Winter Care: Keeping Your Hens Healthy

By Jasmine Hutton, Produce Assistant

The colder months have arrived in the Southern Highlands, making it crucial to ensure your chickens are well-prepared for cold nights and frosty mornings. By implementing proper care strategies, you can help your feathered friends stay healthy and maintain optimal egg-laying when the weather warms up.

Winter in the Southern Highlands can be cold, windy, and wet, so it’s essential to take steps to keep your chickens warm and comfortable. Here are some helpful tips to consider:

Provide Suitable Perches

Having good perches for your chickens can help them stay off the cold ground and keep their feet warm. Natural branches from trees make excellent perches. Make sure they are wide enough for the chickens to comfortably roost on and positioned away from any drafts.

Eliminate Drafts in the Coop

Check your chicken shed or coop for any gaps or openings that could let in drafts. Use wood or other suitable materials to seal these gaps, ensuring the shed is well-insulated. Also, inspect the roof to ensure there are no gaps or leaks that could allow rain or cold air to enter.

Warm Treats

Offering treats like whole corn, cracked corn, and rolled oats can help provide additional warmth for your chickens during winter. These treats are digested slowly by the chickens, producing heat internally. Remember to provide treats in moderation to maintain a balanced diet.

Clean Nest Boxes Regularly

Feathers shed more during winter, so it’s essential to clean out nest boxes frequently. Remove any accumulated feathers and replace the bedding with straw or wood shavings. Clean, dry nest boxes promote a hygienic environment for egg-laying.

Prevent Water from Freezing 

To ensure your chickens have access to water throughout the day, place their drinkers outside where they can benefit from the sun’s warmth. This helps prevent water from freezing, ensuring your chickens stay hydrated.

Natural Light

Consider adding a window or skylight to the chicken coop to allow natural light to enter. Natural light helps regulate the chickens’ internal clocks and contributes to their overall wellbeing.

Winter Greens

Introduce winter greens like cabbage, spinach, or lettuce to your chickens’ diet. Hang a wire vegetable basket on a tree or use a vegetable stake in the ground to provide them with these nutritious treats. Winter greens not only offer nutritional value but also help keep your chickens occupied and entertained.

By following these winter care tips, you can ensure that your chickens remain healthy, warm, and comfortable during the colder months in the Southern Highlands climate. Remember to monitor their wellbeing regularly and make adjustments as needed to meet their specific requirements.

Chicken Supplies at the Co-op

The Co-op has plenty of wormed and vaccinated chickens in stock, along with a range of chook feeders, drinkers, and chook food! Visit us to stock up on everything you need to keep your hens happy and healthy this winter or call our Produce team on 02 4861 8400.

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