Winter is coming and you don't want your dear companions to suffer. Therefore, here is some advice that our farming friends have given to keep your chickens and ducks warm over the next few months.
With temperatures dropping, we are starting to get our big winter clothes on. Well, chickens do the same thing! It's called the molt. This natural phenomenon happens at the end of summer and lets chicken renew their feathers. The old feathers are lost and replaced by new ones ready for winter. To help your chickens go through this process, you can add more protein to their diet by using meal worms for example.
As soon as we feel the cold bite of winter, we tend to think of warm, cosy comfort food like soup, pies and bakes. To have happy and healthy animals, this is also the case for them. They too need the correct amount of energy and a balanced diet. This is why we advise you to add extra protein and vitamins into your animal's diet. You can do this with more complete granules or by adding plant based vitamins to their meals to help boost them.
Drinking freezing cold water when it's already quite cold isn't very pleasant. Animals have the same idea. Water in bowls and containers has to stay at a reasonable temperature and musn't freeze over. To make sure this is the case, it should be changed regularly so that it stays safe. Furthermore, you could place hot packs inside the water or place the container on a hot plate keeping the water from getting too cold.
Concerning the water where your ducks may like to swim, it is the same thing. You must make sure that it doesn't freeze. If this does happen though, remember to break the ice and make sure your ducks have a place to drink and swim.
As the French say: "when your feet are cold, you're cold all over". Well, this is also true for animals. The only difference is that they can't wear super expensive shoes full of heat protection. We can still help them though. In fact, all you need to do is create a sort of rug on the ground with straw. This will create a barrier between the freezing soil and your animal's feet and they will be able to walk aound outside and stay healthy.
Have you already put the heating on in your home? If you think it's getting cold, your animals probably think the same. For ducks, this isn't a big problem, they are strong animals that are used to staying outside all year round. Chickens on the other hand need an adapted chicken house. Firstly, you need to know that chickens are sensitive to humidity and drafts but they also need a good circulation of air. Therefore, we advise you to go for a chicken hut with good ventilation, a large space and a high ceiling so that there is a good balance between insulation and ventilation. For optimal comfort, there should be a thick layer of straw on the floor that needs to be changed regularly to avoid it ever getting wet.
Tips and tricks
With days getting shorter, a lack of light and heat settles in, it is normal for your hens to lay less eggs. To stimulate their laying, you can install a lighting system linked to a clock brightening up the hut and improving laying rates.