. i was wondering if i could put one of these in the coop to war1m the coop/stop the water freezing? i have a woolen cover for it that would stop them burning on it

thanks
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on November 15, 2011, 21:25
They don't need any form of heating inside the coop, outside however I have stood their water drinkers on a hot water bottle to help stop the water freezing.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: ANHBUC on November 15, 2011, 21:30
I have just bought a second hand table food warmer, the type that run on small candles.  I am going to put either bricks or quarry tiles on it to absorb the heat and then the drinker on top of that.  Hoping this will stop the water freezing without heating it up too much.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: jacquie1 on December 16, 2011, 21:18
Hi.  I've accessed this site a few times and found it really useful so decided I should join.  I've been keeping chickens for 3 years and during the really bad winter last year I made them some porridge (just cheap stuff from the supermarket) with water.  They LOVE it!  I daren't give them too much cos I don't want to over feed them.  Don't know if it's something I should or shouldn't be giving them but they all stayed healthy and carried on laying right through.  Must admit think I'm doing something wrong this year cos I've lost 2 young chickens this week.  Both went wobbly and then died within a couple of hours.  The others are fine but then again I isolated the two poorly ones straight away.  I'll be keeping a close eye on them all but if anyone can shed any light on the problem I'd be grateful.  btw - I've not had any eggs for 4 days now but it seems there's not many people getting them unless they're using lights - which I don't want to do as it seems unnatural and you should allow them to use their energy in keeping warm.  thanks for reading.  Cluck!
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: hillfooter on December 17, 2011, 01:42
Hi.  I've accessed this site a few times and found it really useful so decided I should join.  I've been keeping chickens for 3 years and during the really bad winter last year I made them some porridge (just cheap stuff from the supermarket) with water.  They LOVE it!  I daren't give them too much cos I don't want to over feed them.  Don't know if it's something I should or shouldn't be giving them but they all stayed healthy and carried on laying right through.  Must admit think I'm doing something wrong this year cos I've lost 2 young chickens this week.  Both went wobbly and then died within a couple of hours.  The others are fine but then again I isolated the two poorly ones straight away.  I'll be keeping a close eye on them all but if anyone can shed any light on the problem I'd be grateful.  btw - I've not had any eggs for 4 days now but it seems there's not many people getting them unless they're using lights - which I don't want to do as it seems unnatural and you should allow them to use their energy in keeping warm.  thanks for reading.  Cluck!

Hi Jacquie,
Not many people will see your post here and in fact it's rather off topic for this thread.

If you'd like some advice on your chicks I suggest you post a new thread with a more detailed description of your chx symptoms, details of breed, age, laying history, any history of illness, nutrition, worming, flock size and make up,  and any other information which might be helpful for people trying to suggest things to look out for.

I doubt feeding your chx porridge would cause a problem unless you over fed them to the exclusion of other nutrition or it was too hot, ideally it should be no hotter than just warm say 40 - 45degC.  A Chx body temperature is around 40 - 43degC.

HF
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Mavis on December 21, 2011, 21:48
Hello, just joined the site and just want to say how informative I am finding it.  I haven't much expertise on chickens as I only look after my daughters girlies two days a week and they are a delight.  I am going to make them a winter bathing area in the greenhouse so that they can have a dust bath.  What do you think I should use for this?
Mavis
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: SMS6 on December 22, 2011, 09:12
I have raised beds of normal compost in my greenhouse and at the minute the girls have their run attached to the greenhouse for extra space and protection from the weather.  they seem content to bathe in the beds.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: bygrace on January 01, 2012, 20:25
I use all the old earth from the tubs and hanging baskets where the annuals have now died. I dry it in the greenhouse, then it takes a fair bit of breaking up, but they seem to love it.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Abacus on January 06, 2012, 20:42
hi has anyone used hot water bottles before?

