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FAQ's, Why keep chickens, Can I keep chickens
We now have IN STOCK for collection or delivery*
HARD WOOD CHIPS
80litre bag - £10
Lay 3-4'' deep in your chicken run to keep your hens clean and happy but still able to scratch around.
An 80l bag will cover an area of approx 1square metre, 2 x 80l bags will cover a 6' x 3' run
Can be used over weed membrane.
Also ideal for footpaths.
Also available in cubic metre bags *delivery charge applies.
SPRING CLEAN TIME!
WORMING FEED, LICE & MITE POWDER IN STOCK NOW!
1) Spring clean your hen house
We recommend Virkon disinfectant or Poultry Shield to give your hen house a thorough clean this spring.
Wait until we have a nice sunny day and get cleaning!
Don't forget to clean the feeders and drinkers, remove all perches, shelves, removable nest boxes, etc.
Leave your hen house to dry naturally before replacing bedding and adding parasite prevention.
2) treat your birds and their accomodation for parasites
so here is a quick refresher guide for everyone
This spring has been very wet and following the mild winter all parasites are rife this year. Even if you have never treated for parasites before I would highly recommend you do now to prevent the heartache of the loss of precious birds this summer.
GUIDE TO PARASITES AND THEIR CONTROL
LICE - external parasites
WHAT ARE THEY?
Lice are blood sucking insects that live on the chickens, they are pale yellow and 2mm long, you will see the lice with the naked eye, usually under the tail / around the vent and under the wings, also on the head and neck of the bird. The eggs are small (1mm), they stick to the feathers usually in clumps near to the body and can not be removed easily without damaging feathers.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Feather loss under the tail and around the neck. Anaemia - pale combs and wattles. Lice on yourself after handling your birds. Yougsters and older birds can die from heavy infestations.
LINCOLN LOUSE POWDER - Permethrin based product also treats / prevents red mites and other insects
BARRIER ORGANIC LOUSE POWDER - Herbal based for prevention of lice but not effective on red mites
Weekly - sprinkle in nest boxes also on and around perch edges
Monthly - apply to birds under wings and tail, apply to all nooks and crannys in house
PERMETHRIN BASED LOUSE POWDER (lincoln) - apply to birds, nest boxes and perches. Treat weekly for 4 weeks
RED MITE - external parasites
WHAT ARE THEY?
Red mites are blood sucking insects. They live in the nooks and crannies of the hen house and under roofing felt / lino. They come out at night when the hens are perching and suck the blood. They are grey when they hatch and they turn red on their first blood meal. They are hardly visible to the naked eye.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR;
Look out for a grey dust around the perches and doorways of the house, the dust turns red when rubbed. Bad infestations may cause the hens to not go into the house at night / not perch or not lay eggs in the nest box. A grey dust or red spots may be seen on the eggs when laid.
Hens may be anaemic - pale combs and wattles and lose condition and weight.
LINCOLN LOUSE POWDER - Permethrin based product also treats / prevents red mites and other insects
BARRIER ORGANIC RED MITE POWDER - Herbal based for prevention of red mites
DIATOM POWDER - natural dictomaceous earth powder, ideal for organic keepers
Weekly - treat on and around perch edges
Monthly - treat perch edges and all cracks and crevices in the house, especially under roofing felt
CREOSOTE applied to the housing, outside and inside including perch ends, can help prevent red mites. Leave house to dry for a few days before putting hens back in.
DECIMITE SPRAY - kills red mites, use in the house when you see the mites
POULTRY SHIELD LIQUID, use to disinfect housing, also kills and prevents red mites
PERMETHRIN SPRAY - kills red mites, use in the house when you see the mites
WORMS - Internal parasites
PREVENTION & TREATMENT
FLUBENVET / SOLUBENOL - A 7 day course of Flubendazole, a chemical wormer. Administer in feed / water.
- treat low risk hens (free ranging in ample space or movable ark regularly moved to new pasture) spring (april) and autumn (october)
- treat high risk birds (high flock density or hens kept in a permanent run) 4 times a year.
