The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Winter

Why Do Chickens’ Legs Not Get Cold in Winter?

A pair of chicken feetWatching chickens scratch at the frozen ground or strut through the snow, you might wonder how they manage to keep their feet and legs warm. After all, this is one part of their body with no feathers to keep it cozy (unless you happen to have a feathery-legged breed such as the Cochin, Brahma or Silkie).

Surprisingly, the simple answer to ‘How do they keep their leg warm?’ is ‘They don’t!’ Those skinny, bare legs have scales, which retain heat to a certain extent, but they will still get very cold if the bird stands still for too long.

And that’s the important detail. A chicken keeps its legs warm by moving, and by not keeping all its toes on the ground for too long. These parts of their body lose heat rapidly; but the solution is quite simple.

Perching is the most effective way of retaining heat. A hen hunkers down when roosting, and her legs are tucked into her warm body. If space allows, install a flat perch too. A piece of wood with a 10 cm width will enable the hens to roost without having to grip the perch, which in really cold weather will prevent their toes freezing. (The lucky ones will simply snuggle down in a nesting box, which is the chicken equivalent of a thick quilt!)

But of course, a hungry hen doesn’t want to waste the whole day perching, so even in the coldest spells she will make a lot of contact with the ground.


Chickens outside in the snow with their Eglu Go

One-Legged Hens

Like many other birds, chickens often adopt the ‘one leg’ look, tucking one of their limbs up into the warmth of their bellies. This reduces overall heat loss and stops feet and toes from freezing on the icy ground.

An upturned pot, a log, pallet or other slightly elevated space – cleared of snow or ice – will help the hens get the circulation going again, without having to catch their breath on the frozen ground. Like all birds, chickens are warm-blooded, just like us, and their own body heat soon works its magic. Indeed, with an average body temperature of around 41°C, chickens can remain active in the coldest weather.

The leg-warming process is helped by other tricks, too. Fluffing up the feathers retains body heat, by trapping small pockets of air which are then heated up by the bird’s warm body.

Some owners give their hens a supper of corn and grains, which take longer to digest than a standard pellet or other chicken food. Part of the digestion process involves producing heat – a kind of internal hot water bottle!

In general, hens will eat more food in the cold months, as more of their energy is spent keeping warm. Some owners like to supplement the birds’ diets with extra protein or a little suet, to increase their fat levels for the winter. Fat retains heat, and the whole bird benefits – not just the legs (which will remain as thin as ever!)

Help With the Heating

You can help your hens keep their toes cosy by making sure the coop is clean and dry. Clear out any snow dragged in on the birds’ feet and keep an insulating layer of straw on the floor. You can give the birds extra protection by insulating the coop – although there should still be some ventilation, to allow the gases released from the birds’ droppings to escape.

You can install an automatic door to help keep the living quarters snug. Heaters are also available – but never use anything other than a heater designed specifically for hen houses. It’s also best to use these only if the temperature gets below 40°F, otherwise hens may get used to being cosy all the time, and that could be disastrous if the heater fails, and the birds are suddenly exposed. Heat-pampered poultry can die of cold shock.

A chicken coop should be draft-free, but not completely sealed, as ventilation is important for healthy hens. During the day, a sheltered spot in the run or garden will help them take a breather and warm those long-suffering legs.

Chickens are amazingly hardy, and although not exactly warm, their legs will be able to cope with anything the average winter throws at them. As long as they can toast their toes on a nice perch every now and then…

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Are your chickens happy in their wooden coop?

Chicken perched in a wooden chicken coop

Are your chickens happy in their wooden coop? Is your chickens’ coop strong enough to make it through another winter? Is it time you upgraded your wooden coop? These are all questions many chicken keepers ask themselves when facing the reality that their wooden coop may not do its job, especially for another cold season. Take this short quiz to see whether your wooden coop is ready for this round of wintery weather.  

Wood absorbs water – does your coop seem heavier?

A = Yes –  either I’m getting weaker, or my coop has gotten heavier. 

B =  Yes, but I solved it by getting someone else to move the coop for me. 

C = I’ve given up trying to move it. 

D = Nope, I spent the summer sanding and sealing my chicken coop with a varnish, so now it’s more water-resistant. 

Have you had to pour boiling water onto locks to get them to open?

A = Yes, I have to keep a coop de-icing kit. 

B = Boiling water sounds easier than smashing the bolt with a rock or brick to get the coop unlatched during a freeze. 

C = I religiously grease all hinges and bolts every few weeks to keep things moving. 

D = I have very carefully aligned my coop to the morning sun so that the bolts and hinges have defrosted by the time I get out. On cloudy days I resort to hot water. 

Has your wooden coop shifted or expanded since last winter?

A = Yes – the doors all seem too big for the frames, and nothing opens or shuts properly anymore. 

B = Yes – the panels have swollen, and now I’m concerned for when they shrink again because I added extra chickens to fill the void. 

C = For the most part it appears fine, but some sections don’t align the way they used to.  

D = No – the staining and sealing seems to be keeping the coop intact. 

Is the roof leaking?

A = Yes –  I’ve already fixed the roof a few times this year, and now it’s already leaking again.

B = Yes, but this is the first time and I’m confident that I can fix it myself. 

C = No – there aren’t any obvious leaks. 

D = My wooden coop is brand new, so I don’t expect to have any problems this winter. 

Is it cold and damp inside?

A = Yes – it feels cold inside, and the bedding gets damp quickly. 

B = It’s a little chilly, but my hens huddle together to keep warm.  

C = I haven’t noticed any dampness, and my hens act alright. 

D = The coop keeps warm overnight once I have shut the door, and my chickens are outside during the day. 

Did you have difficulties with red mites in summer?

A = Yes – I’ve had to prevent and treat red mites in my coop and chickens regularly, and I’m already dreading the next resurgence. 

B = No more than usual – it’s just part of chicken keeping, and I’m used to dealing with them. 

C = I had mild issues with red mites, but they weren’t out of control. 

D = The red mites didn’t cause a problem in my coop this year. 

How long does it take to clean your coop?

A = It’s an all-day task that I dread, so it doesn’t get cleaned regularly in winter.

B = It takes a while, especially in the winter, but I know my hens appreciate it. 

C = It takes a few hours, but the whole family helps. 

D = It doesn’t take me long at all – I have a good system in place.

The results…

Mostly As = If you experience repeated and frequent issues with your wooden chicken coop like red mites, a leaking roof, or poor ventilation, it’s definitely time to upgrade to a plastic chicken coop. Keeping chickens in the winter doesn’t have to be a dreaded or labor-intensive experience. Plastic chicken coops keep your chickens comfortable, dry, and mite-free all year round. 

Mostly Bs = You’ve valiantly kept your wooden chicken coop going this long, and are determined to keep persevering through wooden chicken coop repairs. But the question remains: are your chickens happy in their wooden coop? Keep a watchful eye out for dampness and drafts inside of the coop, as these are extremely dangerous for hens – especially the older members of your flock. 

Mostly Cs = You’re no stranger to wooden chicken coops and the potential problems and maintenance they present. But, there are plenty of reasons to avoid wooden chicken coops and to make the switch from wooden to plastic hen houses. Cleaning, comfort, and your overall workload will decrease substantially when you update your coop to plastic. 

Mostly Ds = Your wooden chicken coop is in its early days, or you’ve spent countless hours preparing and preserving its integrity. Keep in mind however that all wooden chicken coops rot eventually, and all preservation methods are just that – a temporary improvement until the elements leave their mark on your wooden coop once more. If you’ve just invested in a wooden chicken coop and aren’t ready to make the switch to plastic, consider making some weather-resistant upgrades like an Automatic Chicken Coop Door to keep your hens more comfortable in the cold. 

Upgrade with Omlet 

Don’t just survive the winter weather – thrive in the cold. With our line of plastic chicken coops, your hens will be warm, dry, and comfortable whatever the weather. The Eglu Cube Chicken Coop is designed for larger flocks to find shelter in the bitter cold. And, with accessories like the Autodoor, you can schedule your flock’s outings to take place during the warmest part of the day, while keeping them tucked in a well-ventilated, draft-free coop at night. See how keeping chickens in the winter doesn’t have to be a chore, just another season to love your flock. 

Happy, healthy hens with their Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

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How the Weather Forecast Can Help Chicken Keepers

While most people check the weather forecast to help them plan their week activities or outfits, chicken keepers can also be using it to predict what accessories their coop needs to ensure their girls are as comfortable as possible. 

From sun to snow, wind to wet, the breakfast time weather reports and the handy app on your phone are all giving you helpful hints that you might be ignoring.

? TEMPERATURE ?

Firstly, the most obvious indicator: the predicted temperature for the coming 10 days. Depending on what time of year we are in, this can be super helpful or utterly confusing if it is varying drastically. But let’s think about what we can act upon.

In winter, if the predicted temperature is at below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 5 days in a row or the temperature is near freezing and you have very few chickens in your coop, you may want to consider attaching the Extreme Temperature Blanket to your Eglu to give your chickens some extra help with keeping warm, without limiting the coop ventilation. 

During hot summer months, when temperatures can be above and beyond 85 degrees Fahrenheit daily in some countries, it is wise to move your chicken coop into an area that is in the shade for as much of the day as possible. For your chickens, daily health checks are essential to ensure they are not suffering with the high temperatures. If your coop is attached to or inside a secure run, you can leave your coop door open to increase airflow at nighttime without your girls being exposed to predators.

