Tips of Taking Care of Chicken in Winter

Winter Chickens Care: Do it Right with Our Tips

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

Preliminary actions

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.

Jersey giant

Jersey Giant – Large Meat and Egg Breed of Chickens

The Jersey giant is a breed of chickens that is admirable at first sight. From the name it is immediately clear that the bird is large in size. The plumage of the Jersey giant is not as beautiful as that of the brahma, but it is also very attractive.

The history of the creation of the breed began in America, in 1870, on the farm of John and Thomas Black, which is located in New Jersey. The source material was the Dark Brama breed, famous at that time for its incredible size (up to 7 kg) and very popular among farmers, Orpington, Black Langshan and Black Java. Work on the breed lasted about 20 years, and in 1890 the authors were able to get very large birds of bright black color, which consistently gave a monotonous offspring. But the breed did not immediately become widely known and until 1922 remained a very small local group of chickens. Only later, having got to Europe, the birds were appreciated for their good meat qualities and large eggs. Over time, European poultry breeders developed two other color variations within the breed: white (in Germany) and blue Jersey giant (in England).

The modern Jersey giant is a large bird of black, white or ash blue color. In black chickens, the beak is black in color, with yellowness at the end, the hock is almost black; whites have a yellow beak, sometimes with dark veins, gray or yellowish metatarsus; the ash-blue has a black, slightly yellowish beak at the end and black metatarsals. The plumage of the Jersey giant is dense, shiny, the tail is small, with short braids. The eyes are large, dark brown and black in black individuals. The ridge is leaf-shaped, according to the breed standard it should have six approximately identical teeth, but in practice this is not always the case. In our climate, roosters often partially freeze this leaf-shaped crest in winter, in severe frosts, so the livestock needs a warm chicken coop.

Physiologically, the bird is late maturing. The intensive development of Jersey chickens ceases after five months of age, but they continue to grow up to one and a half years. In good housing conditions and with proper feeding, chickens begin to lay after they reach seven months of age and gain four kilograms of weight. Roosters at seven months weigh on average 4.5 kg, at one year old – 5 kg, at a year and a half – 6 kg. Some roosters reach more weight, but such individuals, unfortunately, are rare and often they are not suitable for fertilizing chickens.

Even a live bird (not a carcass) shows its meat orientation: a relatively short and thick neck, a very wide and full chest, a wide, horizontally set back, thick legs. The legs of the representatives of this breed are short, which is why the chickens seem to be squat and massive.

It is better to slaughter giants for meat before the age of one year, because the meat becomes too tough in an adult bird. Bottom hole output – not less than 75%. The carcass has a rounded shape, a yellowish skin tone, which creates an attractive presentation.

If we talk about the practicality of choosing this breed for keeping in your personal subsidiary farm, then we can say with confidence that it is most suitable for an amateur peasant farmstead. Perhaps the story of its appearance is affected. It is very important for Jersey giants to have a lot of walking, or better – an unlimited walking area. With such a content, feed consumption in the warm season can be reduced by almost half without compromising the productivity of chickens.

Laying hens of this breed exhibit very good egg production for meat hens. In the first year, it is up to 170 pieces, and as the bird grows up, it gradually decreases. Eggs – light brown, with different shades, large (60 – 70 g). From the point of view of food costs, this breed cannot be called economical. Due to its large size and mobility, the bird consumes a lot of feed. This is especially noticeable in winter, when, due to the lack of cheap pasture, chickens have to be fed with grain mixtures and boiled potatoes. For this reason, the cost of each egg of the Jersey giant chickens is approximately 40% higher than that of egg breeds.

By the way, if you have a lot of layers, then you need to collect eggs twice a day. Heavy, clumsy hens, climbing into the nest box, often crush the eggs laid earlier.

Most giants cannot fly because of their weight, therefore, perches and nest boxes should not be placed high, limiting themselves to a distance of no more than 40 cm from the floor. Having fallen from such a height that happens quite often, chickens are not injured. It is better to make perches not from a pole, but from a board about 15 – 20 cm wide. It will be easier for a bird to maintain balance on such a support. It is advisable to nail a flat board with transverse jumpers to each perch to make it easier for chickens to climb on it. Also, for the maintenance of giants, high hedges, fences, walls of enclosures, etc., are not needed, since the meter height is an insurmountable obstacle for the Jersey. This property eliminates many of the problems associated with keeping chickens on a personal plot in a densely populated village, and, in addition, saves building materials.

This large bird has a calm disposition. Fights between roosters, of course, sometimes happen, but they are quite friendly with other inhabitants of the chicken coop and get along without problems, regardless of age and gender.

To obtain fertilized hatching eggs, the ratio of hens to males in the breeder flock must be 10: 1.

Most chickens have a well-developed parental instinct, but during incubation they can inadvertently crush eggs and hatched chicks. Therefore, it is recommended to incubate the giants artificially or under more skillful hens. Chicks in black and blue color variants hatch black with white spots on the chest and light wing edges. Their white areas disappear after the first molt. For rapid growth, young animals require abundant nutrition with mixtures high in protein and calcium. With good feeding and careful care, chicks grow quickly, and already at 5 months old males that are not needed for further breeding can be slaughtered for meat or sold.