- Also treat the whole flock for 7 days when introducing new birds
VERM-X - Put in feed / drinking water 1 week a month throughout the year with the herbal VERM-X
OTHER HEALTHCARE PRODUCTS
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR - beneficial to the general health of chickens especially during times of stress, such as moving house, moulting and pre and post shows. Treat for 7 consecutive days every month. Dosage is 20mls ACV per litre of drinking water, use in a plastic drinker only as it can corrode metal drinkers.
POULTRY SPICE - beneficial to the general health of chickens especially during times of stress, such as moving house, moulting and pre and post shows. I feed to my laying flock all year round at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 3kg layers pellets.
OREGO-STIM - I am currently trialling this product on my breeding stock
GARLIC - either put whole garlic cloves in the drinker or add garlic powder to the feed. Helps with general health and to prevent red mites.
NAF LIFEGUARD TONIC - an excellent tonic which supports the system in times of stress, moult or illness. A must have for every first aid box.
BATTLES POULTRY DRINK - a traditional red tonic used by many poultry keepers.
There is still time to order gift vouchers for Christmas!
You can buy a voucher for ANY AMOUNT from £5
A voucher for one hen (ANY variety) is £16 (no monetary amount is written on the voucher)
A voucher for Single Adult place on a Beginners session is £15, a Family place (2 adults and up to 4 children) is the Special Price of £30 (no monetary amount is written on the voucher)
All Gift vouchers come with a gift card which can be sent direct to you or direct to the recipient with a personal message.
Purchase a voucher for a complete starter kit - for yourself or as a present - and get a FREE FAMILY place on a BEGINNERS SESSION (up to 2 adults and 4 children)!
email email@example.com for further details
WORMING FEED NOW IN STOCK!
We recommend worming your hens spring (May) and autumn (Nov).
We can provide pre-mixed worming feed, just enough for a weeks worming (1kg per hen), saving on waste and expense.
Call / email to arrange a collection time, or come during normal opening hours (see POL price and availability page for opening times).
KEEPING YOUR HENS WARM
Hens need ventilation (air flow) in the hen house as humidity (dampness in the air) can cause breathing problems.
If you think that your hen house is too cold or draughty then hang some hessian sacking over the windows / air vents at night time and on very windy days, this will allow air flow but not draughts.
Don't be tempted to put heat lamps in the hen house unless you have young chicks (under 8 weeks old) or ex battery hens with very few feathers.
Feed some mixed corn (up to 20g per hen, add some flint grit to the corn as well) before putting your hens to bed, the action of digesting the corn will keep them warm.
Some people knit coats for their hens, especially ex battery hens, if you do this then make sure you remove the coat at least once a day to let the hens body get some air, always make sure the coat is dry. Having a couple of coats is best so that you can clean one (use non-biological powder and NO fabric conditioner) whilst the hens is waring the other.
KEEPING YOUR HENS SAFE
Predators willl also be hungry as the temperature drops and they will be more likely to visit during the day as the winter goes on.
Make sure your hens are safely in their run when you are not home and close the pop hole door to the hen house at dusk. This means that you will not see so much of the hens so make sure you check them (and the hen house) over thoroughly at weekends when you can see them in the daytime.
KEEPING UP EGG PRODUCTION
Some people put 40watt bulbs in the hen house to increase the daylight hours and keep the hens laying eggs (put the lights high above the perches so the hens cannot touch them, also make sure the nest box is still in darkness otherwise they may start breaking / eating the eggs. Hanging strips of dark plastic down in front of the nest boxes will help.
If you do this it is better to wake the hens early than to light them at the end of the day, this allows them a stress free bedtime as the sun goes down. Some people light the hen house from 3 or 4am, whatever you do make sure that you do this gradually, half an hour a week is fine.
It is that time of year again, there is a shortage of pure breed birds so prices are high.
I am getting reports of chickens (pure breeds and even ex battery hens!), ducks, turkeys and other livestock and equipment being stolen.
Please encourage all your friends to follow the advice below;
If we DO NOT give these thieves an outlet for the birds then WE CAN STOP THIS HAPPENING!
NEW, FRIENDLY POULTRY FORUM!
FREE to join, hopefully I'll be contributing regularly, come and join us.
GOOD LUCK with the forum Jamie
The hens for homes loyalty scheme will be continuing for all existing customers for 2010, please see POL price and availability page for details
Join our group on Facebook, the social networking site, to receive news of upcoming events and special offers.