☀️ SUN ☀️

When the sun is shining, it is tempting to cover your chickens’ run with shades so that it is completely protected from the sun inside. However, this can have the opposite effect on what you intended. Instead of shading and cooling the area, lots of shades create a tunnel which traps the heat, like a greenhouse. 

It is best to keep them in a shaded area, and protect one side of the run from the sun. If your chickens are out free ranging most of the day, make sure that they have access to shady patches in the garden, and that their food and water is also in shade. 

❄️ SNOW ❄️

Exciting for some, but for others a weather warning for snow can be very disappointing. You may want to consider sheltering your coop’s run with clear covers to prevent as much snow getting on the ground inside the run as possible. If snow is predicted for the foreseeable future, you may want to prepare for long term icy conditions and bring your coop closer to the house so it is easier to check on your chickens, and they can benefit from some of the shelter your house might provide. During the snow, be sure to dry off damp feathers and remove any chunks of ice from claws. Increase the amount of bedding and food you are giving your chickens too as this will help them stay warm. 

If you have time, it might be wise to consider how effective your chicken coop will be against the bitter cold. If you have a wooden coop, check if it is water-tight and well insulated. If you are not confident in your wooden coop, consider upgrading to a sturdy plastic alternative, like the Eglu Cube. It’s twin-wall insulation works in the same way as double glazing to keep the cold out of the coop, and the heat in during winter. The plastic material is waterproof and super easy to clean out quickly (especially important on chilly winter days).

☁️ CLOUD ☁️

The most boring of all weather forecasts, but often a rest bite from other more extreme conditions. During winter, a few cloudy days should raise the temperature slightly and give you a good opportunity to clean out your coop and thoroughly check on your chickens and make any changes needed for whatever the forecast predicts for the coming days.

? RAIN ?

Some weather reports are more helpful than others when it comes to the exact timing and chance of there being rain. But if you’re looking at days of 90% chance of heavy showers, it would be wise to act fast and get some protective clear covers over the run. If the ground under your chickens’ coop and run is already extremely muddy and wet, you might want to consider moving them to a new patch of grass, and maybe even laying down a base material, like wood shavings, to prevent it developing into a swamp!

? WIND ?

How you react to a windy forecast completely depends on the wind speeds predicted. Light winds, less than 25 mph, shouldn’t cause much of a problem. You might want to add some windbreaks around the base of your Eglu and a large clear cover down the most exposed side. However, in extreme high winds, the worst thing you can do is completely conceal your run, particularly a larger Walk in Run, with covers from top to bottom. In a large run, the mesh holes allow the wind to flow through without causing any issues to the structure, and a clear cover round one bottom corner of the run will provide chickens enough shelter. If you cover the run completely, the wind will be hammering against it and is more likely to cause the structure to lift or move. 

If your chickens are in a smaller run attached to their coop, we recommend moving it to a position where it will be most protected from the wind and any falling debris, for example, against a sturdy building wall. The Eglu’s wheels allow you to easily move the coops around your garden to suit the conditions. If you are keeping your chickens in their Eglu coop and run, and not free ranging during dangerous weather conditions, consider adding some entertaining toys and treat dispenser for them to prevent boredom, such as the Peck Toy or Perch


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Overcoming chicken-keeping challenges in the year ahead

Backyard hens spend their entire lives outdoors. This means they have to cope with everything the year throws at them — from blazing summers and sub-zero winters, to year-round downpours. Being hardy birds, they take much of this in stride, but they benefit from a helping hand from their humans. Here are ways to help your flock and prepare for the chicken-keeping challenges in the year ahead

Winter

Depending on your location, winter can be one of the most challenging seasons for all outdoor animals. While it varies from year to year, the 10 US states that typically receive the most amount of snowfall are: 

  1. Vermont
  2. Maine
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Colorado 
  5. Alaska 
  6. Michigan 
  7. New York 
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Wyoming 
  10. Wisconsin 

No matter where you live, there’s a lot working against both humans and chickens when cold weather sets in – but thankfully chickens are naturally equipped to endure lower temperatures. Because of this, chicken-keeping in the winter isn’t much different from the rest of the year, but a few preparations can go a long way in helping your hens thrive in the cold. 

Cold-weather chicken considerations

  • Although chickens cope well with the cold, they’ll need some help when it’s both cold and wet. Keeping hens in an insulated Eglu Chicken Coop is a good place to start, with the option to add extra chicken coop weather protection to both the run and the coop. This is especially helpful if you live in an area that receives heavy snowfall. 
  • Perches in the run enable chickens to cuddle up when it’s cold – which is essential in the winter months. The Omlet Chicken Perch, being composed of eucalyptus, a strong, untreated wood, prevents chickens’ feet from becoming too cold. Offering perches above the frozen ground of the run gives your hens’ toes a break from the chill. 
  • In sustained sub-zero temperatures, rubbing Vaseline on your hens’ combs and wattles will help prevent them from becoming frostbitten.
  • Keep your hens’ feet dry in wet weather by lining the run with wood chippings, straw, or hay.

Winter daylight hours

  • Chickens usually return to the coop to roost at dusk. But in the winter, you may find your birds trying to get more time outside on the short days. If your hens are prone to wandering around in the dark, a high visibility hen coat will help you locate them – and also ensure they’re visible to anyone else, should they stray from your yard.
  • Installing an automatic chicken coop door with a coop light will help your hens adhere to bedtime. The door can open and close automatically based on the amount of daylight, a specified time, or manually. The coop light will help beckon wandering birds to bed when darkness falls, as chickens will naturally gravitate toward a light source.

A boy in a snowy Eglu coop with his chickens

Your chickens’ health during colder months 

Keep an eye out for coughing, sneezing, lethargy, or other signs of chicken illness. Older or weaker chickens can become more vulnerable to illness when the cold weather sets in.

  • Egg production will decrease – but this doesn’t mean no eggs for breakfast. While your hens may not lay as frequently, and some may stop altogether throughout the colder months, a flock of 4 or more chickens should still provide an adequate supply of eggs for your family during the winter. 
  • Make sure your hens’ diet consists of high-quality feed and scratch, and consider adding some extra chicken vitamins and minerals to boost their immune systems. Offer hay or greens in a chicken treat holder to provide a nutritional activity on cold days. 
  • Their water will freeze, so be prepared to break the ice, and have some spare water dispensers ready in case the waterers freeze solid. Pour hot water over any icy water sources throughout the day to help keep things thawed. Consider placing submersible bird bath heaters in your chickens’ waterers to keep them thawed. 
  • On the upside, winter might kill off any lingering flies, mites, and other pests your chickens encounter during the warmer months. 

Spring

As the days lengthen, your hens will start laying more eggs. Vegetation comes back to life, and chickens find insects, plants, and other findings worth scratching around for. Your chickens will likely be wanting to spend more time outside in the warmer temperatures and longer days, but predators also spend more waking hours roaming in the spring. 

Protect your chickens from awakening predators 

Chicken predators will be on the move when the days warm up and lengthen. In the northern states, large animals such as bears awaken from winter hibernation with a voracious appetite. Other predatory animals such as foxes, wolves, and badgers will also be on the prowl after a lean winter. Central and southern states will see an increase in activity from coyotes, bobcats, racoons, and snakes as the weather warms up. 

Keeping your chickens in a secure, covered run is vitally important during early spring when nature’s predators are also taking advantage of the changing seasons. Automatic chicken coop doors will ensure the hens are in and out at the right times, and will prevent predators from gaining access after-hours. The door will also let your chickens out in the morning, so that you can enjoy weekend mornings in bed as the days get longer. 

Prepare your chickens for extreme weather events

For southern states, spring can bring extreme weather changes and events such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Housing your hens in a strong chicken coop and heavy-duty, covered run will ensure they stay safe during wild weather. An Eglu Cube chicken coop with added handles and wheels makes it simple to relocate your chickens and their entire home to shelter during severe weather. The Eglu Cube can also be tethered to the ground in preparation for high winds. But just how strong is the Eglu Cube? Some wild-weather events that the Eglu Cube has prevailed against include hurricanes, tornadoes, falling trees from high winds, and more. 

Cover walk in chicken runs to protect against hail and heavy rainfall. While tarps will help keep heavy rainfall out of the run, high winds can blow rain in from the sides — and sustained heavy rainfall can create a muddy environment. Add straw to muddy areas of your chickens’ run to help prevent infections such as bumblefoot when the ground is saturated. A chicken tractor is another great option during soggy seasons, as your chickens’ area can be changed daily. 

Take proactive steps to reduce chicken coop pests

It’s also important to note that mites and parasites make their debut in the spring, so if you don’t have an easy-to-clean plastic chicken coop, be sure to treat your coops and runs to get ahead of the pests. Mites thrive in wooden surfaces, so housing your hens in a plastic coop is a first line in defense to eliminate pests. Change bedding daily, and clean the interior of your coop frequently to keep your chickens healthy and happy when mites threaten to emerge.

Man with his chickens in spring, using weather protection on the Omlet Eglu Go Up Chicken Coop

Summer

It’s amazing to see the transformation in your chickens as the seasons change. Gone are the downy, fluffy winter and early spring jackets your hens sported mere months ago. Instead, you may now notice your hens’ feathers slowly becoming more dull, and they are spending more and more time under shaded areas. 

For many flock-raisers, summer poses the largest threat to chickens. The main risks that flocks face in the summer months are excessive heat and too much sunlight. Be sure to have plenty of shaded areas where your chickens frequent, and keep fresh, cool water available at all times. A chicken coop that provides shade itself, like the space under the Eglu Cube or the Eglu Go Up, is ideal for the summer months.

