Whether it is the clocks changing or the cold weather this week, I'm not sure, but there is a definite feeling that winter in on the way up at the chook patch. We have had our first couple of overnight frosts, although the hens seemed perfectly happy, snug and warm in their hen house. Food consumption has, however, dropped noticeably, and I expect egg numbers to fall a little too. Don't worry — there are still plenty to go around!
One thing the hen's haven't lost the appetite for is vegetables — they made short work of our pumpkin lantern this week. The bulk of their diet is the ubiquitous 'layers pellets', which are a cereal based high-protein mix.We do like to add variety to that, partly to give the hens something interesting to do (they love demolishing cauliflowers, for example), but also because, in our opinion, it makes the eggs taste richer.
The days of feeding kitchen scraps to birds are over, for health reasons, but there are always a few veggies in the fridge that need using up. We also add a bit of mixed corn to the birds' diet as a treat, and because it helps produce lovely yellow yolks. The birds also find endless entertainment in scratching around the field looking for worms and tasty insects in the grass.