An is­sue with my auto-opener

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QI have an au­to­matic door-opener on my chicken house, which is in­side a fox-proof run. I use the door-opener in win­ter and just leave the door open in sum­mer. One morn­ing, the door hadn’t opened, and they’d picked on the small­est girl quite badly. Can I just leave the door open in win­ter, or will the chick­ens get too cold? I have four hy­brid hens, one friz­zled ban­tam cock­erel and a Ja­panese ban­tam.

AAnne Perdeaux says: Au­to­matic door-openers are great, but reg­u­lar checks are es­sen­tial. Could the fault be sim­ply the bat­ter­ies? Open­ing takes more power than clos­ing, so this is of­ten the first func­tion to fail. Leav­ing the pop­hole open overnight isn’t a good idea, even in a fox-proof run. Foxes can be very de­ter­mined, and other preda­tors may gain ac­cess to vul­ner­a­ble roost­ing chick­ens – even rats may at­tack them. An open pop­hole is also likely to cre­ate an un­healthy draught, and if the coop is too hot in sum­mer, it would be bet­ter to in­stall ex­tra ven­ti­la­tion at roof level.

Ja­panese ban­tams aren’t very hardy, and be­ing so close to the ground are sus­cep­ti­ble to get­ting damp and chilled. They need well-in­su­lated hous­ing and of­ten re­quire ex­tra warmth in win­ter. Th­ese docile lit­tle birds are likely to be bul­lied in a mixed flock, es­pe­cially one that con­tains full-sized chick­ens. When she has re­cov­ered I sug­gest you house the Ja­panese ban­tam separately with an­other small com­pan­ion (per­haps the ban­tam cock­erel), as rein­tro­duc­ing her to the flock may well re­sult in fur­ther at­tacks.

There is a Face­book page for the Ja­panese Ban­tam Club which you may find help­ful.

An auto-opener on a hen house. IN­SET: A Ja­panese ban­tam Photo: Terry Beebe

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.