In general, if the breed is not considered as a means of obtaining the main income, then the bird is quite acceptable for keeping in a peasant farmstead. She will always thank her caring owners for their troubles with quality products and a beautiful appearance. Successful poultry farming!



Chickens Breed _Barnevelder_

Chickens Breed “Barnevelder”

Chickens of this breed have a meat – egg orientation and were bred at the beginning of the nineteenth century in the outskirts of the town of Barnevelder, which is located in the Netherlands.

This rare and very beautiful breed has a unique dark chocolate shade of feathers, and each feather has a cute pattern with a double edging, which ultimately gives the birds a special chic and decorative effect.

Despite the fact that the Barnevelder breed is considered universal (meat – egg), in terms of egg production it is not inferior to even purely egg varieties of chickens, while the quality of juicy dietary meat is beyond praise.

History of the creation of the breed

At the end of the last century, Dutch poultry breeders crossed local chickens with the then popular Cochinchins and produced offspring that lay eggs with a rich brown shell. As a result, the demand for eggs with this color has increased sharply, and accordingly, the price for them has risen. The winner was the one who offered the market the most colorful shell color.

This circumstance forced the breeders of the town of Barnevelder to continue the work begun, and soon scientists conducted a number of experiments on crossing local layers with the Langshan, Brama, Rhode Island and Indian fighting chickens breeds. As a result, an original breed of birds with a unique decoration and terracotta color of eggs was obtained.

In 1910 the Barnevelder breed was named after the town where it was bred. The species was standardized and after that gained fame and recognition throughout the world.

Description of the breed

The Barnevelder hen looks large and strong, with a proud bearing and good health. Its plumage is dense, thick and iridescent on the neck. The shoulders are broad, the chest is low, strong and round. The wings are short and tight to the body. The head is neat with a scarlet leaf-shaped crest. The earrings are bright red. The eyes are bright orange.

The unique chocolate color with a characteristic plumage pattern is inherent exclusively in this breed, since, as mentioned above, the feathers of the birds are edged with double dark stripes, which gives the chickens an original decorative appearance. Sometimes the dark chocolate color is “diluted” with feathers with a dark blue tint.

The Barnevelder cockerel usually has a gorgeous resinous black bushy tail. The crusts have a lacy tail and wider than a rooster. Legs are yellow, may have a slight smoky shade.

Currently, there are several color varieties of this breed: black, white, partridge, silver with a dark border (grown by an English breeder named Chris Milward), there is also a variety with a blue border of feathers, but the classic dark brown color is still the most popular plumage.

Chickens of the Barnevelder breed have a unique vitality. They are hardy and unpretentious, perfectly tolerate cold, quickly gain weight and are excellent winter layers.

Birds of this species have a lively character, are friendly, easily tamed and quickly get used to their owners. And the cockerels and hens of the breed are not shy and not cocky.

It is noteworthy that the Barnevelder hens are excellent and caring mothers.

To obtain meat, chickens of this breed are kept no longer than two years, based on the principle: the older the chicken, the worse the quality of its meat. As for the egg productivity of laying hens, after three, four years from the date of birth, it begins to decline sharply. This factor should also be considered when breeding this breed.

Of the minuses of Barnevelder chickens, it should be noted that birds love to dig in the ground and dig holes, so they can easily damage plants and crops in the backyard and in the garden. To resist this trouble, the birds need to create special conditions for walking (preferably a large area).

In addition, chickens tend to take off from time to time, therefore, they require rather high fences made of metal mesh.

Maintenance and care of chickens

Chickens of the “Barnevelder” breed do not have special resistance to frost, but they survive the cold quite persistently, so there are no special requirements for the chicken coop for keeping these chickens.

It is desirable for the house to be warm, clean, spacious, well lit and free of drafts. Winter keeping of birds (in case of frost) occurs without walking in the fresh air. But the straw bedding indoors should be changed as often as possible.

Chickens must have individual perches and nests. It is important not to forget about the feeders and fill the containers with clean and fresh drinking water in time.

It is not recommended to keep chickens of this breed in cages or in a limited and confined space, because due to a lack of physical activity in birds, muscles atrophy, as a result of which blood circulation in the legs is impaired and joint diseases are possible.

Chicken diet

In general, Barnevelder chickens are unpretentious in food and their diet is no different from that of ordinary domestic chickens, especially since while walking, the hen herself will find something to satisfy herself.

The herd should be supplemented at least twice a day (preferably in the early morning and evening). At this time, it is advisable to give the birds more grain, since it is digested for a long time in the stomach of the birds.

It is necessary to feed chickens with fresh greens (clover, alfalfa, nettles, onion feathers), green tops, grain mixtures, corn, combined feed, vegetables and root crops. As a mineral supplement, chalk, bone meal, shells, crushed eggshells, which are a source of calcium, should be put in the feeding troughs. You can read more about chicken nutrition here.

If you are lucky enough to become the owner of Barnevelder chickens, you will receive not only a beautiful, intelligent and hardy bird that can decorate any backyard with its decorative appearance, but also excellent performance indicators of eggs and high-quality meat.