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monkey1973

Warm winter feed for chickens

Does anybody know any good warm winter feeds for the chooks?
Bugs

Ours get left over (and if it's very cold..specially made Embarassed Laughing ) porridge. But we leave it till it is quite lukewarm, as they gobble it up very quickly, and I'm not sure about giving them anything too warm as I have visions of them burning themselves (never seen a chicken blow on its food) or their insides not coping with it. Oats are recommended sometimes to help them get back in to condition after moulting, but I think you have to be careful not to overfeed as they will get fat on them. Same with the corn/wheat you give in the afternoon, this is supposed to be a high energy thing to be digested through the night and keep them warm that way, but will make them tubby (and stop laying) if you give them too much.

Did you ever manage to pick them up yet? Smile
Treacodactyl

I'm not sure they need warm food as they generate their own heat very well. They can be fed a little extra wheat in the afternoon to keep them warm throughout the night, how cold is it where you are?

We do treat our pen hens to a little warm porridge occasionally and if you wish you can mix layers mash with warm water. Take care they don't get too fat though if feeding them extra.
Bugs

Great minds Laughing
katie

I give mine potato peel boiled and then mashed with milk or you can just mix their mash with hot water to make a thick slurry - they love it on a cold day like today.
monkey1973

Bugs wrote:
Did you ever manage to pick them up yet? Smile


Only one of them, but that is more due to the fact that she is seperated (due to a spate of beatings by the rooster) and she is blind in one eye (due to a spate of beatings by the rooster) and can't see me coming.

I think I'm going to rescue some battery hens to give her some pals next year.
monkey1973

Treacodactyl wrote:
I'm not sure they need warm food as they generate their own heat very well. They can be fed a little extra wheat in the afternoon to keep them warm throughout the night, how cold is it where you are?


about -10, -11
Treacodactyl

monkey1973 wrote:
Treacodactyl wrote:
I'm not sure they need warm food as they generate their own heat very well. They can be fed a little extra wheat in the afternoon to keep them warm throughout the night, how cold is it where you are?


about -10, -11


Bring 'em in and tuck them under your duvet. Shocked
Chickpea

They are warm and snug in the hen-house at night, but in the afternoon lately I've been giving my girls a warm jacket potato, done in the microwave. they don't seem to feel the cold much and from 6 hens, I'm still getting 6 eggs a day (sometimes 5). I can pick all of mine up and cuddle them except the speckeldy doesn't really enjoy it as much as the marans do. They kind of expect me to pick them up now and don't struggle at all which makes it much easier to catch them when they roam where they shouldn't (next doors prize garden!!!).... Very Happy
fenwoman

At this tiome of year when mine are off lay I feed only wheat or mixed corn which tends to warm them. But I am a softy and like to give them a warm mash at night. This not only makes me feel good but feeding a very moist food at least once a day in freezing weather means that although the drinkers might freeze up by liunchtime, you know they are getting lots of liquid in the last meal, enough to ensure they last all night without getting thirsty until you defrost the drinkers the next day.
I use wheatmeal and simply stand the buckets in the bath and mix with very warm water. I like to add cod liver oil twice a week too.
Chickpea

I'm glad you mentioned the frozen drinkers... yesterday I went to bring them in at 17.00hrs and found the water frozen and I was worried about how long they may have been without liquid. I had noticed them eating the snow, so I guess they were fine.

How come some people are saying about being off lay, when mine are in full production? It's their first year, I got them in September and they were at PoL. Will they stop laying in spring to have a moult as they haven't in the winter?? (It's my first foray into chicken keeping and I'm loving every minute of them!) Smile
Lyds

My girls go mad for hot mashed boiled spud peelings plus any other hot cooked veg peelings. As soon as they see the bowl coming they get all over excited and start pushing and shoving. I'm still getting 6 eggs a day from my 6 girls except on grey wet days when it can go down to 3. They seem to prefer cold and crisp to warm and wet - mind you, so do I. Goodness, the snow really confused them, they just stood still and looked in amazement. This is their first winter of course - we only got them in May.
2steps

I give mine hot peelings, porrige (made just for them lol) and also warm mash from their pellets. my hybrids are still laying 2 or 3 a day (from 4 birds) my sussex aren't old enough yet.