i have these mini hot water bottles, about a third of a standard size one i guess, about 6 inches long 4 inches wide. i was wondering if i could put one of these in the coop to war1m the coop/stop the water freezing? i have a woolen cover for it that would stop them burning on it

thanks

I just use old pop bottles - seems to do the trick okay. Certainly placing a couple in the hen house causes a certain amount of shuffling to get a good warm position around the bottles.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: dancingbillie on March 08, 2012, 10:33
When I first had hens I used to have rats coming in to steal the hens feed.  Then I bought a rat proof Solway feeder.  It's brilliant.  I haven't seen a rat near Cluckingham Palace for about 18 months, not even in winter.  The hens learn very quickly how to use it and there are never any pellets left on the floor when it's their bed time:-)

http://www.solwayfeeders.com/products/solway-40kg-dumpy-barrel-self-feed-hopper-psf0027-c398.html

You can use them inside or outdoors,  Mine is indoors

The only time I ever see a mouse (and that isn't often!) is when one of the hens has found one, killed it and is eating it.

Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: ANHBUC on March 08, 2012, 11:10
When I first had hens I used to have rats coming in to steal the hens feed.  Then I bought a rat proof Solway feeder.  It's brilliant.  I haven't seen a rat near Cluckingham Palace for about 18 months, not even in winter.  The hens learn very quickly how to use it and there are never any pellets left on the floor when it's their bed time:-)

http://www.solwayfeeders.com/products/solway-40kg-dumpy-barrel-self-feed-hopper-psf0027-c398.html

You can use them inside or outdoors,  Mine is indoors

The only time I ever see a mouse (and that isn't often!) is when one of the hens has found one, killed it and is eating it.



Thanks for that link.  It holds 2 sacks of feed so would save on storage as well.  Just adding it to my wanted list.   :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: jhub on April 19, 2012, 08:27
I know we're not going to have problems with drinking water freezing over for a few months but I was in my local pet shop yesterday and found a product that stops bird bath water from freezing over, it states it's safe for drinking and effective to -4. The only problem is I can't remember what it's called!
Will update when I next visit.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: ANHBUC on April 19, 2012, 15:18
I know we're not going to have problems with drinking water freezing over for a few months but I was in my local pet shop yesterday and found a product that stops bird bath water from freezing over, it states it's safe for drinking and effective to -4. The only problem is I can't remember what it's called!
Will update when I next visit.

It probably has glycerin in it but have a read of this first as it is mentioned.

http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=48390
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: jhub on April 20, 2012, 00:45
Thanks ANHBUC, I'll check when I'm next there.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: symonep on July 03, 2012, 22:24
looks like we will be skipping summer this year and just having the 3 seasons instead.
part of the run that isnt covered over turned into a mud bath and the bark we put down just made it worse and i am sure i read it wasnt recommended for chickens so i went to the local saddlery and got a bag of Easibed  (like woodchip) and laid this down and it worked a treat. It was £6 for a huge bag and i still have half a bag left.

Just thought i would pass it on incase anyone else was finding bark just as bad as mud!
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: andy46 on August 22, 2012, 21:13
I have read on another site that putting apple cider vinegar in your drinkers helps as it raises the temp by about 1-2 c. Dont know if anyone has tryed it  :) or just a gimmick to sell more in the winter...
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on August 23, 2012, 10:31
As you don't add very much ACV it wouldn't make much difference.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: andy46 on August 23, 2012, 12:13
so just a gimmick then joyfull lol :) :) i have never used it, why do you put it in ??
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on August 23, 2012, 12:56
it is good for their digestive system amongst other things  :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: andy46 on September 03, 2012, 20:16
Got some acv joyfull and they love it. my wife says they are better looked after than her :) :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: joyfull on September 03, 2012, 20:58
  :D
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Chippet on September 04, 2012, 20:38
Bit depressing that I'm posting on here already, but wanting to be prepared.

Had my 3 hens about 1 month now and totally hooked. There have a large house and run meant for 9 hens 'by RSPCA standards', because the house is actually meant for so many more chucks, do I need to do anything to keep them cosy in winter?  I had wanted to partition a bit of the house off anyway as the always roost at the very back furthest from the door and makes cleaning out more of a chore than needed.

I've read through the other posts and some people have said they put cardboard boxes in for them to roost in and keep warm.

Thanks
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: symonep on September 05, 2012, 08:43
You will find they will huddle up and keep warm that way. We have had ours about 3 years now and have done nothing special during winter other than making sure they have water that isnt an iceblock each morning.

Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: ANHBUC on September 05, 2012, 10:45
Second what symonep says.  They will find the cosiest spot in the coop so just leave them to it.  ;)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: kev0707 on February 13, 2013, 21:41
as a shelter for my chucks in there outdoor enclosure i use 2 of those big compost bins just leave the door of the front to give the hens acsess you can even mount a perch half way down
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Lizzie Dripping on March 12, 2013, 09:08
I might have gone a bit ott providing for our girls in the winter. The girls have a roof over part of the run, a thermostatically controlled heated water bowl (to stop it freezing), a food hopper, and an automatic coop door. You can see a video of it here... mXbgkrZUbNk
We've never had rats, even though their food is outside (it's off the ground but they do spill it on the floor). I was told you get rats if the coop or shed floor is sat right on the ground giving a very small gap between the ground and the floor which makes the perfect place for rats to bring in bedding and get snug. Our coop is 6 inches off the ground.

On the advice of the farmer we bought the girls from, http://www.blatfarm.co.uk/, we have a couple of fox deterrents... old tights filled with human hair from the barbers, and open jars of pee dotted around. Foxes apparently hate both and, touch wood, we've never seen one.

To combat the mud we've covered the ground in bark chippings and added a couple of slabs and pallets so they can get off the ground.

And they also have a couple of tyres filled with sharp sand to dust bath in.
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Hen 1-0 Fox on March 12, 2013, 19:17
Sounds like a nice set up! How are you getting along with the bark? I've read it's bad for chooks but not tried it myself
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Eileen M on March 18, 2013, 21:36
Sounds like a nice set up! How are you getting along with the bark? I've read it's bad for chooks but not tried it myself

I read something similar about hens with bark chippings.  But, I can confirm that we used to have bark chippings in our flower borders which the hens kicked out everywhere.......so they definitely weren't bothered by it  :)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: ANHBUC on March 19, 2013, 14:29
I think it is because the bark chippings can get fungal spores on that are bad for the hens respiratory system.   ;)
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Hen 1-0 Fox on March 20, 2013, 00:51
I've seen a lot of chickens on bark... And it's cheap and widely available... Think I need to try and find some info on the subject ....
Title: Re: Winter Tips for Chooks....
Post by: Beekissed on January 12, 2015, 08:57
I've got my chickens on cultured deep litter comprised of leaves, yard debris, wood shavings, twigs, bark, pine needles...you name it, it's in there.  I rake leaves in the fall, compress them into trash bags with holes punched for air and use them for bedding in the winter.

(http://cdn.backyardchickens.com/5/5f/900x900px-LL-5f7b3562_100_2459.jpeg)

 I haven't cleaned out the coop litter in three years now, it just composts in place and keeps them busy, warm and dry when confined due to snow.

(http://cdn.backyardchickens.com/e/e0/900x900px-LL-e081c141_100_2458.jpeg)

Using a heated water bowel elevated out of the litter on a step stool right now but plan to build a fold down platform before next winter for this purpose.  I have a hoop coop made from cattle panels and recycled wood scraps, so it's easy to scrap on pieces here and there as I need to adapt.

(http://cdn.backyardchickens.com/4/4c/900x900px-LL-4c1f49e3_100_2581.jpeg)

We've been getting subzero temps here and the birds are snug as a bug, plenty of ventilation, clear tarp on the coop to let in winter sunlight and that has made such a huge difference since last year when I had a silver tarp.

(http://cdn.backyardchickens.com/3/37/900x900px-LL-37519caf_100_2568.jpeg)

Here's a pic with a shot of the clear tarp....has made such a huge difference in this year's winter coop!

(http://cdn.backyardchickens.com/b/ba/900x900px-LL-ba9a85ae_100_2400.jpeg)

Feeding fermented feed once a day and throwing down apples and a few handfuls of this or that in the litter to keep them busy when the snow keeps them inside too long.  My flock free range, so there's no run to describe...the pop door never closes and they come and go at will.  They have a chicken dog that guards them at all times and has sleeping quarters next to their pop door. 

So far winter has been good, even with subzero temps.  No frostbite on any birds and all seem comfortable on the roosts.