WITH some overnight temperatures dipping below -5C in areas in Australia, a perfect time think of your animals outside and in particular your beloved chooks on those cold, wet and windy nights.
Chooks’ feathers are a very efficient insulating system but draughts can cut right through them, and can eventually lead to illness and a decrease in egg production. Cold draughts force the birds to use up their calories on keeping warm rather laying eggs if the hen house is poorly designed.
Also, give some thought to how you can position your hen house: an east-north facing hen house is ideal in southeast Australia. It receives the warming winter sun but shields the chooks from the most chilling winds from the south and west.
Ensure that your hen house guarantees shelter from the wind and rain, has a dry floor and gets natural light, protection from draughts and some adequate ventilation. Try to limit the amount of mud and slush in your permanent chook run because no chook likes living in a wet, muddy environment; mulch and wood chips can help reduce the mud. Be careful of breeds that have feathered legs like the Langshan, Faverolles and Cochin – dry conditions are essential for these breeds.