On average, these 10 US states experience the hottest summer temperatures: 

  1. Florida
  2. Hawaii
  3. Louisiana
  4. Texas
  5. Georgia 
  6. Mississippi
  7. Alabama
  8. South Carolina
  9. Arkansas
  10. Arizona

In these states, special considerations should be made when caring for chickens. Evaporative cooling may help keep flocks cool in drier climates such as Arizona, but chickens living in states that experience heat and humidity have a distinct disadvantage when it comes to options to keep cool. 

The Eglu Cube chicken coop is designed to reduce moisture and increase airflow through its ingenious ventilation design. Twin-wall insulation and vents along the back allow for cool air to circulate, while keeping the warm air out. Plastic doesn’t hold onto moisture the way that wood does, so your chickens can find relief from the damp, humid air. The Eglu Cube also offers a shaded area beneath the coop, with the option to add heavy-duty run covers to the sides and top of the run for additional protection from the sun. And, with added handles and wheels, the Eglu Cube can be moved to shadier, cooler spots as summer progresses. 

Here are some other methods to alleviate heat-related stress in your flock during the summer months: 

  • Keep the water supply full, as hens drink more in warm weather. Add ice cubes to waterers if possible throughout the day to keep the water temperature at a refreshing level.
  • Provide a dust bath – either a dry area of ground in the yard, or in a container in the chicken run. Cat litter trays, kiddie pools, and even old tires with the rims removed make great basins for dust baths. 
  • Offer treats like frozen corn or other chicken-safe veggies in a chicken treat dispenser or chicken peck toy
  • Look for any signs of heat stress in your hens. Open-mouth breathing (panting), lethargy, agitation, increased saliva production, or any other concerning symptoms should be reported to your veterinarian. Bring any chicken exhibiting heat stress into an air-conditioned space, but refrain from employing any other cooling measures until hearing from your veterinarian. It can be dangerous for an overheated chicken to have their body temperature brought down too quickly. 

Fortunately, the “dog days of summer” usually yield to lower temperatures at night. You may want to offer more space outside of the coop for your chickens to roost overnight in the warmer months, as they will need extra space away from each other’s body heat during this season. A Freestanding Chicken Perch or PoleTree will give your hens aerial space to roost if they need to spread out at night. Just be sure that all of their enclosures are predator-resistant and have a top to prevent aerial attacks. Attaching a tarp to the walk-in run will keep UV rays down, offer protection from summer storms, and also thwart predator attempts from above. 

Family outside in summer with their chickens in the Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

Fall

Fall is a favorite season for both flocks and their keepers. Bugs are still abundant, the temperatures are comfortable, and gardens offer hen-friendly snacking opportunities when gardeners rotate crops. 

Hens will often molt this time of year in preparation for colder temperatures, so they need a good diet to help them stay healthy and grow new feathers. Extra vitamins and minerals will boost feather growth, and a little apple cider vinegar in their water will help them grow healthy and glossy plumage. Egg production will cease or drastically reduce while hens are molting, but once they’ve completed their transformation, your hens will resume their laying schedule. The shorter days will prompt chickens to lay less frequently, but good layers will continue to produce eggs during the fall and winter. 

It’s important to remember that states along the eastern coast experience the peak of hurricane season during the fall. Be sure to have an evacuation plan that includes your chickens, and prepare for extreme weather. Ensure any chicken enclosures are safe in windy conditions, and cover your chickens’ run to protect against heavy rains. 

Girl outside in autumn with Freestanding Chicken Perch

Year-round chicken care with Omlet 

At Omlet, we’re here to support chicken keepers all year round. By keeping your hens in an Eglu Chicken Coop and Walk In Chicken Run that are both easy to maintain and clean, you’ll create an environment that is enjoyable for both you and your flock no matter the season. These, along with Walk In Run Covers, make seasonal preparation quick and easy so that the changes in weather, amount of daylight, and looming predators don’t detract from the wondrous connection you’ve created with your chickens. So here’s to another year of chicken-keeping, the Omlet way.

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How the Eglu Keeps Your Chickens Warm in Winter

Boy in the snow with Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop demonstrating insulation

During the winter, one of the biggest concerns among chicken keepers that have purchased, or are considering, an Eglu is how well it can keep their flock warm. In this blog, we will dive into the science behind the Eglu’s thoughtful design, with particular emphasis on how these features will help your chickens stay warm during the colder months. 

Insulation 

Insulation prevents energy from passing through it, and air is an excellent insulator! Think of your chickens in the cold – they fluff up their feathers in order to trap more air between their layers of feathers. Pretty amazing, right? By doing this, they create their very own insulation. Air is such a great insulator because it has very little conductivity, which is the ability to transfer heat. Air molecules are spread out, so even though warm, fast moving molecules are bouncing around within the air, they only lose heat when they come into contact with slower moving molecules to pass warmth off to – which in turns causes the temperature to cool. In short: air doesn’t have as many molecules for heat to pass its warmth off to, thereby keeping an area warmer for longer. Air is used to insulate many commonly encountered objects and structures – from your favorite puffer coat, to your thermos and even the walls of your home.  

Just like the walls of your home, the Eglu’s unique twin-wall design captures air in between the layers, creating a “pocket” of insulation to surround the coop. Not only does this method prevent cool air from moving in, but it also keeps the body heat your chickens generate inside. On the flip side, the same method helps to keep heat out of the coop during warm weather. 

Ventilation 

Ventilation is any coop’s best friend – but it’s a delicate balance between how much airflow is needed. Too much airflow creates chilly drafts, and too little airflow causes moisture to build up inside the coop which can lead to multiple health issues for your hens. 

Eglu coops are designed to allow air to flow through the coop through well positioned vents. This draft-free system ensures that clean air is able to circulate through the coop while still keeping your chickens warm. The moisture created by your chickens will be circulated out through the same process, preventing moisture buildup. 

How chickens keep themselves warm

As mentioned, chickens have a built-in mechanism for creating their own insulated barrier from the cold. You’ll notice your chickens “molt” (shed their feathers) in preparation for the winter. While it may look alarming, your half-naked chickens will regrow thicker, more dense feathers for the winter. These dense feathers are used in their “puffing up” technique to help hold the longer feathers on top away from their skin. The thickness of their downy feathers underneath traps the air that their visible plumage is allowing in. The result is a fluffed up, warm (and adorable!) hen. 

Chickens will also ramp-up their already fast metabolisms in the winter to help generate heat. Be sure to offer them extra feed during this time to support this metabolic shift! Feeding extra scratch grains or alfalfa hay in the evenings will help keep their body heat up on chilly winter nights.  

As a cold-defense mechanism, blood flow will be redirected from your chickens’ legs and to their bodies in an effort to keep them warm. Their feather-less legs have scale-like coverings that trap some heat in, but often you’ll see your chickens warming up their chilly legs. Some hens will alternate standing on one leg in a flamingo pose to warm one leg up against their body. The hen will switch legs to repeat the process on the other side once one leg has been sufficiently warmed. You’ll also notice that chickens will drape their feathery skirts over their toes when they roost to warm them up! By giving them chicken perches or chicken trees in their run, they’ll have multiple opportunities to warm their toes after walking on the frozen ground.  

The Eglu isn’t made of ice, but it can withstand it

Our Eglu coops might not be made of ice, but they’ve been created to withstand the elements! For particularly cold areas, extreme temperature jackets can be added for extra-insulation. And since you’re now a pro at understanding how air is a great insulator, you can see why adding another layer to trap even more air around your chicken coop will help keep more heat in and more cold out! 

Inventing and engineering minds are always hard at work at Omlet, and the Eglu chicken coop is just one of many pet products designed with practical science to benefit both the animals and the people that love them! You can rest easy this winter knowing that your chickens will be nice and warm all season long in their Eglu coop.

A boy sat in an Eglu Cube Chicken Coop in the snow

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10 Things Not to Do in Winter if You’re a Chicken Keeper

A close up of a grey chicken with the Eglu Go behind in the snow 2

1. Don’t shut your chickens in their coop

Chickens are built to be outside, and they are known to withstand some pretty extreme temperatures. Under the visible plumage birds like chickens have a layer of downy feathers that can be puffed up to create an extra layer of insulation that will keep them warm. 

Cooped up chickens will soon get bored and agitated, and even though you might be surprised that they choose to go out in freezing temperatures, you should definitely always give your chickens the opportunity to stretch their legs. 

Ensure chickens have a dry and sheltered spot in a secure run or in an area of the garden where they can spend time outside. We have plenty of different covers that makes this an easy job. Clear covers are ideal for winter as they will protect your chickens from wind and rain while still letting the light in. Put straw on the ground to prevent a build-up of mud and install a perch or two for the chickens to rest on during the day. 

Close the door to the coop when all chickens have gone inside to roost for the night or let your Automatic Chicken Coop Door do it for you. 

2. Don’t compensate for bad insulation by blocking up the coop

Well insulated coops, like the Eglus, will keep the chickens warm in winter by capturing the heat from the chickens’ bodies while not letting any cold air travel through the walls. They are also designed to let air flow through the coop to prevent a buildup of moisture, without any nasty drafts.

Drafts and moisture are the two biggest winter enemies for chickens, as they make it difficult for them to stay warm and dry. If the coop is too tightly insulated the moisture evaporating from the chickens’ breaths and droppings will have nowhere to go. This humid environment – and the possible buildup of ammonia – is really bad for chickens and can lead to unpleasant respiratory illnesses.

Make sure that your coop is well ventilated, with vents that directs the air somewhere other than straight onto your chickens. 

