"Winter Survival "

MadGardener

Chirping
Oct 7, 2021
38
187
79
SW Virginia, USA
/edit and I see now he's gone back to add links and a whole new argument on price, not present at the time of my initial responses. Cute.
The political rhetoric that came out of left field was deleted. As well as a comment belittling those who chose to get a Covid vaccine.

OP started out great. Buy from where I'm sitting it was OP that started aguing...with personal jabs to boot. Sad.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,165
15,512
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Beta Glucans and chickens (since I offered, and am not claiming any particular personal expertise) -

I quickly skimmed these:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7267545/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9469757/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9181616/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31267769/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30995865/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20709977/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19180808/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32988533/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21076097/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32560684/

You are welcome to skim my sources. There are, of course, more like those, but they tended to say much the same things, I felt it an adequate overview - particularly as I have no specific interest in making my own feed, or offering treats to my birds beyond what they free range. Also, I only have a few days of "winter", each year.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
101,656
147,570
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Funny that someone who touts ventilation keeps their birds in this:
Now our Chickens live securely in their gated-Ozarkian high security fortress !
P.S. ~ The coop yard is exactly double this size (now). We expanded !
IMG_20210424_161137.jpg
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,610
2,748
286
West Virginia
View attachment 2897235 Will our chickens survive the winter. . .?

(Brace yourselves) --- it turns out ~ They CAN -and- They WILL !!


Despite our efforts and desire to control everything,
“chickens” are able to survive the winter months.
Truth is, chickens are VERY well equipped to keep themselves warm
(because), after all, they (are) “woodland birds”.

Chickens have downy under feathers (fluff), trapping warm air against
their body. The outer feathers keep the cold air from penetrating.
If the chickens are on a perch, they will cover their feet with the belly feathers.

Do not add heat lamps ! It’s simply not necessary.
A Chickens average body-Temp is 106 F. (41.1 C) --

What about the comb and wattles?
Won’t they be exposed and possibly have frostbite?
Not if the coop is well built, has ventilation at the top and is relatively
draft free. (The coop should not be air tight).
In fact that would definitely lead to frost bite. The coop needs ventilation
to carry the warm moist air up and out of the coop. Otherwise the moist air
will lie on the surface of the combs, leading to frost bite.
Frost bite looks like black blemishes on the chicken’s comb.

Our coop consists mainly of 2 parts:
A nesting box where they lay eggs, which sits on top of a 6 ft. long,
metal frame, wooden top folding table, with lean-to style sides on 4 sides -
a ramp going up to the top of the table, and a gap for them to access
underneath. This gives em a place to go when it rains or when its
very windy / blustery. There is a food tray in there, and a layer of wood
shavings, dried grass / hay - and places to perch.
And when it's windy, wet or blustery cold, they are in there !

If you are wondering ‘why’ you have less eggs in the fall & winter --
It's just part of their seasonal-cycle.
Chickens lay less in the fall and winter for a reason.
Starting in late summer, as the days begin to shorten,
your chickens lose feathers in the annual molting process.
If the chickens have eaten enough ‘insects’ or other protein sources,
the feathers will be almost fully regrown.

Adding extra lights and so forth disrupts their natural cycle.
Artificial lighting holds the chickens back from getting a natural break.
Your hens (may) still be recovering from the “big-molt” ~ (rebuilding the feathers).
Even though they may look smooth and glossy on the outside,
the annual molt can take a toll on the inside.
This is why egg production is still off. Left to their own time table,
and with good nutrition, your hens will gradually regain the protein
and calcium reserves that they need to produce eggs.

Unless they are ill, egg production will naturally pick up again.
You will notice this generally (after) the Winter solstice.
The amount of daylight is a determining factor, don’t misunderstand.
They take notice of everything and they (will) take notice of the natural sun light
shining. When hens will notice the gradual increase in daylight,
egg production will increase again.

Make SURE you check their “WATER”(especially) in the winter!!
Water is a necessary nutrient all year long. Check it EVERYDAY.
Especially if you live where the winter months are extra-cold,
and below freezing.


Make sure that your flock has a source of fresh water through out
the day. This can be a little challenging, especially when temperatures
drop well below freezing. There are a number of founts designed to keep
the water above freezing. Submersible water heaters,
heated bases for metal waterers and electric heated bowls are all helpful,
“if” you have electric power in the coop. (And we don’t).

We generally just keep an eye on their water.
At night they are hunkered down and asleep. Come day-break,
they get fresh water. During the winter our outside hose is in storage.
When it’s below freezing (even below zero), we tote water from the house
out to the pen /coop.

Remember: They ARE feathered, “woodland Birds” -
well equipped by a “competent designer”
(GOD).
They’ve lived a long time year after year,
generation after generation - without interference (from us) -
without “us” putting “shoes” and “sweaters” on them -
without us tying little knit “hats” on their little feathery heads !
They simply DON’T REQUIRE that sort of interference from “us” !


