With the weather turning colder it's time to make sure all your girls are as warm and cosy as possible, and this is just what I have been doing in stages over the last couple of weeks.
The hen houses have a good layer of this bedding, it's brilliant stuff with added Eucalyptus pellets to help the girls breathing stay clear over Winter. I buy it from Flyte So Fancy a brilliant company for all your chicken 'stuff' (and much more besides). This is where are chicken houses come from too.
The bedding may seem quite expensive at first glance but it is really good value for money. To make it last longer and stay fresher, every afternoon while the girls are busy eating their corn I fluff it up remove any poos and place a layer of newspaper over the bedding, this catches all the mess overnight and also gives them a good extra layer of insulation to keep the house cosy through the frosty evenings. At this time I also close the houses side ventilation windows to stop any drafts for the girls that take up their positions first on the highest perches as dusk falls. This means that straight away their body heat begins to warm the houses.
I also have lots of these hanging around Chicken World, from hooks on the houses and from low branches of the bushes, the chickens love them and it's a good way of giving them something interesting, tasty and nutricious to do. Also available from here. I buy the boxes of ten and even with so many chickens (we currently have a total of 43) they last well.
Tufty Tail - the Speckledy
The main thing I have to do each morning after letting the girls out is to check all the water drinkers are thawed out, so I go round with a bucket of hot water melting the icy cold water that is already in them.
Little Lucy with her chicks Poppy and Daisy (now almost as big as her).
I clean out the houses, letting the chicks and their Mum into their old Broody House for a breakfast of chick crumb, away from the greedy big girls.
Bourneville the Welsummer
After checking that all the food hoppers have enough food for the day, I gather any eggs that have been laid early and let Little Lucy and her girls back out to join the rest of the flock.
Lofty the Light Sussex
Then then girls all go about their business for the morning, finding grubs and edible bits all over Chicken World.
Alice, the Lavender Pekin Bantam and Choccy, one of the Hylines enjoying a drink together.
We have drinkers of all descriptions all over Chicken World as hens drink a lot of water.
Choccy posing for the camera...
...something Matilda will never do, if she sees you coming she runs towards you at full speed and you have to snap away quickly!!
The girls feeding regime must be working well as they are all in full feather and looking very good, except Matilda who will always be a scruffy hen, believe me she does eat a good and varied diet she's just one of natures scruffs and we love her for it even more.
Egg production is at it's lowest at the moment, but we don't mind a bit, the girls earn us enough money over the course of the year to finance themselves and give us lovely free range eggs to eat ourselves. When the longer, lighter days return so will the eggs, we get about two dozen a day then, at the moment we are down to about eight a day, but most of our customers understand and are happy to wait for the girls to get back to full lay.
Junior - son of Caldwell, one of our 5 Lavender Pekin Bantam Cockerels
Once we have moved we will be buying another dozen laying girls to bring our numbers up, but for now we are content to just keep the girls (and boys) healthy over the Winter.
Have you noticed this is a Pug free zone today.....lol !!