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.
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.