FOOD ~ WATER ~ SHELTER. Easy peasy, 1,2,3.
Feed and water birds more often when it’s below freezing.
Energy needs increase in winter. Animals expend a considerable
amount of energy to stay warm and will eat more feed.
This is a 5 x 6 raised coop I made out of pallets for 6 chickens this spring. My hens roost 18" off the floor inside on a 2" x 6" wide roosting bar that lies face down. The roosting bar is T shaped so they don't have to roost side by side when its hot ( the same width and length as the coop)The top of their heads are below the lowest portion of the vents when they're sitting down and when they stand up the top of their heads are still below the lowest portion. Cold fresh air enters the coop in front and back and warm air and gases escape out the top taking moist air with it (which keeps feathers dry). I covered all the vents and openings with 1/2" hardware cloth instead of 1/8" because its stronger but I'm concerned it may cause a draft in windy conditions .Wondering do I need to cover the 1/2" hardware cloth with smaller mesh? If so I have some 1/4" hardware cloth left. Thanks!
 

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Bella Dominique

Chirping
Nov 20, 2020
46
81
93
There’s so much conflicting info on feeding chickens oats I just don’t bother. Sometimes I think if you’re going to raise chickens to eventually butcher for food it’s probably less of a problem then if you’re planning on keeping them as long term pets.
 

James Atlanta

Chirping
5 Years
Dec 4, 2016
7
7
57
Beta Glucans are found in all cereal grains, generally concentrated in the bran, and generally higher in oats, barley, and rye (I believe in that order, but don't quote me, I didn't double check sources). In humans, they are considered "good" (to a point), in that they slow digestion, giving our bodies more time to extract nutrients from our feed. One of the cholesterol lowering fibers, its claimed.

In poultry, they are considered "bad" (after a point). One of the (many) reasons you don't generally see a chicken feed based primarily on oats, or barley, as opposed to wheat, corn, or soy, and instead see oats and barley used as adjuncts in combination with soy, wheat, and corn in areas where other cereal grains are abundant. Typically with a recommend that they not exceed 15% or 20% of the complete diet. Honestly, given their protein/fiber/fat makeup, and the amino acid profiles of the proteins present, its hard to make a complete feed based on them anyways.

That said, barley is abundant in Europe, more so than wheat, and it (or the byproducts of it) is frequently used in the EU as both animal feed and poultry feed. The EU, of course, tends to use lower protein feeds than we do, supplimented by synthetic amino acids. Additionally, they've researched significantly the use of enzymes to assist their birds in breaking down beta glucans into more digestible forms, and have had much success with it.

There are also numerous sources and studies (many I consider questionable) touting the value of beta glucans in bird's immune systems, or enzyme-assisted higher beta-glucan diets as avian feed with purported beneficial effect in avian immune responses. [edit: its certainly plausible that higher beta glucan diets in poultry sufficiently alter conditions in their gut that they are no longer hospitible to various bacteria, etc which have adapted themselves to colonizing our chicken's bodies, much as altering your body's Ph can have a very negative impact on pathogen's in you, while also making your own body operate less efficiently in some fashions. The question, as always, "is the cure worse than the disease?" /edit]

In this case, I'm sticking with the old adage, "the dosage is the poison" - yes, too much oat, barley, rye, or other beta glucan sources can be a problem for your poultry - but so can too much corn, wheat, soy, calcium (carbonate, citrate, diphosphate), salt, etc... I don't consider the observation to be particularly insightful, nor the warning particularly useful here in the US, as its unlikely your nutritionally complete commercial feed has a high oat or barley component, and if it does, it almost certainly has the enzymes added to assist in breaking those beta glucans down into more accessible nutritional sources.
all correct and well-said. don't overdue the corn or cracked corn, and don't overdue the oats. the scratch grains are a very good start. add a few oats, and in the winter, maybe add a bit more cracked corn. the ladies can handle that blend just fine.
 

DillyRouen

Chirping
Aug 6, 2018
40
55
89
Well this was quite the wild ride.

Some takeaways from this...

1. He started off kind and helpful, then became the argumentative one. Blaming everyone else at the same time. I'm assuming the minister isn't used to having people question him?
2. Just because others are posting different information, and with links, doesn't mean they're arguing. This is a place for education and learning.
3. I hope he doesn't think that chicken wire is safe to use as a fencing for his birds? Chicken wire is meant to keep birds in, not predators out. I do however like his use of logs as the structure/ beams for the run though.
4. I think I'm just going to stick to using nutritionally complete feed, scratch grains, and soldier fly larvae, and some greens for my babies. But this post was an absolute wealth of information!
 

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