This entry was posted on 31 March 2020 in Keeping Chickens.
As a new season begins, in this case spring, some of you may be wondering about any precautions that you should take for your chickens. After all, the new season brings new factors, such as a change in weather. Although spring is not usually a season full of weather extremes, not too hot or too cold. There are still some issues that spring can bring up, which we will be exploring in this blog:
As mentioned, spring is usually one of the milder seasons. However, when looking after chickens in spring, or indeed any other season, you should not get complacent. Arguably, this is more important than ever when we seem to live in a time of more varied weather conditions, spread out at all sorts of times throughout the year!
Let’s be honest, when it comes to the UK weather, spring could still bring rain, snow, and hailstones, then some blistering heat a few days later! So, keep an eye on that weather forecast. If the weather begins to turn cold, ensure your flock of chickens has access to water that has not become frozen due to the cold snap. Also, make sure the chicken coops do not have any drafts sneaking inside.
Fertility is at its height come springtime, as the chickens should be back to full production due to the lighter nights and warmer weather conditions. With this in mind, if you haven’t already, you should make sure you’re fully up to speed on how best to care for baby chicks.
As mentioned above, your hens may be getting broody this time of year! If you plan on taking care of some chicks then you can go about the required steps. Otherwise, you need to treat the situation carefully, the hen will usually shy away, eggs may go missing and she will likely become reluctant to eat or drink. Oh, and if you try to remove her from the nest you can expect a big fight! The best way to go about the situation is likely to try and very gently remove the eggs, first the ones from underneath her, and then collect more regularly. However, this may not always work. You may need to try isolating the hen. If you do go down this route, please teach yourself the best methods when it comes to isolation, to lessen the chance of any negative effects on the hen.
A bit of a pest around the springtime for a flock of chickens is the red mite. They tend to be a particular problem for chickens in spring because of the warming of the weather. These bugs can get into your chicken coops with ease and the reason why it is important to avoid this is that red mites can suck blood, and if you have anaemic chickens, they could become sick at a fast rate.
If you see hens that are reluctant to roost or are huddled up with ruffled feathers and could be described as listless with pale combs, you could have an infestation of red mites. To help reduce the chances of this don’t leave grain outside where it will attract wild birds.
There are some advantages of spring as it could be argued that without the extreme weather conditions there are not quite so many harsh conditions for your chickens. But, having said that, there are still things to take into consideration such as the points we have outlined here. As always you should care and look after your chickens and enjoy it in the process.