HELP!! We have 3 Black Rocks in the back garden, they are about 9 months old and this will be their first winter. They have a coop made from Chinese Fir, an extended run and access to the garden. Should we be doing more to protect them in winter? I have completed a quick Google search and think I need to ensure they have plenty of water, layer pellets, maybe a carpet on top of the coop with plastic sheeting on top? Should I close the ventilation slightly? The hens don't seem bothered by the snow. They have just started laying and we are getting 2-3 eggs per day. All advice received gratefully!
Keeping the draughts to a minimum is a priority..extra layer on the coop will allways be a benifit.. especially if they perch at night.. if they sleep in the nest boxes some extra straw or shavings will as welcome as a nice warm duvet.. or you can make a little woolen jacket like my nutty daughter did for our old grannie hen ( 9 yrs old next spring)..
Hi Gemma, and welcome to the forum.
Like Gary said, we too believe in keeping them reasonably snug in winter. Our coop is a two-storey affair, with the sleeping quarters above an open area that has wire mesh panels. A ramp leads downstairs and a small door controls access to the run outside. Years ago, Fiona bought perspex panels for each side of the lower area. These are put in place for winter. It helps reduce draughts from blowing up through the sleeping quarters.
But apart from that, they appear to be fine in cold weather. The wet is a different matter. Fiona lays several sacks of gravel (from a garden centre) in the hen run to help prevent their feet from sloshing about in mud in winter. I think keeping them dry is more important than trying to do anything special as regards keeping them warm. We never tried to stuff anything into the ventilation spaces between the corrugated roof and the dorm walls, but that does not mean you should not reduce ventilation slightly, I guess.
Lucky you that they have started laying at this time of year. Ours will start about mid Jan when the first perceptible lengthening of the days occurs.
I used to use an old sleeping bag over the coop and that kept my chickens warm enough through Derbyshire winters. I think one or two particularly cold days we might have warmed some bricks in the oven to provide a bit more radiant heat, but I think that was really cold for the UK.
No Danny- not after the hours it took me, a complete dimwit to do the link to the photo....... I could have clothed several chickens in that time....
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