Keeping laying hens in winter requires a specially prepared room in which the bird will be comfortable in the cold season. You need to take care of this in advance, even before the onset of frost. How to do this and what to look for for effective breeding of chickens – about this in our article.
Preparing the chicken coop for winter
Before placing a bird in a winter room, the chicken coop must be disinfected. For this, it is recommended to treat the walls and floor with lime (at the rate of 2 kg. Of lime per 10-liter bucket of water). Some farmers use a blowtorch for disinfection.
The first step is to warm the room
In order for chickens to fly in winter, it is necessary to minimize the negative influence of natural factors. In other words – constantly maintain a stable air temperature in the chicken coop, use additional lighting and provide a high-quality diet.
The poultry house for winter keeping should not have slots into which cold air will penetrate. Therefore, close them up carefully, close all the manholes tightly, and lay a bedding on the floor of straw, dry sawdust, coconut fiber or peat. When the first layer is pressed down, lay a new one. So you need to make several layers. This will be enough for the air temperature in the hen house to reach 12 ° C – 18 ° C in winter. At this temperature, the chickens feel quite comfortable and continue to rush.
If the winter turned out to be quite frosty, then additionally install heaters. In this case, it is imperative to ensure the supply of fresh air to the house, and the poles on which the chickens sleep should be at a height of at least 60 cm from the floor.
The temperature in the chicken coop should not exceed 18 ° C, and the humidity should not exceed 70%. At low air temperatures – 5 ° C, productivity decreases by 15%, if too high – up to 30 ° C – by 30%.
Step two – lighting
The highest egg production in layers falls on the period when daylight hours are 14-18 hours. To achieve this result when keeping chickens in winter, you need to artificially increase daylight hours by installing additional lighting in the hen house. You need to use only fluorescent fluorescent lamps, ordinary incandescent lamps will not give the desired effect. You need to arrange the lamps so that the chickens cannot damage them.
Typically, lighting is on from 6.00 am to 9.00 am, and from about 17.00 to 20.00-20.30 in the evening.
Laying hens are very susceptible to stress, so if there are power outages in your area, then you need to install a backup power plant to ensure uninterrupted power supply.
Otherwise, the chickens will stop rushing and even begin to molt in the midst of winter.
Proper nutrition for layers in winter
Both the physical condition of the bird and its egg production depend on nutrition. In the autumn-winter period, chickens require more careful care, so even before the onset of cold weather, take care not only of equipping the poultry house, but also of feed.
In the summer, prepare dried grass: nettles, clover, chicken millet, mouse peas. In winter, bundles of these herbs should be hung in the hen house not too high from the floor so that the chickens can easily reach them.
The largest percentage in the diet of laying hens is accounted for by grain crops: wheat, barley or corn. The grain must be crushed before feeding. You can give sprouted grains.
In addition to cereals, the poultry diet should also contain root crops – pumpkin, carrots, beets, zucchini, potatoes. It is better to give it boiled.
The lack of greenery is compensated by adding vitamin D to the feed. The necessary feeding is the so-called mash. Cooking them is not difficult. Bran, eggshells are simply mixed, bone or fish meal, sunflower cake are necessarily added. The mash will provide the hens with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
It’s good if you can add bloodworms or worms to your diet. They provide the hens with protein and calcium.
If the shells of the eggs are soft, this means a lack of calcium. In this case, increase the content of this mineral in the poultry diet.
Separate containers in the house should contain crushed shells, chalk, fine gravel and pebbles. Drinking water is required. In winter, the water needs to be slightly warmed up. Keep drinkers clean at all times.
A few tips
Keeping chickens in winter and caring for them requires constant attention. Violation of the temperature regime, unbalanced nutrition, lack of lighting – all these factors affect egg production. To keep the chickens running well, take note of a few more tips:
- Make sure the litter does not build up on the litter. To do this, you need to make sure that the chickens rake the litter as intensively as possible. Grains or the addition of vitamin B6 or B will help in this. In the cold season, the bird lacks it, so it will be looking for it hard. If the litter still falls off, then periodically loosen it with a rake.
- In light frosts, chickens can be released for walking. It is better to fence the walking area with wooden fences, using reeds, brushwood or straw. It is also worth taking care of the canopy. There should be bedding on the ground, the same as in the chicken coop itself.
- Place trays of ash and sand at the walking area. They must be dry.
- In the transition from autumn to winter, the duration of daylight hours should be increased gradually, and it should also be gradually reduced closer to spring.
- Collect eggs in time. Delay in harvesting can cause hens to peck at the shell.
- Chickens should be given whole grains at night. It is very high in calories, and the digestion process will prevent the bird from freezing at night.
- In winter, clean the house more often to prevent bacteria and germs from growing and growing.
We hope that our article helped you understand what kind of care laying hens require in the winter and how to provide them with a comfortable winter. By doing everything in accordance with our recommendations, you will certainly get an excellent result, and your chickens will lay during the long winter months.