Started snowing a few days ago here and has turned really cold since, first time the drinkers have been frozen. I checked and the house with door locked was fairly warm inside with them all snuggled inside Smile they don't seem to impressed by the snow Laughing
Chickpea

Yesterday it rained incessantly here, so that by the time my girls turned in for the night they were completely drenched.

Question: Will it harm them to spend all night wet in the henhouse? When I let them out at 7 this morning they weren't completely dry. Sad
fenwoman

Quote:
Yesterday it rained incessantly here, so that by the time my girls turned in for the night they were completely drenched. Question: Will it harm them to spend all night wet in the henhouse? When I let them out at 7 this morning they weren't completely dry. Sad


Yes it will. Damp kills more birds than cold does. You need to make a cover for their run so that they can be outside and not get drenched. And ensure their house has a deep layer of clean dry shavings not straw which holds the damp. You also need to make sure that there is plenty of ventilation. I take glass out of windows and replace with wire netting. Even in deepest coldest sub zero temperatures my lot have plenty of clean fresh air. humid environments cause all kinds of problems like pneumonia, mycoplasma,coccidiosis.
2steps

I recently made a cover for my girls run as they were getting wet Sad I bought a few shower curtains and screwed them down with big washers
fenwoman

Shower curtains will do, or you can buy a 6 feet by 4 feet tarpaulin from B&Q for only 3.99 and nail it on or tie it.
Chickpea

Trouble is I have a big run and it wil be almost impossible to cover. The wind will get under it simply blow it away as it's quite exposed, or the rain will get heavy on top. How do completely free-range chicks cope then?
lisaP

Don't try and cover all of it. Cover a bit, and put the food and water there. Hopefully they'll get the idea then!
fenwoman

Chickpea wrote:
Trouble is I have a big run and it wil be almost impossible to cover. The wind will get under it simply blow it away as it's quite exposed, or the rain will get heavy on top. How do completely free-range chicks cope then?

My completely free range ones have a massive house and tend to either stay indoors or shelter under bushes and shrubs or the shelters I put in for them. You could make some shelters if your run is massive by buying a bit of 8 foot by 4 foot sterling board and placing it up on bricks or logs. Or buy some used corrugated pig arc sections. If the tarpaulin doesn't fly away here then it won't fly away anywhere since I live in the fens, 3 miles from the wash and nothing between me and Siberia. When the wind blows it blows as there is nothing to stop it.
To stop is collecting rain and sagging all you have to do is brace it with a branch or something. It isn't hard to figure something out but you will have to do something because they won't live for long if they are getting drenched and then have to spend all night wet and cold.
2steps

what about a solid plastic sheet rather than a tarpaulin type? or cloroplast (sp) (the stuff estate agents sigs are made from)
ejc-free

Ours get their warm feed in the mornings - a combination of porridge made from oats / water - any left over veg / pasta from the night before and their layers pellets mixed into a warm mash. A couple of times a week they also get cod liver oil and they have poultry spice in their water.

Ours free rane if we're about and have plenty of cover to shelter under in the rain - but when it gets very cold - they tend to go back in the coop.
Chickpea

fenwoman wrote:
Chickpea wrote:
Trouble is I have a big run and it wil be almost impossible to cover. The wind will get under it simply blow it away as it's quite exposed, or the rain will get heavy on top. How do completely free-range chicks cope then?

My completely free range ones have a massive house and tend to either stay indoors or shelter under bushes and shrubs or the shelters I put in for them. You could make some shelters if your run is massive by buying a bit of 8 foot by 4 foot sterling board and placing it up on bricks or logs. Or buy some used corrugated pig arc sections. If the tarpaulin doesn't fly away here then it won't fly away anywhere since I live in the fens, 3 miles from the wash and nothing between me and Siberia. When the wind blows it blows as there is nothing to stop it.
To stop is collecting rain and sagging all you have to do is brace it with a branch or something. It isn't hard to figure something out but you will have to do something because they won't live for long if they are getting drenched and then have to spend all night wet and cold.



Update...

We solved the problem of shelter simply by raising the henhouse a couple of feet on a frame, the food and water are attached to it... they now have a dry airy space to shelter when it's wet and they love it! Smile
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