Caring for your chickens differs from month to month. As the seasons
change the requirements for caring for your birds changes as often as the weather. Here is a breakdown of
what you can expect month to month with your birds and what you'll have to be prepared for when the winter
and rainy seasons roll around.
Often the coldest month, prepare for your waterers
to freeze. Many chicken owners try to add artificial heat to their coops. Be sure that any wiring is out of
pecking reach, that heat lamps are near the ceiling and consider attaching them to automatic shut offs and turn
ons that will turn them on when it hits a certain temperature and turn them off when they reach another
temperature. This will keep your chickens from becoming over heated in the cold! If you have a particular
waterer that continues to freeze over, switch it out every morning with a spare that you keep inside and
thawed. Remember! Egg production will likely drop during the extreme winter months.
February is still cold, but things are beginning
to warm up and your birds know it. Egg production is likely picking up again. Be sure to pick your eggs up in
the morning, as soon after they are laid as you can. Frozen eggs can expand and crack the shell! Keep an eye on
the waterers and start preparing for the muddy weather once the thaws come.
Grass is beginning to grow and this means your
chickens can begin grazing again! They may be happy, but with the melting snow and early rains your coop is
likely full of mud! Invest in a good push broom and spend a few minutes every day sweeping the muddy build up
out of your coop. Consider putting down a layer of wood chips to help absorb the extra water and mud off your
chickens feet. These will be easier to sweep out than layers of mud! It is also time to worm your
Don't be surprised if this is the month you find out
who this years' brooders are. Broody chickens begin brooding in the early spring. You can either indulge the
brood by giving them some fertilized eggs to set and hatch, or you can break up the brood by separating them
from the nest for a few days with food and water. Keep and eye on all your hens! You may end up with more than
one brooder and you'll have to decide how to handle it as brooding hens will not take care of
Begin dusting for lice, fleas and mites. The warmer
months are the months where these parasites will really begin to procreate and become a problem if you don't
take measure to prevent them from even coming around. Dust your chickens, their coop, their roost and begin
keeping any tall grass trimmed down.
The summer becomes longer here and things start to
heat up. Your birds shouldn't be at risk of overheating yet, but start considering ways to add water when July
and August roll around. Chickens will head to bed about half an hour before dark. If this is too late for you,
bribe them with a handful of corn, sunflower seeds, or oatmeal.
Keep up your deworming and dusting in these months.
You may have a surplus of eggs; consider selling them or use them as bribes. Believe me, these eggy bribes can
be very important.
Remember those egg bribes? Want a vacation? Dust
your birds before you go so all your neighbors have to do is make sure they bribe the girls into the hen house,
shut the door and let them out in the morning. Offer your neighbor any eggs that are laid and make sure your
summer system is simple enough that a child could do it, since they're often the ones asked to do it
Stock up on wood chips, make sure you get your
feed stored where it won't get damp, and begin preparing for winter. Those wood chips will help to keep mud
from overwhelming you.
The freezes are coming and with them come a whole
load of problems you want to prepare for. If you're dealing with rainy weather, use your wood chips or bark to
keep the mud down; spread them on the floor of your coop if necessary to help facilitate sweeping. Double check
your coop, make sure it's water tight, that any wiring is safe and won't short or catch fire. Change the light
bulbs in heating lamps and break out your spare waterer.
Your chickens may molt in October or November,
whenever the temperatures get low enough to encourage them to re-fill their plumage. At times your chickens may
look a little bald, but don't worry, they'll begin to fill out again. Laying may decrease or cease entirely
through this period. Consider giving extra vitamins, this can encourage them to re-fill sooner.
Make sure your water isn't freezing. Add extra
nutrients where you can with treats. Your chickens will head to bed early and be up later since they only like
to be out when the sun is out. Don't be afraid of letting them play in the snow, when they get too cold they'll
head back inside.
Toys for Chickens
Where to Buy Eggs and Chicks
Raising Chicks- Make Yourself the Mama
Cold Climates and Chickens
What Every Coop Needs
Poultry Diseases and How to Prevent Them
Chicken Nutrition- What Your Chicken Needs
In Its Feed
Protecting Your Flock From
Common Chicken Parasites
Chicken Care- A Month by Month Guide
Dust Baths, The Chicken Preference for
Molting: That's One Ugly Chicken!
How To Water-Bathe a Chicken
Helping Chickens Avoid Heat Stress
How Not to Care for Chickens
Maintaining Your Chicken Coop
Cannibalism In Chickens and What To Do To
Trimming Your Chicken's Beak
What Every Chicken Needs
Vegetarian Chickens or Well-Rounded Diets?
Considering a Movable Chicken Coop
Can Chickens Eat Table Scraps?
Selecting the Proper Feeder for Your
Cleaning Up After Your Chickens
The Proper Way to Handle a Chicken
Keeping Your Chickens' Nails in Check