Discuss, share and chat about all things relating to keeping Chickens including health issues
9 posts • Page 1 of 1
We chose Black Rock chickens because they are apparently bomb proof and bred to withstand the most extreme weather conditions, free range in the Scottish highlands etc etc.. Not that we'd supply them with the odd balaclava and wellies and leave them out in a blizzard., they have got a nice little wooden hen house to roost in at night..
But how about 'non sas' chickens?
How do sadly bald ex battery hens or other less robust members of the chook world fare in a non insulated small wood or plastic hen house in our winters?
This is a serious question as we are looking at getting a few ex battery hens and some other breeds in the future (yep we've got the bug) We know the hen house should be well ventilated and be off the ground, have wood shavings and straw etc etc.. but thin wood or plastic does no more than keep the worst of the winds off.. how about freezing conditions in winter?
Regarding ex battery hens - is it wise to get them in spring so they have the 'warmer' months to acclimatise and grow feathers?
After waxing lyrical about the ease of chicken keeping, "relax and enjoy" I know maybe I'm worrying about nothing, but some words from the more experienced would help...
I'm interested in this too Willow. I have an A frame with the run underneath. The run sits on the ground, not above it. When it was absolutely P***sing down, with driving rain, I attached an old tarpaulin over one side of the run covering about three quarters of it, so they could still see outside, if they wanted to. I attached it by putting hooks into the top of the A frame and using tent pegs in the ground. I left the other side free as it's protected by a hedge. This kept the straw in the covered part of the run dry (which had got very wet) and the girls seemed perfectly happy. I thought I would do the same in the winter on both sides. They are out during the day anyway.
i asked about this when i fisrt got mine and people said that they are fine!
so long as they have shelter from the elements and everythng they need....theyre fine. quite often they choose not to hide under the tarpaulins and roofing that we provide and seem to just stand there.
they go out in the snow and wind and rain and thats cos they choose to!
they are funny creatures. i cant wait to see mine in the snow!
them in their coop is a bit like us fully dressed under 3 huge thick feather duvets!
so long as they can shelter, theyll be fine!
The bottom 1/2 of their hen house is open & always in the shade under the hedge, so I've cut some perspex sheets, to block off the sides like a window, so they can still look out into the garden, but are sheltered from the elements, as it's in the shade they wont be getting too hot with it heating up like a greenhouse furnace. Their food & straw keeps dry underneath.
For their run, I just put a blue tarpaulin over the top which clips on with hooks to the weldmesh as the sheet has metal eyelets, this keeps their bark chippings dry too.
Some of the girls are still quite bald, so I just try & do my best for them, it'll be the wind with the rain that'll do them in, they still get blown over in the wind, they "still" haven't learned how to lean into it yet
If you do all you can to give them a windproof, rain proof area, then it'll be up to them then!
Mellons, that was the problem I had, keeping their food and straw dry, even with the food hung, it was still getting soaked and very mushy. They're out in the garden all day, which does have shady bits, its hilarious watching them make a 'run for it' to their Ark when it starts to rain hard, they obviously prefer it there.
Some people do put little jumpers on their oven ready ex battery ladies, they looking totally barking, but warm
I've put a gazebo over the whole chicken area too, the girls run like potty to get under there when the clouds empty.
Oh, come winter and you will see. Last winter the 2 girls I inherited and had already seen a winter wouldn't come out of their coop into the run in the snow. I was out there putting their food and water into the coop. After a few days they decided that they were cooped up and came out. Yes, they enjoyed the snow after all. The 2 new ones came out straight away and didn't seem to be bothered?
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