Hello again and welcome to my Winter Blog.
The weather is a bit mixed at the moment but we have had some cold nights, so it’s time to get started on the jobs you need to do to keep us chicks warm and healthy over Winter.
Despite having our feathers and being fairly tough birds, we may still need to bulk up for insulation over the next few months, so increase our layer pellet intake by about 10%.
We need to have fresh water every day, but remember our water can become frozen when the temperature drops, so please keep an eye on it for us. Some of my friends tell me that they have an electric heater for their drinkers – lucky them, as we actually prefer to drink slightly warmer water anyway.
We naturally keep warm by cuddling up to our feathered friends, fluffing up our feathers and roosting. This enables us to warm each other up and protect each other from the cold. So make sure our coops have enough perches or the perches are long enough, as when we do this we take up more space than over other seasons.
It may be tempting to block the air vents in the coop, but please don’t. We need ventilation and fresh air to get in. But you can think about moving our coops, if they are in a wide exposed area. Also make sure we have insulation on the floor of the coop – straw is good, keeps us dry and easily replaced and Kat & Luke use cardboard lining in the roof and sides of my coop to keep it cosy for myself and Betty. We would appreciate a heat lamp though, when it gets really cold. But a warning for you, make sure we don’t overheat or burn ourselves – have a thermometer at the ready and keep the lamp high.
You may need a lamp for helping us keep warm, but you may also need one to provide light for us too, as we need around 16 hours of light to help us produce eggs. If you want us to keep on laying over Winter, consider using a low wattage bulb that will not blind us!
We’d prefer not to have snow but it won’t keep us cooped up. So have a think about covering our run. I know it may not be fun for you getting out in the snow but do us a favour and make sure our outside space is free from it and keep this area topped up with fresh straw to protect our feet. Oh and another top tip, Vasoline on our comb and wattles will help with protecting against frost bite.
Well it’s getting cold so, I’m off to cuddle up with Betty now.
See you in Spring.