Winterize Your Hens "NOT" Your Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Hokum Coco, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    3,480
    857
    316
    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    I am subject to -40º weather l live in Canada think North Pole. I have 65 trips around the sun and have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

    Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing your coop;

    Predator proofing "ABSOLUTELY".

    Your efforts should be spent in winterizing your birds and letting them acclimatize to their surroundings.
    This is done by feeding them whole corn if available or cracked corn.

    The extra protein is more then adequate to bring them through the
    "COLDEST" winter.

    Do keep an eye open for birds that maybe not be adapting well to the new menu and may be at the lower end of the pecking order they can sometimes run into problems and may need extra TLC.

    That being said in a perfect world the flock will flourish and do just fine .

    I do not add any extra heat or lighting.
    Egg production does slack off but I have more than enough eggs for the table all winter long (24 hens).

    Some people may disagree with my method but it has worked well for me and I am not about to change.

    I look at it in the same light as winterizing your car.

    You really do

    "NOT"


    have to winterize your car if you can keep it in a controlled environment at all times otherwise you are in for

    "MAJOR" problems.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    22,328
    3,536
    506
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Good write up. I totally agree.
    The only thing I would say is that the extra corn will give more energy, not more protein.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    22,328
    3,536
    506
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Corn is about 8-10% protein which is about half of that in feed. It is an excellent source of energy for chickens though, which is why it is often the main ingredient in chicken feed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

    371
    66
    88
    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    As I understand it, whole corn (or any whole grain, for that matter) takes more time to get ground down in the gizzard and digest than commercial crumbles/pellets ...... and while this does take the chicken more energy to do ..... it results in more even intake of calories......
     
  5. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    3,480
    857
    316
    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    Thank you for your input.
    Where the layer pellet is processed it does not have the same nutritional value as unprocessed whole corn. The unprocessed corn remains in the system longer as you already stated therefore releasing energy longer through the coldest nights. Every expert has an opinion. I still feed layer pellets I merely supplement with whole corn in a separate feeder. I consider myself somewhat of an expert in what goes on in my coop under my conditions. This method has worked well for me. You still have to check daily for birds that may run into trouble. This should be done every day no matter what season is on hand in my opinion.

    "I have lost more birds to extreme heat as compared to cold."
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  6. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

    371
    66
    88
    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    Growing up on the farm, we avoided buying processed feed, mash or pellets because of cost, when possible ..... hell, we did not even buy "dual purpose breeds" until the very last years ..... we kept 3 dozen or so hens from the meat birds we bought each spring, and whacked a similar amount of stewing hens that were looking past their prime for soup ..... as I recall, we got about a dozen eggs/day through winter and twice that spring and summer ...... never gave them any supplemental light (never heard of such a thing until I came here) they free ranged every day, dawn to dusk...... Gramma and Grampa did the same...... In all the years on the farm, I recall that only ONE bird ever died of natural causes ..... "Ol' Crookneck" ..... found injured/ill as a chick, nursed back to health by the overly concerned children charged with raising the poultry...... she was basicly a pet ...... but I digress ...... we never had any losses to cold, or even frozen combs or toes .....



    We fed our chickens poorly, by modern standards ..... they got what was on sale, or more often, what was free, or bartered, or thrown away ..... and we had eggs enough to sell, and chicken soup all winter long .........

    ....... I see a lot of references to "femented feed" ....... one year, we got two loads of corn out of an auger pit...... absolutely fermented ..... never seen happier, or stupider farm animals ..... they were flat out drunk, all winter! Two pigs, four goats, 3 dozen chickens, 1/2 dozen turkeys and Lord knows how many Guineas .......
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by