3. Don’t heat the coop

Chickens are hardy creatures that will gradually adapt to lower temperatures and heating the coop will mean that your chickens never get used to the cold. This will also make them less likely to actually leave the coop and get that exercise, fresh air and entertainment that they require to stay happy and healthy. 

Apart from the fact that heaters in the coop will always be a potential fire hazard, you also run the risk of your ill-adapted chickens getting a shock at a sudden drop in temperature if the power was to go off for some reason. This is much worse for them than having a slightly chillier coop. 

If you’re worried you can always add a bit of extra bedding to the nest box or put an extreme temperature cover on your Eglu. 

A boy in a snowy Eglu coop with his chickens

4. Don’t leave eggs too long

Although the Eglu will keep your eggs warm and toasty, there is a risk that eggs laid elsewhere in the run or the garden will freeze in winter. Frozen eggs are not automatically dangerous to eat, but when the content of the egg freezes and expands, there’s a higher risk of bacteria entering through the cracks in the shell. 

Collect the eggs every time you visit your chickens to minimize the risk of a frozen yolk.

5. Don’t ignore the water

As goes for all animals, you will want to give your chickens constant access to fresh water, even in winter. They won’t drink as much during the colder months, but here that’s actually a disadvantage, as the water is more likely to freeze if not touched regularly. 

Bring the drinker inside overnight and take it out when you go to check on your girls in the morning. If the temperature goes below zero during the day, check the water as often as you can, and break the ice or change the water if it has frozen. 

There are several water heating solutions available on the market. There are heaters that you can easily plug into an outdoor power source, but there are also battery powered heaters you can put in the water. Just make sure the chickens are not able to peck their way through the heater.

If the temperature stays around zero, you can put something floating in the water, like a tennis ball. As the floating object moves, it will break up surface ice as it forms on the water, which will stop, or at least slow down the freezing process.

6. Don’t put off cleaning the coop

Hanging out in the garden is not as tempting in winter, but you will still need to make sure the chickens’ house is nice and clean. It is likely that your chickens will spend more time in the coop in winter and produce more droppings there, so keep an eye out and change your routine accordingly. 

7. Don’t limit the fun

The chickens might not venture as far out in the garden as they normally do, and the opportunity to forage for bugs and other treats will be limited when the ground is frozen or covered with snow. This can lead to chickens getting bored, which might result in aggressive feather pecking and egg eating.

You will need to make sure that they have plenty of fun things to do in their run. We have lots of boredom busting accessories in our shop. Put up perches the chickens can sit on and try the super fun Peck Toys or the Caddi treat holder for gradual treat-dispensing hentertainment. Or, if you feel your chickens might be the adventurous kind, why not put up a Chicken Swing they can enjoy together?

8. Don’t stick to the same feeding schedule

Your chickens will most likely eat more in winter, as they need the energy to keep warm. Give them some extra food, and make sure it doesn’t freeze in the feeder. For an extra snack, sprinkle some corn on the run in the afternoon to add both calories and some foraging fun. Or why not try this yummy chicken porridge that will warm their tummies on cold winter mornings.

Also make sure that you provide plenty of grit. As chickens don’t have teeth they need it do digest their food. The rest of the year they find and swallows little stones and pebbles as they peck around the garden, but if the ground is frozen this will be much harder.

9. Don’t ignore combs and wattles

All chickens, but particularly breeds with large combs and wattles, run the risk of frostbite on these sensitive body parts during winter. It’s not necessarily dangerous as it’s normally just the tips that get affected, but can be a bit uncomfortable. To prevent this, apply petroleum jelly to the combs and wattles during cold spells. 

10. Don’t take covers off when the sun is shining

If you’re in the habit of taking the covers off the chickens’ run when it’s sunny, it might be a good idea to stop doing this in winter. Clear covers in particular will create a lovely sunroom feeling on the run when the sun is out, and your girls will love having a warmer spot to retreat to. Covers will also stop cold winds, so we would suggest keeping them on permanently in winter.

A close up of a grey chicken with the Eglu Go behind in the snow

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Snow Safety Tips for Pets

Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop covered in snow

Snowy weather can bring great fun for all the family, but when it comes to our pets we need to take extra care to keep them happy and healthy (even if they love it!) Take a look at our snow safety advice, and make sure you’re prepared for whatever winter may bring…

Dry off damp fur and feathers

Check on your outdoor pets a few times throughout the day during periods of snowy weather and check they haven’t got too wet. Damp fur and feathers will take longer to dry during colder temperatures, making it difficult for them to warm up again. Indoor animals should also be dried off with a towel after being outside or going for a walk. 

Clean paws of ice

For dogs and cats in particular, snow can get compacted into their paw pads and turn to painful cubes of ice. Use a towel or drying mitt to dislodge any chunks of snow and dry off their feet. Also take care when walking your dogs in snow, as salt used to grit the roads can be poisonous. Watch that they don’t stop to eat snow at the roadside and clean their legs and paws of any snow or dirt after their walk. 

Extra food 

Pets of all kinds will use more energy to keep themselves warm in winter, particularly in super cold, snowy spells, so they will benefit from some extra food. Although they will appreciate more treats, don’t be tempted to overfeed on these. Something nutritious will help them the most.

Extra bedding

Outdoor pets will need more dry bedding in their coop or hutch for them to snuggle into and keep warm. However, make sure their home is still well ventilated to keep fresh air moving through and prevent health problems. Read other ways you can get your coop winter-ready. Indoor animals might also appreciate an extra blanket or a cozy den for bedtime. 

Potential risks

If you have a cat who still likes to go outdoors whatever the weather, be wary of the potential of antifreeze poisoning. Look out for symptoms such as vomiting, seizures or difficulty breathing and call a vet immediately if you think your cat may be ill. Find out more about anti-freeze poisoning here. An outdoor enclosure could also provide a solution for letting them play outside in safety.

Don’t forget about the wild birds in your garden! 

Place a wide bowl or tray of water in your garden with something inside to float around (e.g. rubber duck!) to keep the water moving and prevent freezing. Extra wild bird food will also be appreciated!

A cat looking outside the window - snow outside

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The Omlet Thanksgiving Sale is on! Up to 20% off

Whether you are starting your chicken keeping journey in the new year, want to give your pets a safe space to to play on in the garden, have decided to invest in the incredibly popular automatic chicken coop door, plan to build a fun tunnel system for your rabbits or just looking to treat your pet – we’ve got you covered!

In Omlet’s Thanksgiving Sale you get up to 20% off your order, so what are you waiting for?

 

Terms and Conditions

Up to 20% off promotion is only valid from 11/18/19 – 11/28/19. No promo code required. Subject to availability. Omlet ltd. reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any point. All Extreme Temperature Jackets and Covers are excluded from this promotion. The discount cannot be transferred to delivery or courses. Offer is only valid on full priced items and cannot be used on already discounted products or in conjunction with any other offer.

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Should I shut the door to my Eglu at night?

Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop shut with Omlet Autodoor - Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Here at Omlet we often receive calls from aspiring chicken keepers who are seeking chicken keeping advice before getting their first birds. Some of the most popular questions we get asked are, what should I feed my chicken with or how can I protect my chickens from predators? One question that keeps coming up is, do I need to shut the Eglu door at night?

Often people ask us this question because the idea of adding another task to their daily routine might be one of the reasons which puts them off chicken keeping. Much like you wouldn’t like to sleep with your front door open, unfortunately for chicken keepers, nor do your chickens, therefore most nights we would recommend you close the chicken coop door.

But having to close the door doesn’t necessarily mean that it would need to be done by the chicken keeper themselves! Have you ever thought about automatic door system? Well luckily for chicken keepers, Omlet has recently launched a new Autodoor which will solve all of these problems.

Even though our Eglus are specially designed to keep your chickens warm in winter with a unique twin-wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing, leaving the door open overnight would let the cold enter inside which might result in having frozen eggs after a freezing winter night and could make your chickens feel unwell. Therefore, we strongly recommend you use the handle on top of the Eglu and simply lift and twist it to close the door in one convenient motion each evening after having make sure all your flock are inside.

As important as it is to close the door to protect your hens from the cold, it is also important to do it to protect them from potential overnight predator attacks. Most predators would wait for the night to attack your chickens therefore by simply closing the door it would protect your flock from being attacked by predators such as racoons, foxes and coyotes.

Having said how important it is to close your chicken coop overnight we understand that not everyone has the luxury of being at home every night to close the coop door especially for people working late shifts that are often home well after the sun sets. That is why we recently launched an automatic chicken coop door that can be attached directly to any wooden chicken coop, wire or the Omlet Eglu Cube Mk1 and Mk2.

Much like a personal chicken coop concierge, the Autodoor will always make sure your chicken’s coop is securely closed at night even when you’re running late. Whether you decide to use the light or time mode, the Omlet secure and safe Autodoor will either open and close at dawn and dusk or at specific times that you have programmed it to. In addition to being designed to be used in different modes the Autodoor has a unique safety sensor detecting any blockages to prevent your chickens from being injured when they decide to stop half way through the door.

