Winter is coming… Everyone ready to pack anything on the house. Lots of meat, fresh vegetables supplies, wine and water bottles, jackets, sweaters, mitten, socks and etc. Do you forget something? Yup…your pets….you have one right? Your living little creatures that peck. The flock of chicken that live on your backyard need to be more protected during the winter, not only interference from the wild predators but also from the windstorm and freeze climate around that might be caught in snare your region. If you feel shivering yourself, imagine how they fell as well. So here some tips on how to take care of chicken in the winter that might come up in your idea.
First thing first you need to put on your top priority is safety and security. Whether your flocks stay in coop along day or play for a while on the ground, make sure you cover the area with appropriate material so when windstorms come suddenly you are ready to anticipate the situation ahead.
1. Sealed coop
Make sure you seal the coop that will provide enough oxygen to inhale, no matter how you closed it as long as the chicken still feel comfortable that is a good sign. This measure is to block the storm and to give warmth inside the coop.
2. Fence your backyard
During winter almost everything struggling for the food and look for the shelter from the extreme weather. That happens as well to the wild animals out there. While you enclose all your pets, this will cause the deficiency of meal for the wild animals besides that another wild prey dies from the cold. So no wonder why this kind of monster for your chicken becomes wilder and savage. They could just go in your backyard to grab the chicken. If you do not anticipate for this, you might end up with decreasing your chicken day by day.
- Feeding the chicken in the winter
This chicken feeding program runs as usual although its winter, spring or fall. What distinguish this is from time to time season to season is the type of meal, the amount of the meal, the frequent feeding time and the habit of the chicken itself. We talk about the feeding including the water as this two cannot be separated since food and water help each other during digestive system mechanism in the body. The requirement of the food is a bit different since as we know that during wintertime your chicken is in the state of slowing down of releasing fresh eggs, on the other hand at summer they are in the state of production of it. So in summer they need more protein as to get along with the productivity of eggs, meanwhile during winter chicken tend to eat more carbohydrate to keep their body warm.
1. Layers pellets
This is the most common food every single day. This pellet is easy to get and provide almost whole nutritional requirement for chicken
2. Cracked corn
I found that feed the chicken with cracked corn is good before they get asleep, besides this contains a lot of carbohydrate to keep the body warm, it also produce filled tummy to make them sleep better in the coop.
3. Scratch grain
This one is a great alternative to prevent from chicken to get bored in mealtime. Grain is carbohydrate source so this will induce the chicken warm while cold out there.
4. Vitamins and minerals
For this one requirement you need to get advice from the chicken feed shop what kind of them they have in hand. Another mineral source that surprises you is grit. As you can see chicken play around the ground and peck the grit on it, however during winter is hardly to forge the grit from the ground so I prefer to spread out the crashed oyster shell around the coop to provide minerals they need to keep healthy in the winter time.
Do not forget as I mention before that drinking water is as essential as the food itself. So keep an eye during winter your water will freeze quickly. Make sure you keep it in water form not to become an ice block. Chicken tend to take water more in the winter since they eat more to help in processing the food in stomach and also smooth the digestive system.
6. The amount of the food
Generally speaking chicken eat more during winter instead of summer, however it is about 1, 5 times more, so pay attention to not overfeed them otherwise you will see that the food in the coop is just left and if so you need to clean it up cause it may attract the pests like a mice or rats to come over.
- Molting feather process
This phase of life is uncomfortable for chicken especially during winter. While the process on progress what we can do to help is quicken this part of life by taking this measure:
1. Spread a lot of straw on the floor of the coop
Provide a bunch of the straw can help chicken feel cozy and warm. Let them laying on straw while bunching up together, this will bound each other as well.
2. Give more protein
This will shorten period during bald of the feather, as we know winter is time for chicken in state of slowing down of laying eggs, so protein is used to grow new fur instead of producing a yolk
3. Put the chicken together
If you have one hen bald while the others still overgrown fur you can take this in to account to put the bald one in the middle of others, this will make the “patient” feel comfort together with companies. Or sometimes all you need just to observe them, cause this living creatures smarter than you think, they will help each other to hand on hand during this difficult period.
In conclusion all you need on how to take care of chicken in the winter is to prepared for any possibility comes ahead even a worse one.