Farmers need to be ready for anything as there are always changes in the weather. At times, there will be drought, which may affect their farm products. Poultry farmers must learn that drought will affect the survival of their chicken if they fail to feed them properly. It does not mean that your chicken will not get food if there is drought. It would help if you got ways that you can utilize to help you cope up with the season and maintain the health and performance of your chicken. Ensuring that your flock of chicken is living a healthy life even when there is drought is essential.
Best ways to feed your chickens in drought
To maintain your chicken’s health and their egg production rates, we recommend the following feed practices when you are in drought:
- Use of kitchen scraps: Some people may opt to give their chicken kitchen scraps since food will be scarce during this time. However, it is vital to understand that although kitchen scraps may be an option for most farmers, they will not be the best, as they will not have the optimal nutrients for the chicken’s growth and health. Kitchen scraps are a sometimes food. Please read: What to feed your chickens
- Maintain quality feed: You need to ensure that no matter the scarcity of food during drought, your chicken is fed with a quality feed. We recommend feed, which is healthy, to give to your chicken, include pellet and mash feed.
- Avoid wasting feed: One can make use of quality feeders to ensure that you give the chicken the right quantity. For better and effective feeders, we recommend Dine a Chook Automatic Poultry Feeders.You can also ensure that feed is not wasted by controlling rodents that may attack chicken feed.
- Planting foraging greens: You can do this in shades using pots. There will indeed be less water during drought to enable you to grow these plants.
Conserving water is essential during the drought season. Considering chicken drinkers is one way which you can use so that you can save more water. Every time you use drinkers, the water from the tank will get drop by drop, ensuring that there will be a reduction of splashing. Here are the best poultry drinkers that you can use .
It is best practise to mount the drinker in the shade. Water left out in direct sunlight will quickly evaporate, needlessly wasting water.
Another way to help save water is to collect and recycle water from your home to use on foraging plants in and around the chicken coop. While this water can not be used as drinking water, it is suitable for garden beds and to maintain shade plants.
It is important to understand that your hens need water in drought just as much as when not in drought. Water is necessary for the metabolic systems, egg prodyction and also to help keep them cool
How much water do chickens need?
Farmers need to conserve as much water as possible, but how much water do chickens need?
The amount of water that your chicken need will depend on the temperature in your area. The chicken will require more water if the temperature is over 32˚C. During winter, the amount of water needed is relatively lower compared with summer.
Typically, a fully grown hen will require about 2 pints of water per day in hot weather. For cold or comfortable climates, they may only require 1 pint of clean water
Keep up the nutrients to maintain egg production
In times of drought chicken egg production may decrease due to reduced quality feed and access to clean water. Egg production is quite taxing on a hen’s body, paricularly if they are not recieving the nutrients they require. You have the task of ensuring that your flock get the correct ratio of nutrients to maintain their health even in their difficult climate
How can you maintain regular egg production in drought?
- Ensure your flock have somewhere to escape the heat during Summer
- Always provide easy access to clean water
- Add electrolyts to drinking water when there are sudden spikes in temperature or during heat waves
- Continue using a mash or pellet feed in waste-reducing feeder