Benefits of the Omlet Automatic Chicken Coop Door:

  • Easy to install, no maintenance required
  • Operated by light sensor or timer
  • Powered by battery
  • Works with all wooden chicken coops
  • Improves coop security and insulation
  • Compatible with the Eglu Cube
  • Reliable in all weather conditions
  • Built-in safety sensors
  • Can be used with any chicken run or mesh

To summarise, closing the coop door is definitely the recommended action for every chicken keeper in order to protect their chickens from the cold and predators however this task can easily be completed by an Autodoor.
Check out the review below to see what one of our Autodoor owners thinks of this new product:

Thank you Omlet for a wonderful product and great service. The door arrived quickly, very well packaged and my concerns over fitting it were unfounded as I was able to complete the task completely unaided. The door is easy to operate and means my girls are safely tucked up at dusk and I do not have to get up ridiculously early to open the coop and stop them hollering!” – Wendy

Read more reviews

Chickens outside in their Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop and Run

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How the Autodoor makes winter easier for you and your chickens

We can learn a lot from chickens. They go to bed early, and once indoors they snuggle up together to keep warm. No messing about after hours. As a result, they’re ready for a fresh start as soon as the sun comes up.

The problem is, there’s often no early-rising human around at dawn to open the door of the coop and let the hens get on with a busy day’s scratching, foraging and laying. Equally, you might not be able to be there to lock the door behind them after they’ve headed for bed early in the bleak midwinter.

An open door in the chicken shed lets in the cold, and unless your coop and run are secure, some very unwelcome night visitors of the four-footed kind might come calling…

Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop with Autodoor in the snow

“Someone should invent an Autodoor for chicken sheds…”

Fortunately, the necessary security-cum-draft-excluder has already been invented. Omlet’s Autodoor attaches directly to the Eglu Cube Mk1 and Mk2 chicken houses. But it’s not exclusively for those models – the Autodoor works with any chicken coop, with a unique and clever design that enables it to be attached to whatever des res your chickens are living in.

Like many ingenious inventions – wind-up radios and wind-up torches come to mind, or solar powered garden lights – Omlet’s automatic chicken coop door opener is very simple. It’s battery powered, with both a timer and a light sensor for maximum flexibility and control. The Autodoor won’t instantly seize up when the temperature plunges, either. It’s been tested to work down to -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius).

The Autodoor is also very easy to install. Its LCD control panel is separate from the door itself, so it can be placed in the best position for the built-in light sensor to do its work.

The door, once closed, is also very secure. It doesn’t use a string and pulley system, so it can’t be lifted up by hungry creatures hoping for a midnight chicken snack. Nor will they be able to squeeze through the tight seal once the door is shut.

Attaching The Autodoor

If your hens live in an Omlet Eglu Mk2 Cube or a chicken coop made of wood, the Autodoor comes with all the fittings you need. You’ll need a few extra attachments if you want to fit the door to a Mk1 Eglu Cube, an Omlet Run or a set up involving traditional chicken wire.

The control panel and light sensor attach via a robust cable, so you can choose the best spot for registering the daylight. The sensor doesn’t mean your hens have to be home before the sun hits the horizon, though. You can set it to close an hour after sunset, to suit your birds’ routine. Equally, it can be set to open an hour after first light, if your chickens are used to having a bit of a lazy start to the day. This makes sense when the days are particularly cold – the hens might want to take advantage of their cosy place on the perch for as long as possible before venturing out into the cold frosty morning.

The door will not open in the night, even if passing headlights, a security light or a torch beam shine on the coop. It has been designed to ignore these temporary bursts of light, and only open when there has been consistent light for an amount of time fixed by you via the control panel.

So basically, that’s your chickens’ winter worries sorted.

It’s possible that you have a stoical family member who is willing to be on guard at dawn and dusk every day throughout the cold winter months to open and close the coop door. Lucky you –that’s real chicken dedication! 

For everyone else, the Autodoor does all the work for you when you’re not around. Or, let’s face it, it gives you the excuse and peace of mind to enjoy a weekend lie-in without having to brave the elements on morning chicken duty!

Hens in Eglu Cube Chicken Coop with Automatic Chicken Coop Door in winter

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How to Prepare your Chicken Coop for Winter

A chicken keeper and her dog outside in the snow with an Eglu coop

The temperature is already dropping rapidly, the nights are drawing in and we are just weeks away from the first frost. Although the fresh air and crunchy leaves may be loved by some, the signs of winter being just around the corner can be a worry for chicken keepers. 

Now is the time to act! Get your chickens’ coop ready for the colder months before the freezing temperatures hit, and you will be able to rest easy knowing that your girls are warm and healthy throughout winter. 

Take a look at some of our top tips for getting your chicken coop winter-ready…

Move your coop closer to the house

This is a simple step for making it easier for you to look after your girls and give them their daily health checks, which are even more important in the colder months. Choose a lightweight coop with wheels, like the Eglu, to make it even easier to move it around your yard.

An Eglu coop covered in the snow

Upgrade your wooden coop to an Eglu

The main benefit to an Eglu Cube Chicken Coop for chicken keepers in winter is the twin wall insulation found in the design of the plastic house. This works in a similar way to double glazing, by creating a barrier between the cold air outside the coop, and the air inside. The air between the two walls conducts poorly, which means inside the house stays at a consistent and warm temperature throughout winter, whatever the weather is doing outside. Chickens are very efficient at keeping themselves warm, all you will need to do is make sure the coop door is shut at nighttime. 

Autodoor

…and to make sure your chicken coop’s door is always shut at dusk, even if you are not yet home, the Automatic Chicken Coop Door is a convenient solution for the Eglu Cube or wooden chicken coops. You can set the Autodoor to close at a specific time or light percentage to suit when all your girls have gone up to bed and the sun has set. The Autodoor runs off batteries and has been tested to work down to -10 degrees celcius so there is no worry, however cold it gets outside! 

The other benefit to the Autodoor is that it will open again at dawn so you can head off to work early before the sun rises and your girls need to be let out, or you can stay in bed for even longer at the weekends without going out in the freezing cold to let your chickens out of their coop! 

“The nights are drawing in and I couldn’t be happier knowing that my girls are safely tucked up in bed with their Omlet Autodoor closed behind them. The Autodoor has given me peace of mind, flexibility and a well needed lie in! Couldn’t recommend it enough!” – Hayley’s Lottie Haven

Run covers

Chickens are very good at coping in cold temperatures, but don’t like getting wet, so it would be kinder for them to be protected from the elements when in their run by our clear covers and windbreaks. Available in a variety of sizes to suit your run length, the clear run covers protect your girls from wind and rain so they can continue to play whatever the weather, whilst still allowing light into the run. 

A close up of an Eglu coop outside

Extreme temperature jackets

When the temperature drops below freezing for multiple days in a row during the very depths of winter, it might be wise to give your chickens extra warmth with an extreme temperature jacket. Poorly or older chickens, will definitely benefit from this extra support.

Hentertainment

Prevent chickens getting bored when rain stops play with a variety of fun and interactive toys they can play with in all weathers. The Chicken Perch provides an easy outdoor perch which can be installed in their run (and protected by the run covers) for when your chickens can’t perch in their usual spots around your yard. The Chicken Swing provides hours of fun and again, can be easily installed in any run. While the Peck Toys and Caddi Treat Holder offer enriching entertainment as well as a rewarding flow of treats.

Added extras

Prevent your chickens’ water from freezing with a water heater to ensure they have access to flowing water at all times. It is also recommended to provide extra layers pellets and treats during winter, as chickens will need more energy to keep themselves warm and lay their eggs in the colder months.

 

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When Your Eglu Looks Like An Igloo

A lot of chicken keepers are worried about their chickens during cold winter days. Chickens are usually well adapted to the cold and as long as their coop is dry on the inside, they feel happy and warm in the Eglu.

Of course there are a few things to look out for and prepare for during the winter, so we have spoken to Stefanie, who is going through her second winter with the chickens in their Eglu Cube this year. She tells us about the preparations and adaptations she makes for when the weather gets icy and how she and her chickens get through the season.

Omlet: How long have you been keeping chickens and how many have you got?

Stefanie: We have been keeping six chickens since February 2018.

 

Omlet: What is your favourite thing about keeping chickens?

Stefanie: I love that we have our own, freshly laid eggs every morning.

Omlet: You live in an area of Germany that usually gets very cold and snowy in winter. How cold can it get in winter and how much snow do you have at the moment?

Stefanie: We live in Lohberg, in the south of Germany. The temperatures are usually between -5 and -15 degrees centigrade in winter (5f), so it does get very cold here. We currently have around 50cm of snow, which is normal for this time of year.

 

Omlet: What changes did you make to the Eglu Cube to get it ready for winter?

Stefanie: We use the Extreme-Temperature Jackets and run covers during the winter as they help keep the cold out.

 

Omlet: Do you change the daily food and water routine during the winter?

Stefanie: We make sure to feed them more regularly and keep an eye on them to make sure they definitely eat enough. They eat a lot of fresh lettuce, and I like to give them warm food to help them keep warm. Keeping an eye on the water is extremely important as it easily freezes.

 

Omlet: Do the chickens use the run more or less in the winter than they do the rest of the year and do your chickens like snow?

Stefanie: My chickens don’t like snow at all, so that’s why they mainly keep to the covered areas of their run, where it’s dry.

 

Omlet: Do your chickens lay eggs in the winter?

Stefanie: Our six girls don’t lay as much as they usually do during other times of the year, but even though we have a lot of snow, we still get around two to three eggs every day.

Omlet: Do you add a light source to your coop?

Stefanie: Yes, we do have a light in the coop as it gets dark very early these days.

 

Omlet: As chickens love scratching and foraging for food, do you give them some other entertainment when it’s snowy and icy?

Stefanie: Yes, we tend to spread some corn in the covered areas of their run. This keeps them entertained and offers them a chance to scratch naturally.

These are great ideas to keep your chickens happy and healthy during the winter. Have a look at our video of top tips for chicken keeping in winter:

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Eglu Cube vs Wooden Chicken Coop: Which Will Stay Warmer?

