It hasn’t stopped raining here for the past week. In John’s most recent blog post you can see just how bad it got up at the smallholding. I know in many places they have had it far worse than us too. A friend on Anglesey had to go and carry out a midnight chicken rescue as her coops began to flood! For those battling the after effects of flooding, or those in areas at high risk of flooding, it may be worth checking out the National Flood Forum for help and support.
Poultry Cleaning Out
Today though the sun is shining and so we must get out there and help clean up some of the muck. Our runs, both on the smallholding and in our garden, are fixed in place and have a woodchip base. The only problem with woodchip is it often holds the water far too well. So today we will rake the runs over, apply a layer of dry disinfectant, and give the coops a good deep clean. Then we plan to wing clip the girls and use the new Omlet fencing to allow them to range around areas of the garden that are less saturated. We’re lucky that both coops are plastic and hold up well in wet weather – both the Omlet Cube and the Easicoop ECO take just five minutes to clean out and disinfect – when weather may turn on you any minute this is much appreciated!
Wooden Coops and Wet Weather
If you have a wooden coop, and most people I know still do (I shall convert many of you yet!), it is important with wet weather to make sure it is properly sealed. I’ve had coops start to rot in long periods of wet weather and as such always recommend at the end of the Summer that wooden coops are resealed and stained before the weather changes. If you haven’t had chance to do this yet, and if your coop hasn’t been treated in the last 2 years, I highly recommend trying to get this done ASAP. Checking the forecast for when there are two consecutive dry days and using a very quick drying and animal safe stain is a must. Also check for any drafts and leaking points in the coop at this point too.
It is very rare in the UK that temperatures drop so much we need to worry about the over night temperatures in the coop. Provided your coop has no drafts or leaks you should be fine. For those in more colder climates, or those with younger or small flocks, then you can get coop warmers for those more extreme temperatures. Omlet’s range of weather protection covers can be used both with their own coops and also other makes if a similar shape and style. One very cold winter when we had some light weight bantams and younger birds I did make the flock a duvet cover!! I basically got an old duvet and sealed within plastic wrap and used this to insulate the coop on the outside.
IMPORTANT! If you do use a coop cover always make sure that ventilation holes are not covered over. Drafts should be excluded, but ventilation is crucial for your flock.
Mucky Chickens & Covered Runs
If the run is muddy you will soon find the flock starts to get grubby too. This is worse for those with fluffy feet or white feathered friends. It is a good idea to have perching bars and areas for your flock to jump up on in a confined run. It isn’t good for your flock to be on wet ground for long periods and muddy feet soon lead to a muddy coop too.
One of the best ways to help keep the run dry is to add a cover to it. This also means that should Avian Flu appear again you are already set up in terms of basic bio-security. Wet environments can soon breed bacteria and bad smells. Using dry disinfectant as mentioned above both helps to dry out the run and woodchips as well as making sure nothing nasty is lurking below.
Avian Flu UPDATE
On Avian Flu, there has this week been an update across the UK in measures. On 1 November Avian Influenza was confirmed in a small backyard flock near Chirk, Wrexham. As a result of this and other cases an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across Great Britain effective from 5pm on 3 November 2021. The AIPZ means all bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions.
At present this does not include a requirement to house birds, but it does include increased biosecurity measures detailed in the articles linked below..