Preparing for Fall: Straight From the Coop
Amy Wolsey lives in Norfolk with her 11 happy hens. She’s kept busy with 6 Cream legbars and 5 Pekin Bantams. They, like her Springer Spaniel Oliver, love to help her in her backyard and vegetable patch! Follow Amy on her Instagram account chicksandveg.
Wasn’t that a long hot summer we had in the UK? Well it certainly feels like we’re changing seasons now with the arrival of some cooler temperatures and darker evenings. Just like we dig out the jumpers from the wardrobe and crave warming soups rather than salads for lunch, it’s time to start thinking about keeping our chickens happy over fall and into winter. Now, I’m not suggesting we wrap our chickens in cosy jumpers! But, there are some things we can do to make sure they stay healthy and comfortable in the coming months.
It’s a really good time to think about giving your chickens a general check over and looking for anything unusual. I keep an eye on my chickens all the time and look for changes in behaviour or differences in their condition but a closer look every once in a while at their feet, feather condition, head and combs is good practice. It’s also particularly important to check your hens are happy at this time of year as most go into moult. Moulting is when chickens shed any damaged or loose feathers and replace them with a fresh set. It usually happens over a few weeks and they might look a little scruffy as the new feathers grow but it’s totally normal. Growing new feathers is quite a big job and as feathers are mostly protein, I like to give my hens a boost to help them along. I add extra protein and calcium to their diets with some supplements and purchase some extra treats for them to enjoy!
I regularly clean my coops but a change of season always gives me the motivation to do a thorough deep clean so everything is sparkling ready for wetter, muddier weather. With the Omlet chicken coops being plastic and so easy to keep clean, I like to give them a proper hose down before disinfecting and adding some fresh bedding. It’s also a really good chance for me to check round the runs and make sure everything is secure. I’m even thinking of adding an extension to my run later in the year so all the hens can be together so this is a good chance to plan it out!
Speaking of my chicken run, I’m going to add some more protection to the sides to keep things cosy over winter. I’ve got the heavy duty covers for the roof which keep it lovely and dry! It’s so important for chickens to have a dry space over winter. Lots of wet mud isn’t good for chickens and can cause all sorts of problems with their feet but also, it’s just not nice for them to move around in. Plus, chickens love a dust bath even over winter. And especially when they’re going through a moult, it’s nice for them to be able to scratch and clean those feathers! When thinking about your run, it’s also worth considering protecting the sides too and providing a bit of a wind break so the Omlet clear covers will be perfect! There’s even some cosy insulating blankets I can put over the coops in the depths of winter. The Eglus have twin walled construction so it’s not a must but with the crazy weather we’ve had this summer, who knows what to expect! Plus, any excuse to treat my hens to something new!
All in all, fall is a great excuse to give things a check over and refresh whilst keeping my hens happy, cosy and healthy! Now, where are my woolly jumpers…
This entry was posted in Chickens