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Old Jan 2nd 2018, 10:08 pm   #1
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Default Chickens in Winter

Hi folks,


During the warmish Novermber we discovered a hen in the garden together with 5 chicks. They had obviously spent at least one night out in the open, if not more. She was well hidden but the noise gave her away. No one in the neightourhood owned up to missing any hens, and nobody wanted them.


We took them in and set up a cage in the corner of the kitchen, and now around two months down the line we still have all the chicks and the mother has since "flown the coop" so to speak.


We have since discovered that they are Japanese bantams, so around half the size of "regular" hens. However they are now getting quite large and smelly, and the single cockerel is beginning to find his voice.


I have begun the renovation of an old coop that used to be on the premises, and have managed to construct a sandwiched 2" polystyrene between the original walls and new tongue and groove around the outside.


Japanese bantams don't like cold so I am a bit concerned about putting them outside when winter finally arrives but they really can't stay indooors any more. it's not healthy for them or us.


Unfortunately we are suckers for animals and couldn't leave them to die in the garden.


Anybody have any experience of winterising coops - and /or chucks?


Regards,
Carrot Cruncher
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Old Jan 2nd 2018, 10:44 pm   #2
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Default Re: Chickens in Winter

CC - have just sent an email to the Mater who is an expert on these things. Hopefully get back to you tomorrow!
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Old Jan 3rd 2018, 7:54 am   #3
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Default Re: Chickens in Winter

The chickens are better off outside, the cold is not a problem. All they need is a draft and rain proof coop, not too big, 1sq ft. per bird is enough and a bar about 1 1/2" dia. to perch on. Later a nest box otherwise they will lay in the corner of the coop or any where else they fancy. The eggs you will get will be small and only about 100 - 150 per year. Feed - water of course and some grain and kitchen scraps (no meat) is fine. Regulations do not allow kitchen scraps to be used !!! So you peal your veggies out side and not in the kitchen - don't you......

Oh propitiatory chicken feed also works but its expensive and not worth the extra. And at the end of the day it's chicken soup.
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 7:28 am   #4
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Default Re: Chickens in Winter

Thanks for the advice Peter_in_Hungary,


We have kept chickens in the past but they were full size chickens in a small annexed building attached to the house with thick walls, a proper roof and a run.


We realise these are more ornamental than serious egg-layers but suposedly their temperament makes them good pets and we enjoy wathcing them - they each have distinct characters.


Attached are some pictures of the, so far, free coop for anyone whose interested.


Ignore the state of the garden, the roof is being re-tiled


Chickens in Winter-coop-2.jpg

Chickens in Winter-coop3.jpg

Chickens in Winter-coop4.jpg


Regards,
CC
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 8:24 am   #5
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Default Re: Chickens in Winter

If you are going to the trouble of keeping the chickens why not get a couple of serious egg laying types as well. Once you are keeping chickens the extra for a couple more is no effort and you should get 250 - 300 eggs per year per bird as opposed to about 100 - 150 half size eggs per bird from the bantams.

About temperament - my experience with bantam cocks is that some of them can be little bu##ers so watch out when you turn your back !
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 9:15 am   #6
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Default Re: Chickens in Winter

So glad Peter was able to respond, looks like the Mater has yet to surface from the surfeit of Christmas sherry!
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 11:39 am   #7
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Default Re: Chickens in Winter

"Organic" eggs are wonderful, we get them from our neighbours, and also a hen which has done its service (not too old) and gives a fantastic soup - with lots of vegetables of course, preferrably also organic/bio.
Btw the price of organic eggs rose from 40 to 50 HUF - but it's still a really good value! I take around 80 - 100 to Germany for friends and family every time and they tell me these are the best eggs they ever had and often give me 50 Cents as a tip for the lady who keeps the hens (which gets transformed by me into some German chocolate).
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 11:48 am   #8
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Default Re: Chickens in Winter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
So glad Peter was able to respond, looks like the Mater has yet to surface from the surfeit of Christmas sherry!
A quick comment through the sherry haze -

"I think they will be all right if a patch is cleared so they can scratch and I suggest they are up off the ground with a little ladder and lots of hay/straw for warmth. They are quite tough little birds but I doubt there’ll be many eggs!"
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Old Jan 5th 2018, 9:07 am   #9
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Default Re: Chickens in Winter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrot_Cruncher View Post


Ignore the state of the garden, the roof is being re-tiled


Regards,
CC
After a few months of chickens running round you will not have any garden left to worry about! :-)
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