Many people raise chickens as pets or for food. Raising chickens is a great way to produce eggs, meat, and manure while also providing companionship. However, raising chickens can be tricky during the winter and summer months.
This blog post will discuss precautions that should be taken during the winter and summer seasons to keep your flock happy and healthy!
Raising Chickens: Precautions during Winter and Summer
Even though it seems like chickens are fragile creatures, they have certain characteristics that can let them survive through whatever weather may come. But you have to take note that not all chickens are alike.
While some can withstand winters, others preferred to sunbathe during summer sunshine. It will all depend on the weather that you are having when you decide to purchase the right kind of chicken so as not to waste money and time raising them and just have them end up in a chicken graveyard.
Winter Precautions to Take with Chickens
During wintertime or on cold weather days, never try heating your chickens just because you fear that they might catch a cold or freeze. You may find your flock dead in the morning.
Just think of all that hay or straw bedding? You are just asking for a fire if you pop a heater or two in there. Even if you are raising chickens for the food – you don’t want to roast them all at the same time.
F.Y.I., chickens can adapt to extreme cold conditions because their body can change their metabolism as the cold weather approaches.
The bedding you keep in their shelter should be more than enough to help keep them warm.
If you live in a place where winters are more prominent than summer or are literally winter all the time, you might as well take certain actions for your chickens that will not put any of your chicken’s lives in danger.
a. Frostbite on chickens
There is a risk that a chicken’s wattle and comb can be affected by frostbite. To avoid this, you can rub some petroleum jelly or any moisturizer every other day.
What is frostbite?
Frostbite is a type of injury to body tissue, most commonly the skin, and underlying tissues. The damage can be minor or lead to severe medical problems. It happens by exposure to cold temperatures, especially when the skin is wet or numb. The water in the body tissues freezes and expands, damaging the cells.
Frostbite can happen to any part of your body but it is most common in feet, hands, ears, or nose for people. We all know it often happens when people are outside for long periods of time without adequate protection from cold temperatures like gloves and hats, but chickens are vulnerable too.
b. Chicken Water Feeder
Look out for frozen water supply. You can’t deprive them of water. They will not drink from a frozen water outlet well, because they simply can’t. Chickens can’t take water with impurities. It must always stay fresh and clean.
You can take out a water heater so that the water stays in its liquid form. Or if you don’t have one, better bring the waterer inside the house then return it in the morning.
Summer Precautions to Take with Chickens
If you live in places where summer is the only known season, your chickens are prone to be exposed to excessive heat all the time. With this, they might be at risk of dehydration.
The only thing that you have to look out for during summer is that their water supply never runs dry. It must always have clean water.
Don’t let your chickens roam around without providing them a sort of shade. If there is no run, you can provide ventilation inside the pen.
During heat waves, hens would lay fewer eggs. If this occurs, it is a typical sign that your chicken is stressed because of the excessive heat. Have no worries though, their egg-laying tendencies will go back to normal once the heat recedes.
If things get worse, you have to observe the behavior of your chickens. What is manifesting? If you’ve seen that one catches a cold or is acting a bit odd, isolate the chicken instantly to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Just don’t forget to provide water and feed to the isolated animal.
Then, when things are manageable, consult with your vet. Tell him or her how your chicken/s are reacting.
Are they having:
Mites are a problem for chickens because they are often found on chickens’ bodies, around the vent, and under the wings. Mites can be transferred to humans if we have close contact with them. It is not only unsanitary but also itchy and uncomfortable for both your chicken as well as you.
b. Abnormality in the stool? (blood, worms, and/or white droppings)
Their stool is a great way to learn more about the heath of your birds. If you’ve seen changes in their droppings, consult with your vet immediately.
c. Sneezing and teary eyes?
Do chickens have allergies or get colds? They can be a sign of upper respiratory disease in chickens.
If you’ve found that one of your hens is sneezing and has watery eyes, consult with your vet because it might need some medication to recover from the said illness. You should also isolate the chicken for at least two weeks until good health is restored.
God forbid you have to deal with the bird flu with your flock!
d. Depressed Chickens?
Yes, chickens can get depressed. And that’s not all.
You should also be on the lookout for chickens who are straying from their flock, have a droopy posture, and appear to be uncoordinated in movement as well as appetite loss. This could mean they might need some medical attention or even rehabilitation if it has been prolonged. In these cases, specially made chicken products might be necessary.
e. Unable to mingle with the flock?
Whenever an animal isolates itself from a flock or herd , it is always a sign that something might be wrong. If one of your chickens appears to have an issue with its eyesight, coordination, or social demeanor, there is a high chance they are sick and need some medical attention.
The bottom line?
Tell your vet what you actually see so that he or she can give you the appropriate answer to your dilemma. These are only bits of areas that you have to ponder upon regarding raising your chickens in winter or summer atmospheres. It’s better to be safe than very sorry.