Autumn is always a bitter-sweet season. On one hand, it’s hard to say goodbye to the longer days and the warm sunny weather but on the other, the bounty and colours that Autumn brings feed our bellies as well as our souls. If you live in the Northern hemisphere, here are a few things that Autumn might bring your flock, and how a Nestera easy-clean coop is ideal for when the temperature drops.
The hedgerows and orchards are laden with fruit and berries that provide delicious FREE snacks, packed with natural goodness. Store any extra if you can and always check any foraged food is safe before feeding it to your birds. The sheltered area under our elevated Lodge and Raised coops provides the perfect place for hens to eat and drink.
Bye Bye, Baby
If you’ve had determined pure breeds that have been broody in the hotter weather, these cooler temperatures and chilly winds are enough to convince most mother hens that chicks can wait until the Springtime.
It is often around this time of year that chickens’ feathers will fall out and re-grow, but it’s not unusual for birds to be 18+ months old before this happens for the first time. If you’ve never witnessed it before, it can be alarming! Provide plenty of good quality feed and don’t expect any eggs for a while.
The plethora of falling leaves mean lots of extra scratching and exploring opportunities. Hide some sunflower seeds and live mealworms in a pile of dried leaves and let them discover their own yummy treasure.
If you go on any woodland walks and find some interesting branches, drag them home and add them to your poultry enclosure. It’s fine to include any moss and lichen that are on them too. Just check they still go to bed at dusk though and don’t just perch ‘al-fresco’.
The cooler, damper weather can bring on some mild respiratory illnesses. Add crushed fresh garlic (one clove per litre) to your chicken’s drinker. Garlic is a natural antibacterial, anti-microbial, anti-everything it seems, and will perk them up in just a few days. Luckily, Nestera coops include fully-adjustable ventilation as standard to ensure your hens have plenty of fresh air, whether it’s warm or cold outside.
Gorging on Gourds
All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, as most of us know it, falls on 31st October and we typically carve pumpkins to celebrate. All your ‘scrapings’, including seeds, can be fed to the chickens as well as the pumpkins after use (provided they haven’t gone slimy or mouldy).
Snap, Crackle, Pop
Fireworks night can be stressful for chickens, so keep a close eye on them and avoid setting any off close to their lodgings. However, they LOVE to bathe in any wood ash from bonfires, though. Once the ash has cooled and while it’s still dry, store it to add to dust baths throughout the year.
If you have a ‘spent’ vegetable area, let your chickens have access to it to dig up any bugs and turn the soil surface over for you. If it's dry, they’ll probably enjoy a well-earned soil bath. Expect free fertilising too - it’s all part of the service!
Check out our range of recycled plastic, easy clean chicken coops that are intelligently designed to keep your chickens happy, healthy and at a comfortable temperature all year round, whatever the weather!
This article has been written by Libby, Nestera Head of Chicken Welfare