 

Hens stood in the snow next to Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop with weather protection

On a cold winter’s day, when there’s a heavy frost or a thick blanket of snow do you ever wonder how your chickens manage without central heating and a mug of cocoa? It’s natural to worry if your hens will be comfortable when the temperature dips below freezing.

Unsurprisingly, chickens will look for shelter when the weather’s bad so the first thing you can do to keep your chickens cosy is make sure they have a winter proof chicken coop. In this respect choosing the right chicken coop is similar to choosing your own house. You wouldn’t want drafty windows and doors, a leaky roof, and paper thin walls – and neither do your chickens. Many coops that are bought are fine during the summer, but unfortunately when winter comes they can leave their occupants shivering. We set about testing two very different chicken coops over the course of 3 nights in the Bavarian Forest in Germany. A place that gets more than its fair share of snow and ice.

The first chicken coop was typical of the type sold all over the internet. On first impressions everything fits together well and it’s attractively painted, it comes with a roosting bar and a nesting box and a run. It appears that this is a perfectly good chicken coop. However, on closer inspection it’s worrying to find that large sections of the wooden panels are only 5mm thick. There’s no insulation and nothing in the instructions regarding the suitability of the coop for year round use.

The second coop was the Eglu Cube Chicken Coop by Omlet. This chicken coop is part of the Eglu range which all feature a twin walled construction providing an insulating layer all round the coop. Similar to the way ice chests are made, it feels extremely robust and heavy duty. You could say it’s agricultural quality in a hobby chicken coop. It looks the part – but would the Eglu keep the cold out and the warm in?

Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop next to wooden chicken coop in the snow

 

Identical digital thermometers were placed inside the Eglu and the wooden coop which would take readings both inside and outside the coops during the night.  Cameras were also placed inside the coops to record the chickens. After the chickens went to bed the front doors were closed, in fact the Eglu Cube came complete with a rather fancy Automatic Chicken Coop Door which gently closed behind the last chicken.  

As it got dark the outside temperature dropped to -3.8℃.  While it was getting colder outside, it was getting warmer in the Eglu Cube Chicken Coop. Around an hour after the chickens had gone to roost the temperature inside the Eglu Cube was 8.3℃ and it stayed there all night. That’s a plus 12℃ temperature difference.

Unfortunately it was not as cosy in the wooden house. As the temperature outside dropped so too did the temperature inside the wooden coop. At 11pm it was -2℃ inside the coop. That’s only 1℃ warmer than the outside temperature. In fact the inside of the wooden coop stayed below zero for nearly the whole night, warming to just above zero by 7am.

If it was freezing inside you might be wondering how on earth the chickens survived. Chickens, as with all other warm blooded animals, have temperature-regulating mechanisms to keep their body temperature at a constant level (around 41-45℃ in a healthy adult hen), so they can cope with a certain amount of cold. Just like wild birds, chickens will fluff up their feathers when it gets cold; this traps a layer of air which insulates the chickens against the cold. This is why it’s so important that chickens don’t get wet during cold weather, as this prevents them from being able to fluff their feathers up. In addition a drafty coop will make it hard for them to trap this layer of warm air too.

They will also tuck their head under their wings and huddle together with their coop companions to keep themselves warm. On the in coop camera recording you could clearly see how the chickens select a roosting place, and then fluff up their feathers.

So if the chickens in the wooden coop were able to keep themselves warm even though it was freezing inside there’s nothing to worry about? Not quite, a coop that’s not insulated or draughty will place extra demands on your chickens because of the heat being lost. Chickens in a cold coop will have to increase their metabolism to turn food and fat reserves into heat at a faster rate than hens in a cosy coop. If the heat loss is extreme, or a chicken is not fully fit then over the course of several cold nights there is a risk that all the energy reserves are used up resulting in the chicken being unable to keep it’s body temperature high enough with potentially fatal consequences.

What this test shows is that properly insulated, winter ready chicken coop can make all the difference between a cosy night in the coop and one spent shivering to keep warm. As an added bonus hens that use up less energy keeping warm are more likely to keep laying.

Graph comparing warmth of Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop with wooden chicken coop

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Caring For Your Rabbits In Winter

A fluffy brown rabbit in the snowWhen the temperatures drop, most rabbit owners know the importance of checking that their pet’s hutch is winter ready.

However, did you know it’s just as important to consider your rabbit’s emotional needs as well?

Brave the cold to give your bunny a cuddle!

An often-overlooked problem for rabbits in winter is that they have reduced playtime with their owner. When the weather’s nice, you’ll often be outside even if you’re not specifically going out to see your rabbit. You and your pet will benefit from lots of regular visibility. However, in the winter when you’re not going outside as much, you and your rabbit will also be missing out on regular contact, and this will have a significant impact on your rabbits’ health. Even if kept with other rabbits, they can still miss you and feel lonely. Brave the cold and get outside to maintain as much of their normal routine as possible. And remember rabbits are crepuscular meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn so even when it’s dark you can still pop out to see them, it’s unlikely you’ll disturb their sleep.An Eglu Go hutch covered in snow

As well as less playtime with their owner, less exercise is also an unhealthy side effect of the winter months. It is incredibly important you do all you can to avoid this affecting your rabbits’ health.

Consider a hutch with a run attached so that your rabbits have access to space for exercise during the day. A large walk in run also makes it easier for you to play with your rabbit, as there is space inside for you to join them, and you and your rabbits can be protected from the elements by covers over the top and around the sides of the run.

If your rabbits’ hutch is not attached to a run, the Zippi Tunnel System is an excellent solution to link these two together and provide rabbits with easy access to a larger area for exercise when they choose. You can also open the run in the morning and close in the evening by using the door on the Zippi Tunnel entrance.

Provide lots of dry bedding in their hutch and if your rabbit’s get really wet then you can dry your rabbits with a towel after outdoor activity. Check there is food and water available in the run, as well as a shelter and toys. You can even place some bedding in the run to encourage exercise when it is cold.

Your rabbits’ home

In winter, ensure that your rabbits’ home is waterproof, dry and ventilated. A common problem with standard wooden hutches is that they can become damp and cold from leaks and drafts. If you do have a wooden hutch, it is important to check the home for damp patches regularly. You will also need to remove any wet bedding promptly as this can freeze.

Consider moving your hutch closer to your house, in a sheltered area to protect it from wind and rain and make it easier for you to check on your bunnies regularly.

Provide your rabbits with extra bedding to keep them warmer during these colder months, and you may also want to purchase a safe microwavable heat pad to place underneath bedding if temperatures drop below freezing.

Ensure your rabbits have access to clean drinking water at all times, as they will likely drink more in winter, and check this is not frozen on particularly cold days. As well as hay, provide your rabbits with some leafy greens as these may be in short supply for them in your garden at this time of year.

Some owners bring their rabbits indoors for winter. This can be a great way to keep pets warm and healthy in the colder months, however, the process needs to be carefully managed. Moving your rabbits into a different habitat can be a stressful change, which should be done gradually. Remove all hazards and cables from ground level in the rooms which your rabbits will have access to, provide a dark sleeping spot, and place familiar items from the outside hutch into the home.

We recommend seeking further advice from animal welfare experts or your vet if moving your rabbits indoors.

A grey and white fluffy rabbit sat outside

If this is not an option for you, or if your wooden hutch is looking a little worse for wear, and not providing your rabbits with the warm, dry shelter, they require, consider upgrading to a insulated waterproof hutch, such as the Eglu Go, which offers complete protection against the elements.

The Eglu Go Hutch has a unique twin wall insulation system which works in a similar way to double glazing to keep your rabbit’s home well insulated, while the draught-free ventilation system allows fresh air in without blowing cold air over the bedding area. The removable bedding tray can be slid out and cleaned quickly making it easier for you to meet your rabbits’ needs and maintain their dry living conditions.

Watch this video to see how easily the Eglu Go Hutch can be made completely winterproof…

Source – RSPCA (https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rabbits, https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/winter/pets)

Click here for full terms and conditions for New Year, New Eglu promo.

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How to prevent your hens’ eggs from freezing 

Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop with Autodoor in the snow

If you live anywhere subject to cold temperatures, chances are good that you’ll encounter a frozen chicken egg in the nesting box. Frozen eggs are less than ideal for numerous reasons –  but they can be avoided. Here are some quick tips to show you how to prevent your eggs from freezing before you get to them. 

Why do eggs freeze? 

Eggs are mostly liquid inside until they’re cooked or are able to develop into a chick – and like other liquids, they have a freezing point. Chicken eggs freeze around 29℉, and can freeze solid in just a couple of hours. Since a non-broody hen doesn’t sit on the eggs for long, eggs laid in the nesting box are susceptible to the cold. 

How can I tell if an egg is frozen? 

Frozen eggs may feel more dense than usual, and may also crack, burst, or bulge from the internal pressure. Some eggs may not be completely frozen when they’re collected, and if you use them right away, you may see the partially frozen egg white. Partially frozen eggs may also feel off-balance in your hand, or make an audible sound when shaken. 

Can I use frozen eggs?

Eggs that have frozen don’t have the same consistency or taste that you would normally expect from fresh eggs. Frozen eggs can be thawed and eaten, but due to their makeup, their texture will be grainy and unpleasant. Frozen yolks that have thawed will be thickened and gelatinous, losing their ability to be mixed well. 

Any eggs that have cracked or appear misshapen from pressure should be thrown out – including those that have frozen. Once the shell of an egg has cracked, it exposes the egg to bacteria and other contaminants that can make you ill. It’s in your best interest to toss frozen eggs and focus on preventing them from freezing in the first place. 

