Winter care for chickens & treats for my cats

When I shared tips for taking care of cats during the autumn and winter earlier this week I had a great response and my attention turned to other pets in the family. I thought about the animals we care for who are ‘outside’ pets; in our family we have chickens and guinea pigs, and other pets such as rabbits and even dogs in kennels need a little extra special treatment during the colder months. So today I’m sharing some ideas on things you can do to make your outside pets comfortable in the winter, and I’m starting with poultry.chicken poultry pet health tips products-3 chicken poultry pet health tips productsThis week I ordered some ‘treats’ for my mum’s chickens. She has a flock of bantams in her garden and they are the sweetest, friendliest little hens I’ve ever met. When I was shopping for some cat products earlier this week (more about that later!) I spotted some poultry deals on the Swallow Aquatics pet shop website. With my husband having recently used up the last of the mite powder while cleaning out the chickens recently, I knew that a replacement was needed. So when I saw the Johnson’s Housing Spray was reduced I added a can to my online basket.chicken poultry pet health tips products-4 chicken poultry pet health tips products-2 chicken poultry pet health tips products-10I also picked up a bottle of antibacterial powder just in case any of mum’s bantams need treatment for cuts or grazes (though they never have so far!) over the winter, and I couldn’t resist treating the flock to a Johnson’s Corn and Grit Treat Bar. I took the treats over to mum’s chickens this morning and snapped some photos of the cute little bantams while I was there. I researched ways of making chickens more comfortable during the winter and here are some tips that I found on MyPetChicken.com:

  • You can rub moisturiser or Vaseline on to wattles and combs to prevent frostbite.
  • Chickens gradually get used to the cold weather over time so there is no need to heat the coop at all.
  • Don’t allow water to freeze so check it during the day and bring it indoors overnight then return it to the coop in the morning.
  • Regularly clear out the coop because they may be spending more time indoors during the longer hours of darkness so may mess up their bedding more quickly.

chicken poultry pet health tips products-8 chicken poultry pet health tips products-6The main reason I was shopping online for my pets this week was because I wanted to find a specific Catit product – the Senses Speed Circuit cat toy. You may remember that I bought my cats the larger ‘rollercoaster’ circuit from Catit for Christmas last year and they’ve been playing with it ever since. Often I get all enthusiastic about a product, buy my cats a new toy and they will simply sniff it before walking away. I’m sure my cats aren’t the only ones who are ‘picky’ about their toys, are they?? cat toys exercise pet health-12 cat toys exercise pet health tipsAnyway, when I first opened up the Catit circuit, they both started playing with it immediately and haven’t stopped since. They play with it when we aren’t in the room – I often hear the sound of the ball being chased around the circuit – so I know that it keeps them entertained even if we aren’t at home to play with them, which is reassuring. So when I learnt that there were expansion sets of the same rollercoaster circuit available, I set out to find some additional tracks for my cats to enjoy.cat toys exercise pet health-7 cat toys exercise pet health-13The Catit speed circuit was in stock in the cat section at Swallow Aquatics so I added two boxes to my basket – one for Cookie and one for Muffin. Knowing how much they love their existing toy I was really excited for the delivery to arrive (not just because I couldn’t wait to play with it myself!) and put together the set for the cats to enjoy. It still surprises me that the cats took to this new toy so well because it’s so unlike them, so it’s definitely worth the value of the toy to get something that they will actually play with. Plus, it means I have two more extra flashing balls (one with each set) as a backup for the cats to enjoy in the future.cat toys exercise pet health-10 cat toys exercise pet health-3We played with the two kits individually when I unwrapped them last night but today I’m going to add the track to their existing Catit set to create a massive rollercoaster – fun for the cats and me! I also got some half price Johnsons Hairball Remedy to help prevent hairballs building up, and another Catit product – a scratcher with catnip.cat toys exercise pet health-6 cat toys exercise pet health-11 cat toys exercise pet health-2I didn’t know exactly what would be arriving, but it was a bargain price so I popped it in my basket anyway. It turns out to be layers and layers of corrugated cardboard in a box, and I was surprised when the cats started pawing at it without me adding any catnip at all. It’ll be good for their claws to really get stuck into a good scratch and when they’ve torn it apart I can easily recycle it – bonus! Seeing as they won’t be going outside as much during the winter (they just don’t like the cold weather and there’s nothing I can do to persuade them to go out if it’s raining!) this product will allow them to scratch just like they would outside, without the risk of them attacking my new armchair!cat toys exercise pet health-4 cat toys exercise pet health-8

I hope that these tips have helped if you have pet chickens, and that you’ve been inspired to treat your cats to some new toys this year. It’s great exercise for their body and mind, so if they are spending more time indoors during the winter it will keep them active. Overall, I’m really pleased with the pet products I got from Swallow Aquatics and their prices are some of the best I’ve seen – mum insists that I saved about £10 on the grit treat alone. I wish I’d bought more of them now..!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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