As the temperature across the UK plummets, here are some more handy tips to help keep your animals safe and warm.
Keeping your hens warm at night…
Hens will appreciate having a full crop before roosting, as this will provide the energy to keep them warm through the night. To give them a real treat on a freezing afternoon, make up a warm porridge before they go to bed. Soak some layers pellets in hot water so it forms a mash. Add porridge oats, some dried fruit and even a teaspoon of honey. Feed it while it is still warm to set them up for the night. If your hen coop is quite exposed to the weather, use some old carpet to insulate it.
Protect your dog’s paws from salt and chemical de-icers…
Regularly walking your dogs on roads and pavements which have been gritted, salted or treated with chemical de-icers can make their paws sore. Applying petroleum jelly to the pads before you go out will help to protect them, and wash their feet in warm water and dry thoroughly when you get home. If you are walking on snow and ice, try to keep the hair around their pads trimmed to stop ice and salt crystals from accumulating on their feet.
Central heating for horses….
Did you know that the best way to keep your horses warm in cold weather is to feed more forage, not more hard feed? Forage is digested in the hind gut and fermented by the healthy bacteria. If you have ever made your own wine or beer, you will know that fermentation generates heat, and it is exactly the same in your horse’s gut! The fibre in the gut is fermented, creating heat which will help to keep your horse warm. Ensuring continuous access to forage will help to keep your horses warm through the coldest weather.