Nature on our Doorstep - New, The Down the Lane Wildlife Diary
Chickens in Winter
Keep your Chickens warm and cosy through the cold months
Every year, the Down the Lane Forum is pretty busy with 'Chicken parents' worried about their flock in the cold and other seasonal related subject matter.
Here's my synopsis of the Winter Chicken and my personal thoughts....
Should I put a light in the Chicken House ?
My opinion is no. Chickens should be allowed to live a natural cycle just the same as us and any other creature.
In most cases a light is put in a House to induce the laying of more eggs. Giving them artificial daytime will give you more eggs in Winter, but will shorten the Hen's egg laying life considerably. After all, this is why Commercial Egg Laying Farms only keep Chickens or about one year before slaughter.
Also, Egg Laying Farm lights are adjusted to slowly come on in the mornings and slowly go off at night, thus producing the daytime effect. If you have a normal light in a Chicken Shed and suddenly switch it on or off, the Chickens won't know where they are.
The main difference you will find with keeping Chickens in Winter is the cleaning, they poo far more when perching in the dark than during daylight hours and this can mean double or treble the amount of cleaning out - not so nice on a cold and damp January morning!
The other important thing is their security. Foxes find food more difficult to find during the winter month's and may try that extra bit harder to get into your Coop, so ensure you do a daily inspection for any weak areas and see if there are any tell tale signs of something attempting entry. The good news is that you'll be able to see any footprints and this will tell you they're about easier.
We are giving them an artificial environment, so in that sense they rely on us to supply their natural needs, therefore a few extra's are important like Green's and your left over Vegetables from meals.Chickens don't normally like raw veg except 'straight from the plant', so all your waste is their gain!
Good luck !
See also 'Chickens and Muddy Days' in the Blog
Digging a pathway for them at least keeps us warm!
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