What came first- the chickens or the blog?

How to avoid frozen chicken

on November 23, 2012

There was quite a frost this morning although it continues to rain and rain! I need to be prepared though for a sudden drop in temperatures as December looms!
Keeping chickens warm in the winter can be a bit difficult but they are pretty hardy creatures that come dressed in their own brown feather duvet.
When it comes to the colder weather I will need to make a few basic checks of the coop that the Gillybirds are being kept in dry draught free conditions.
Chickens don’t mind the cold but they do mind draughts and the rain coming in at night so these are a top winter priority for them.
Although they hold body temperature well with their feathers keeping them toastie warm in freezing weather they do need shelter together as this allows them to share their body heat. Most poultry are creatures of habit so once you break the bad habits and get them going in at night they will continue doing so.
Most chickens will be fine through winter, but those who have moulted late or ex-battery hens who are not yet fully feathered need extra checks to make sure they are warm. My girls haven’t yet moulted. I am not looking forward to this stage as they will be less than pretty!
Some people knit jumpers for their chickens to keep them warm in the winter, (see previous blog post) but this makes them even easier prey for predators as they cannot fly as well to escape.
I check my chickens over every morning throughout the year and in especially in winter I am looking out for any big changes in body weight, blue tinge to the wattle and comb and check their feet and legs as mud can lead to skin conditions which will need treating.
In cold (below freezing) weather I plan to put Vaseline on the ear tips, wattles and combs to help keep them warm and safe from frostbite. Just what they will think of this low budget beauty treatment I have no idea.
I will be putting extra bedding in the housing to help them snuggle down in the warmth (and will have to clean up droppings daily as well)
On really cold nights a great tip is to put some old carpet with plastic over on top of the housing (making sure not to block ventilation) and this will keep them incredibly warm.
Meanwhile I’ll be indoors under several large feather down duvets to keep me toastie warm. It works both ways 🙂


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