3 ways to prevent eggs from freezing

Insulate your coop

Insulated chicken coops help contain the body heat from your hens and keep it from dispersing too quickly. It also minimizes the effects that the exterior temperature has on the interior, keeping the coop warmer than the ambient temperature. You can attempt to insulate your existing chicken coop – but be sure not to limit the ventilation, which is important during the winter months to prevent moisture buildup. Our line of Eglu Chicken Coops have twin-wall insulation with draft-free ventilation to keep the coop comfortable during the cold. Extreme temperature protection can also be added to further insulate our coops in especially cold climates. 

Focus on the nest box

Make the nesting box as warm and inviting as possible. Thick bedding like straw is a good choice for winter nesting box comfort. You can also hang strips of thick fabric like fleece as a curtain in front of your hens’ nesting area to further insulate against the cold. Chicken nesting boxes should be elevated above the frozen ground, and warm enough to prevent the eggs from freezing until you’re able to collect them. 

Collect eggs more frequently

During the winter months, it’s important to check for eggs several times a day to prevent them from freezing. While chicken eggs can stay in the coop for several days under normal circumstances and still be edible, frozen eggs should be avoided. Hens typically lay their eggs mid-late morning or in the early afternoon. It’s good practice to check the nesting box after your morning cup of coffee, after lunch, and at least one other time before dark. 

What to avoid when preventing eggs from freezing 

There are some insulating or heat-producing measures that may be tempting to take in order to prevent your eggs from freezing, but be sure to avoid: 

  • Placing a heat bulb or plate inside of the coop, as this will make your hens too hot and potentially cause them to go into shock when they venture out into the cold temperatures. 
  • Completely sealing up a chicken coop – this prevents air from circulating and will encourage moisture buildup on the coop and your hens, which can lead to respiratory illness and frostbite on their combs and wattles.
  • Offering blankets or other cloth as nesting box bedding. Hens’ claws can easily become snagged in fabric and cause injury.  

Omlet and your eggs 

Our range of Eglu Chicken Coops all feature the same expertly designed insulating methods to keep your hens as comfortable as possible in all weather conditions. And, with the addition of an automatic chicken coop door, you can schedule your hens to stay in their coop during the coldest parts of the morning – adding heat to both the coop and their eggs. When you choose an ingeniously insulated Omlet chicken coop, you can have confidence that your chickens are comfortable when they roost, play, and lay their eggs. 

A boy in a snowy Eglu Chicken Coop with his chickens

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Christmas food dos and don’ts for dogs

Cockapoo pawing at dog Christmas advent calendar

Christmas is the time for all the family to enjoy – our pet pooches included. We know that dogs are best off sticking to their normal food over the holidays but ignoring those puppy eyes beaming up to the dinner table is notoriously difficult. If you know you won’t be able to resist sneaking your furry friend some festive treats, it’s important to know what Christmas foods you can, and what Christmas foods you definitely can’t, give your dog.

Christmas foods that your dog shouldn’t eat

Starting with the basics, your dog should never be encouraged to join in with Christmas drinking. Even a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous. There are also several traditional festive food goodies that you should not share with your pet:

  1. The bones and skin from the turkey or chicken
    Bones from any bird can be dangerous. They can get lodged in the throat, becoming a serious choking hazard, and can break into small sharp pieces that can pierce the lining of the stomach or intestines. Turkey skin is extremely fatty, which is not only unhealthy for dogs, but can cause serious problems with their pancreas.
  2. Gravy
    You may think that gravy is delicious and completely harmless, but it’s high in salt and fat, both of which can be dangerous to dogs.
  3. Onions and other bulb vegetables
    All types of alliums are poisonous to dogs, so it’s important to keep your pet away from them. Onions are the main cause for concern, but other bulb vegetables, like garlic, can also cause serious problems.
  4. Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas
    All of these items are highly toxic to dogs. In fact, if your pet eats even a small amount, you should seek help from a vet as soon as possible. For this reason, Christmas treats such as Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies should never be fed to dogs, and ideally be kept out of reach at all times.
  5. Chocolate in any form
    Chocolate is a favorite in most homes over the holidays, but it’s very bad for dogs. It contains theobromine, which can be deadly to your furry friend even in small amounts, so don’t let them have any, no matter how much they give you the sad eyes treatment.

You should of course not serve any of these foods to your dog at any time of the year, but it might be a good idea to keep an extra eye on your dog during the holidays, as leftovers might be left on the table while you enjoy a game of charades, or well-meaning guests might try to sneak your pooch a bit of Christmas cake. It’s a good idea to tell everyone not to feed the dogs anything, and then, if you really want to, you can treat them to some canine-friendly festive food yourself. Here are a few things that are fine for dogs to eat.

Christmas foods that your dog can eat

Christmas won’t be ruined for your dog if they don’t get a special Christmas dinner, but if you want them to join in with the celebrations, you can try some of these things. It’s important to remember that all of these foods should be given to dogs in moderation – keep portions small.

  1. A few slices of turkey
    You can give your pet some white turkey meat, as long as the skin and all bones have been removed.
  2. Boiled and mashed potatoes
    Dogs will enjoy a small amount of boiled or mashed potato. Remember that you should only ever feed your pet plain potato with no salt or butter added.
  3. Other vegetables
    As with any other food items, do not give your dog a pile of vegetables, but it’s fine to let them have a try of a few selected items from the Christmas meal. Sprouts, swedes, parsnips and green beans are normally very popular with dogs, as is a raw or cooked piece of carrot. Do not add any seasoning, butter or sauces before you give the vegetables to your pet, however.
  4. Eggs
    Many of us enjoy some scrambled eggs on Christmas morning, and this is another thing you can give to your dog as a treat. In fact, eggs contain lots of beneficial vitamins and minerals, and can make the dog’s coat shinier. Again, you should not add any butter or salt to the eggs, and it’s best to keep portions small.
  5. Fruit with pips or stones removed
    Most fruits in the fruit bowl can be shared with your dog, as long as pips or stones are removed, and items like bananas and satsumas are peeled. You should however remember that fruit is acidic and contains a lot of sugar, so can cause stomach problems in dogs if they have too much.

Omlet and your dog’s Christmas 

Whichever foods you’ll be tucking into over the holidays, Omlet has just what your pup needs to have to make sure it’s their best yet. Our easy-to-clean dog beds are perfect for messy pups this season, and our ingeniously designed dog crates are ideal for when Fido needs a break. So, now you know what foods are on and off the menu, it’s time to enjoy the festivities, knowing your canine companion will be staying safe.

Dog biscuit recipe

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Have Yourself a Pet-Friendly Christmas

Cat by Christmas tree surrounded by Christmas presents

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, and we’re all looking forward to celebrating together with our loved ones, including our pets! It’s therefore important to consider what effect all the festive fun is having on our furry friends, and to make sure they’re also having a great time. Here are some of our top tips for keeping your pets safe and happy this Christmas!

Limit treats

We know it’s much more difficult to resist feeding scraps to your pets over Christmas, but in most cases, it’s really not good for them, and can even be harmful. Instead, we suggest that you spend this special occasion making the most of plenty of quality time with your pets. They’ll without a doubt prefer your company to treats or presents! For a guide of what you can feed your dogs this Christmas, take a read of our blog Happy Howlidays: Food Do’s and Don’ts for Dogs This Christmas.

Keep routines

Try to stick to the normal schedule as much as possible over the holidays, especially when it comes to mealtimes. Our pets don’t understand that we have got lots to do during this time after all, and a disruption of their routines will add to a possibly already stressful time. Let your chickens out at the same time as usual, walk your dog as you would normally and give your cat their daily play time.

Give your pets a safe space

Christmas can get hectic, so make sure your pet has somewhere to go to get away from all hustle and bustle, preferably in a different, quieter, room. If you’ve got guests coming over, let them know what to do, and what not to do, around your pets. It’s important that everyone knows what doors, windows and gates need to be kept closed, what the pets are allowed to do and eat, and when they are to be left alone.

Going away

If you’re spending Christmas somewhere else, you need to take your pets into consideration. Don’t leave them alone for longer than they are used to, and make sure they’ve got what they need while you’re away. If you’re taking them with you, bring something that will remind them of home, like a cat blanket, dog toy, or their hamster cage. If you can’t take them with you, you will need to find an alternative solution.

Make sure you plan the journey and be aware of the fact that traffic can be busy around Christmas. Your pet must have access to food and water at all times, and depending on your what pet you’ve got, there might be a need for toilet breaks.

A boy sat in an Eglu chicken enclosure in the snow

Christmas trees and plants

Make sure your Christmas tree if safely secured, as cats tend to try and climb them. It might also be a good idea to hang especially intriguing and tantalising decorations higher up in the tree where pets can’t reach them as easily. This minimises the risk of cats getting tangled and the tree falling over.

Hoover under and around the tree regularly to get rid of fallen pine needles. The needles can get stuck in mouths or between toes, which can be very painful.

Lots of our most common Christmas plants, including poinsettias, mistletoe and amaryllis, are poisonous to a lot of pets, so make sure you stay clear of them, or keep them out of reach.

Decorations and presents

Choose non-toxic Christmas decorations and keep cables from lights and other decorations out of reach. Should your pet try to nibble through them, this can cause damage to both cable and pet.

Don’t leave presents containing eatable things (chocolate in particular!) under the tree. It will soon be sniffed out, and it won’t take a couple of greedy paws long to get into a wrapped present.

