These younger hens will lay through autumn and winter when the older birds stop laying.
• Expect the rest of the flock to go off the lay (stop laying eggs) and start moulting. Those who began moulting in late summer should have regrown their plumage.
• Check birds for external parasites, including lice, among feathers. Treat with lice powder or food-grade diatomaceous earth, adding it to their dust baths and sprinkling on perches.
• After moulting, clean out the hen house – it will be full of feathers – and spread fresh straw.
• Remove extra shade material to allow more sunlight into the chooks’ yard. Seal draughts and fix leaks in the coop. Renew damaged roofing so it is weatherproof.
• Add extra litter to floor for warmth.
• Provide a supplementary morning meal of warm mash made from dry food mixed with warm water or milk.
• Expect egg production to pick up as days lengthen. Hens that have re-feathered resume laying after winter solstice.
• Mice may move into the chook shed in winter. Clean up spilled food, use vermin-proof feeders and ensure that feedbags are kept in secure, lidded bins.
All chooks enjoy fresh plants as part of their regular diet, writes MARCELLE NANKERVIS. Here’s what you can grow to keep your feathered flock healthy
Everybody needs a balanced diet, and while feeding your chooks pellets every day keeps them going, it’s not the most wonderful experience. By giving them access to fresh greens and a greater diversity of food, they become healthier and happier. In return, you receive higher quality eggs that taste better -and also save money on commercial feed.
There are lots of ways to introduce lovely fresh greens to your chickens, and depending on the size of your chicken run and the number of chooks you own, you may like to try one or a number of the following simple solutions.
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