Making sure your hens are properly fed is essential to keeping them happy and healthy, as well as keeping up egg production. However, did you know that your hens’ dietary requirements change with the seasons? A hen during the wintertime will need different feed and different amounts of feed than they would during the warmer months. To help, we’ve put together this guide on feeding your flock during the cold, winter months:
Why do hens need a different diet in the winter?
When first-time flock owners learn they have to feed their hens a different diet in the winter, the first question they ask is, why?
As the summer ends, you’ll notice your hens’ egg production starting to slow down. This is because hens require on a certain amount of daylight in order to produce eggs. So, when the amount of daylight decreases, your hens’ egg production will decrease as well.
Their bodies will thus move away from a state of production into a state of repair. This state of repair is crucial for hens, as egg production during the summer takes a serious toll on their bodies. Just as we need a vacation from work every now and then, hens need this time during the winter to recover and prevent burnout.
What should you feed your hens?
This all meals that your hens will need a different diet to help fuel this state of repair. They will need protein as per usual, but they will also need more carbohydrates.
You can stick with your typical layer pellets while supplementing their diet with certain treats to help boost their carb and protein intake. These include the following:
- Dark, leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale, cabbage, lettuce)
- Scratch grains
- Scrambled eggs
How much should you feed your hens?
Hens will not only need more carbs and protein, but they will also need more feed in general. This is because hens eat more to keep themselves warm. During the winter, chickens will eat 1.5 times more feed than they eat in the summer. So, it’s best to stock up before winter hits!
How should you feed your hens?
We recommend using feeders or troughs to feed your chickens during the wintertime. This is because if you spread the feed on the ground, it will quickly get soggy and cold.
With this guide, you should be able to keep your hens well-fed during the coming months. However, if you have more questions on how to care for your chickens, don’t hesitate to contact Chickens for Backyards today!