Once the gifts have been opened, clear away the wrapping paper straight away. Not only will you avoid having paper all over the room once your pets get to it, but coloured paper and string should also not be ingested by pets.

Dog lying on Omlet Bolster Dog Bed in Cherry Red by Christmas tree

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This entry was posted in Pets


Last Delivery Dates for Christmas!

Get your delivery in time for Christmas.

Make sure you order before the 17th of December to get your delivery in time for the big day.

Deadlines depend on the product you are purchasing and your chosen delivery method delivering and your address. This date is a guide only, we recommend that you place your orders early to avoid disappointment. Omlet cannot take responsibility for third party supplier delays such as courier service.

No delivery service available on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years Day.

Normal deliveries will resume on Wednesday 2nd January 2019

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This entry was posted in Offers and Promotions


Warming Winter Breakfast for your Chickens

Two brown chickens eating from a bowl outside in the snow The cold, frosty temperatures of Winter are in full swing, and while you are enjoying a warm cup of tea in the warmth of your kitchen, you might be looking out on your girls wondering how they feel about the colder weather.

If you’re looking for a new way to keep them warm first thing in the morning, or late afternoon just before they go to roost, consider making this yummy, warm corn recipe, specially for your hens, with a festive flavour which will provide extra nutrients to keep up their health this winter. It’s super simple and quick to make.

Ingredients – for 2-3 chickens

2oz corn

1oz oats

1oz raisins

100ml hot water

Pinch of ginger, cinnamon

Method

Soak the corn, oats and raisins in hot water for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in a pinch of Ginger and Cinnamon for added nutrients for your chickens. Leave to cool slightly before feeding to chickens.

Ginger supports the immune system and provides anti-inflammatory benefits which can be particularly beneficial for a poorly hen. Cinnamon has antibacterial and antioxidant benefits, and can reduce inflammation, these are extremely good for chickens as they are likely to experience respiratory problems.

Source: https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2015/05/spice-up-your-chicken-keeping-for.html

A bowl of chicken porridge

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How to Insulate a Chicken Coop

boy sits in snow with his chickens and eglu

Insulating your chicken coop and getting your flock ready for winter is vital for their health and happiness. Most chicken breeds cope well in moderately cold temperatures as long as they have a well-insulated, dry coop. Chickens normally acclimatize to the cold weather, so if you have an insulated coop such as an Eglu Chicken Coop, you won’t need to fret during the cold months. In fact, chickens are able to adapt to the cold much better than hot weather! But with a little extra planning and preparation, you can ensure that your flock not only endures the winter, but thrives in it. 

Why you should use an insulated chicken coop 

Whilst chickens tolerate the cold well, ensuring your chicken coop is insulated during the cold months can promote their health. Whether you live in a state such as Alaska that is cold all year round, or experience warm summers followed by cold winters it’s vital you choose a coop suitable for the weather.

Our range of Eglus are designed with warmth as a core aspect. With a unique double-wall insulation system, you’ll find that our coops work in a similar way to double glazing. Your hens’ body heat is trapped inside whilst ensuring cold air cannot get into the sides of the coop. When comparing Eglus to a traditional wooden coop, you’ll discover that the Eglu provides far more insulation. 

The insulation of our chicken coops is not the only benefit they provide. They are easy to assemble, easy to clean, portable and simple to attach to chicken runs. This will allow you to give your flock the space they need to roam during the day, as well as a cozy spot to sleep at night.

How to easily insulate your chicken coop

Whilst our chicken coops are naturally insulated, in really cold temperatures you may wish to insulate their home even more. Our Eglu Extreme Weather Protection are designed to perfectly fit your coop for added insulation. The temperature blankets are filled with a heat trapping recycled material that is breathable whilst keeping your pets warm. They are simple to fit to your Eglu and are easily secured with bunjees. 

However, if you do not have an Eglu there are other ways to insulate your coop:

Weather protection & insulation for wooden coops

Your chickens’ coop must be waterproof! Most chicken breeds do well in the cold so long as they are dry. Chicken coops should also be insulated enough to remain warm inside even in the cold of winter. Here are our tips for insulating a chicken coop:

  • Keep your coop and run dry – you can use coop covers and tarps to do this.
  • Spray foam insulation – you can hire someone to insulate your chicken coop with spray foam to help trap heat inside your hens’ nest.
  • Fiberglass insulation – using fiberglass insulation is an easy way to add DIY warmth.
  • Wool blankets – adding wool blankets to the smalls can help to keep the coop insulated. 

Ventilation whilst keeping cozy

A well-ventilated chicken coop will ensure that plenty of fresh air gets inside the coop. This will keep the odors down and avoid moisture build-up. Whilst you want to stop chilly drafts, a chicken coop without ventilation will retain moisture along with heat. And while some air circulation is good, make sure the coop is draft-free.

Elevation to reduce dampness

Height can also be an issue when making sure chicken coops are insulated. Coops should be raised off the ground to prevent the base becoming damp. For larger flocks, the Eglu Cube is an excellent choice for both insulation and elevation. If your coop doesn’t have legs, you can place bricks under the coop to allow air to circulate and reduce dampness. Always make sure you place or build your chicken coop and run-on high ground that won’t flood during heavy rainfall. 

Size of the coop

It seems counterintuitive, but chicken coops can actually be too big. When the coop is too big for the size of the flock you have, your chickens won’t create enough body heat to warm up the space. This is why it’s so important to understand how much space your chickens need, when deciding which coop to buy. Chickens huddle together and keep each other warm, so they don’t need much space in their sleeping quarters. Try not to open the door of the coop at night when your chickens are roosting as it can compromise your insulation. Be mindful that this pent-up body heat is keeping them warm, so make coop and egg checks quick! If you have a large coop or barn and just a few chickens, you can place a large cardboard box on its side, half filled with chopped straw or wood shavings in a corner to help them conserve their body heat.

Keeping your chicken run insulated

It’s important that at least part of your chicken run is covered during winter months. Using weatherproof chicken run covers will help reduce how much snow can build up inside the run. You can also build a greenhouse-style addition to your coop, covering it with clear plastic, which will help convert sunlight into warmth. To prevent areas under the run from becoming too muddy, cover wet spots with pelleted pine bedding (usually used for horse stalls). Mud is a breeding ground for poultry parasites, so muddy areas should always be addressed.

Perches for cold chickens

Give your chickens plenty of places to roost. To prevent their feet from getting too cold on the frozen ground, you’ll need to give your chickens a place to perch in both their coop and run. The perches need to be wide enough so that the chickens can cover their toes with their feathers to thaw out chilled toes. By placing freestanding chicken perches or wire-mounted chicken perches, you’ll give multiple hens the opportunity to warm their feet while they’re out of the coop. 

Cleaning your coop in winter

Keep your chicken coop clean and dry. Clean the droppings from inside the coop daily and replace bedding as necessary. By keeping the coop both dry and clean, you will help to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to frostbite on your chickens combs and wattles. 

Caring for your hens in cold weather

Keeping your chickens fit and healthy in winter goes beyond just insulating your coop. Here are our top tips for happy winter chickens:

Water in winter

It is important your flock always has a source of fresh, unfrozen water. Depending on where you live, this can pose a challenge. To prevent frequent defrosting, you can invest in a heated waterer or heated poultry drinking base. You can also insulate the water like you have your coop, by wrapping the chicken drinkers up in a layer of bubble wrap to keep the water thawed for longer. Don’t place the water inside the coop, as it will increase humidity levels. 

Chicken feed in the cold

During winter your chickens feed consumption will be higher than in the spring/summer. Often chickens enjoy warm feed, like cooked lentils or warm oatmeal with some raisins or other small, dried fruits. Give your hens extra corn or scratch inside of a peck toy for both physical and mental stimulation in the afternoon, as this will heat them up internally as they digest it overnight. Offer hay or dried grasses for extra ruffage to fuel their metabolisms. Hens will decrease or even stop laying eggs in the winter to conserve energy. But you can help encourage hens to continue laying by providing adequate feed – both in quality and quantity. Supply layer pellets to give the right nutrients your egg-producers need throughout the winter.

Take care of their combs and wattles

If it gets extremely cold during the winter, your chickens’ combs and wattles can be in danger of getting frostbite. Most hardy breeds have small combs, but if you have chicken breeds with very large, floppy combs you will need to gently rub Vaseline on their combs and wattles. You will also need to keep an eye out for coughing, sneezing, and general symptoms of being unwell. 

Vermin

Remember at this time of year, there are hungry rats and mice attracted to the chickens feed and water. Take extra care with the storage of your feeds. Store feed away from the coop and keep it in an airtight container. If you notice any signs of vermin, remove the feeders and drinkers at night, when they are most active. Offer kitchen scraps or fresh vegetables in a Caddi Treat Holder to keep the floor of your flock’s run free of tempting treats for unwanted visitors. 

Fighting winter boredom

With less grass and weeds to munch and fewer bugs to feast on, your chickens will experience boredom in the winter. This can lead to behavioral issues, like feather pecking, egg-eating etc. Prevent boredom by giving your chickens toys like Chicken Swings, perches, piles of leaves, mirrors, or even a xylophone mounted to the run!  Keeping your chickens hentertained will ensure they’re mentally stimulated and kept busy.

chickens next to their insulated chicken coop in the snow

Introducing Omlet Petcare

Whether you’re a keen chicken keeper, or have a whole pack of pets, we’re here to help you take care of them. From chicken pens to roam in, to comfy dog beds your pooch will adore.

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This entry was posted in Chickens