More people are keeping chickens and other fowl as pets or for fresh eggs. Like their wild cousins, these birds are well adapted to all kinds of weather. They don't need much help keeping warm and happy in the winter. Being a type of pet that is mostly kept outside, fowl can be especially prone to frostbite and other cold-related injuries. To prevent your birds from getting ill or injured when the weather gets cold and wet, consider the following:
Prepare the coop: While most fowl do fine without insulated coops, insulation can help where the weather is extremely bad. In the very least, the birds will need protection from the wind and moisture. Any insulation used should not impede air flow. It is also important to have off-ground roosts for chickens and clean straw for waterfowl. Do not use heat lamps in your coops as they're often a fire hazard and are not necessary for adult birds.
Monitor the water bowls: You may find that your birds' water is frequently frozen. Fresh water is important, especially for waterfowl which need it to wash out their nares. There are safe pet water bowl heaters on the market or you can improvise your own. It is not recommended to leave water bowls in the coop during winter, especially at night.
Clean the pen: If you keep your birds in a pen, try putting out fresh straw. Securely covering the pen with a tarp or other waterproof material will help keep it dry. Be sure to not let water or snow pile on temporary pen coverings. Change wet straw or ground material before it freezes.
Supplement their food: Chickens and other birds will burn more calories trying to keep warm when the weather is cold. The correct amount and type of feed is important. While it is still important to feed them nutritious food, some people choose to supplement their feed with extra grain or cracked corn during the winter.
Limit outdoor time: When snow is high or heavy, it might be a good time to keep the birds in the coop for that day or limit their time outdoors. Birds can suffer from frostbite if exposed for too long. Chickens can get frostbitten combs, ducks and geese can get frostbitten webs, and all birds can get frostbitten toes. If your bird suffers from frostbite, contact a local animal hospital for treatment.
If you supply protection from the elements, there is little need to worry about your pet fowl during the winter. Like other pets, they just need a little extra attention and tender loving care to make it through the winter.Share
19 December 2014
Animal emergencies happen quite often, and I have seen a lot of different injuries at the veterinary office I work at. Vehicle incidents, falls, and fights with other animals can all cause these injuries. Some of the most surprising emergencies I see though, are when pets eat substances that make them ill. Dogs and cats can both get sick by ingesting flowers, essential oils, and certain types of food items that humans eat. I even see some animals that become ill when they eat shoes, towels, and their own toys. I know that the vast majority of pet owners love their animals dearly. Most medical emergencies are purely accidental. You can easily save your precious feline or canine from harm as long as you know how the most common injuries occur. The articles posted here can help you with this, so start reading to make sure your pet remains healthy.