We have now been over four years into keeping chickens in our back garden and the first winter I really was concerned that I would not be able to cope with the snow , ice and cold but it all went quite well. We did not get the problems that might have occurred .The girls I soon realised were much more adaptable than I thought . In fact they dealt with the cold and snow easier than they did the heat.
Chickens of course lay less in the winter due to lack of sunlight and unless it is their first year could possibly like three of mine who are older lay none at all.
This is mainly due to age and having gone through their first full moult .Poor Clover our old girl had her first full moult after four years and looked oven ready .I could not believe how quickly she lost all her feathers . She really did feel sorry for herself but very quickly the feathers came back and she is looking beautiful.
This year we have two chickens that were not with us last year Blossom and Bluebell and it will be interesting to see if they cope as well as our others.
There are a few common sense jobs to do to make our winter and theirs a lot easier.
- Extra protein .You can add fish like tuna to any treats , cod liver oil and our chickens like pellets mixed with warm water .
- Keep plenty of water bowls around filled daily and making sure there is no ice on the water bowls .
- Extra wood shavings in the coup never goes amiss.
- ventilation in the coup but not too many drafts.
- a covered roof to their run is essential , plastic tarpaulin works great and is easy to tie down . If it is clear so much the better. Ours is covered by plastic corrugated sheeting which is easy to bend and screw down.
Most importantly predators will be looking for food as the weather gets colder so make sure that your chickens are as secure as you can make them.
Rats are around looking for food and making nests so make sure any food is brought in at night . if you do get rats don’t hesitate to either try and deal with it quickly or contact your local council who will send up “The rat man”.