The girls are not impressed with the weather! There’s the odd day with a little heat in the sun but the wet muddy ground, cold wind and rain feature most weeks and can’t be much fun for the hens – or us.
We’re doing what we can though and our priority is to keep the hens well fed, healthy and as dry as possible. As a preventative measure their food is topped up with extra vitamins and minerals when required, they get fresh fruit and vegetables, and tonics such as apple cider vinegar are added to their drinking water. Wet areas of their enclosure are covered with woodchip or straw and for the worst parts, pallets or panels are put on the ground to stop the hens standing in cold wet mud. Despite me telling them not to though, the puddles are an attractive drinking area for the hens, even though there is fresh clean water in their drinkers!
Their enclosure has enough covered and sheltered areas that they can all keep away from the rain hail and snow, and some days they all stand together undercover to keep each other warm. We also make sure that despite the weather we’re observing the hens as often as we need to, and react to a hen that is showing signs of being unwell, and continue to carry out regular health checks for all of the girls so that we can spot the early signs of any trouble.
We still have a few hens indoors also; those that were recently re-homed (The Marys) and are still quite lacking in the feather department and a few that weren’t coping too well with the outside weather and are now thriving in a drier and warmer environment.
The tiny shoots of grass that are starting to emerge from the ground soon get picked off and hopefully the end of winter is in sight and spring will only be a few weeks away!