Breeders of True, Rare & Ornamental Purebred Bantams, - Belle Bantams UK
  January & February
January
 
 Welcome to January, it's mid winter, cold, wet, windy and usually a pretty miserable month as the Christmas and New Year excitement has now past and the year ahead looms with whatever weather decides to be thrown at us and our Live Stock.
 
If you only keep a few hens then there
is the risk that they may be unable to keep themselves warm enough to prevent themselves from becoming ill.
 
Ensure that the housing they are kept in is bedded down sufficiently, remove dirty and damp bedding regularly and keep it draught and leak free.
 
Check the fencing or the external pen for holes as Foxes may have an eye on your Live Stock if it has youngsters to feed.
 
Cold can affect combs and wattles, gently rub with petroleum jelly to keep protected. Any that are damaged should be treated with antiseptic.
 
Collect eggs regularly to avoid them freezing especially if you are hatching during the winter months.
 
A Goldbelle enjoys a winter snow forage in the Gardens @ Belle Bantams UK
 
Feed according to the conditions and to encourage egg production. Offer an evening meal of mixed corn or soaked porridge oats (warm but not hot) to provide a 'warmth' overnight.
 
Drinkers are bound to freeze so where possible empty these at night and re-fill in the morning - making sure this is what you do before you have your first cuppa - without fresh water your Chickens will certainly loose condition and may stop Laying (some breeds such as Silkies do continue to lay throughout the year). We add ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) with Garlic to our water every time it is filled to ensure they get the goodness from it and to discourage the development of parasites & diseases amongst our Breeding Groups all year round.
 
Introducing new stock is not advisable unless you are able to keep them separate from your existing stock, especially during very cold conditions.
 
 
  February
 
Ok so we have almost come to the end of Winter and things are beginning to change within the Live Stock. Their level of activity has risen and the plants in the garden have begun to burst through.
 
Snowdrops burst through the frozen ground bringing a glint of Spring
 
As with January keep check on the housing, wattles, combs, drinkers and use snow shovels to remove excess snow from where your chickens excersise. They  should start to become a little more active and you
may find a few more eggs.
 
Should you be feeding your Chickens fresh greens and vegetables - remove any remaining food to prevent being eaten when frozen as this is not beneficial.
 
If there is some sunshine available (wishful thinking - I know) check the Chickens for parasites. At Belle Bantams we use 1% Ivermectin (1 drop on the skin between the shoulder blades)  regularly to keep them away as well as the ACV & Garlic added to their water. (Mites do NOT like the taste of Chickens that have Garlic in their system)
 
Be warned, foxes are still around feeding cubs so it is very important that electric fencing, gates, doors and panels are checked and repaired when needed to prevent any unwanted attacks resulting in the loss of any or all of your Chickens.
 
An Adult Fox on the prowl
 
If you have hatched chicks over the winter this is the time when you can put them outside during warmer days so they can gain the natural vitamins gained from eating short grass and to enjoy the sun.