Keep in touch with our plans for 2010.
All friends and customers past and present are welcome.
HOT NEWS! APRIL 2008
According to BEIS (British Egg Information Service)
Sales of FREE RANGE EGGS have overtaken sales of battery eggs for the first time!
Sales of free range eggs have increaseed by a third since January 2008.
Thanks to Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley -Whittingstall and friends for their recent campaigns.
Look out for the new campaign where Hugh and Jamie will be rearing meat chickens for a local Essex school.
CHICKEN OUT CAMPAIGN - JAN 2008
FREE RANGE IS FAIRER!
OK, most of you have your own hens and enjoy fresh free range eggs, so now I am urging everyone to only buy free range (or freedom foods) chicken.
Please support the Chicken Out campaign by telling all of your friends to watch the above video (click on the link above)
Do you want to know where your food comes from?
We believe that 'you are what you eat' and this applies to our animals as well.
To get the best tasting and most nutritious eggs for our consumption we have to look at how are hens are kept and fed.
We know that our hens are getting the best feed and upbringing and therefore can trust that the eggs we get are as healthy and tasty as they can be.
Free Range Hens
Our hens are all kept on a Free Range system. This mean that they are free to roam during the day, but they are 'put to bed' at night for their own safety.
Contrary to poular belief chickens can fly and they like to roost in trees like other birds, they also like to scratch around for grubs and insects in the fallen leaves and they benefit from the shade that the trees give on a hot day.
Therefore our hens have access to woodland and a natural fresh water stream for their drinking water.
Fed on Natural Feeds
Our laying hens are fed only on ORGANIC layers pellets with no GM or artificial ingredients.
They also get crushed oyster shells which keep the egg shells nice and strong, and grit which helps them to break down their food - as they have no teeth.
As a treat they get mixed corn and fresh fruit and vegetables - the yellow maize and fresh 'greens' help produce the 'golden yolk' in the egg.
And as they are free range they have access to great source of natural protein that we would rather not think about, but thats why gardeners love hens!
The End Result
Is a healthy great tasting egg for you to eat!
Our eggs are NATURALLY low in cholesterol as our hens are fit not fat.
They are NATURALLY high in protein from the hens eating a varied diet.
The yolks are NATURALLY yellow with no artificial yolk colour enhancers.
Ask our customers - who won't ever eat a battery egg again.
Did you know? The colour of the yolk depends on the time of year (quality of grass and vegetation) and the individual hens diet. We do not use any artificial colour enhancers in our feed so the yolk colour will vary from a pale yellow to a dark mustard colour.
Order your hens today and start collecting your own fresh eggs tomorrow!
Chickens make great low maintenance pets
Most of the hybrids are docile and friendly birds, the only time they chase you is for a cuddle! Ours love to help with the gardening and help themselves to slugs & worms as well as other insects, bugs and grubs around the garden.
They are great pets for children, living between 6 & 8 years, being generally hardy and enjoying a cuddle. The only trouble you will have is finding time to do the gardening as you will spend hours watching them doing silly 'chicken things' and listening to their calming clucking! Great stress relief!
You never have trouble getting friends to 'chicken sit' as they are rewarded with fresh eggs every day!
Small / Urban Garden? - Hens can be kept in Arks or moveable runs and moved to fresh grass weekly - or if space is limited sited on a permanent woodchip (not bark chip) bed and fed fresh greens daily.
Allotment? - They give free natural fertiliser. Kept in arks they can be rotated around the allotment to fertilise the ground.
Large / Rural Garden / Smallholding? Let them out in the morning and get them in before dark. This way you can benefit from the really dark yolks in the summer months. If you go on holiday they won't mind being kept in, just make sure they have access to an outdoor run to prevent overcrowding, boredom and fighting. Automatic pop hole openers are a good investment if you work during the day in the winter or have friends chicken sitting.
Are chickens noisy?
No, only cockerels crow, hens cluck quite quietly and they make a bit more noise when they have layed an egg, but otherwise they are no noisier than a cat.
Do I need a cockerel?
No. If you are keeping chickens in your garden we would not recommend it as they can be noisy. Hens lay the same amount of eggs with or without a cockerel. If you are in a rural area with no close neighbours you may want a cockerel as a fox deterrant - but it would be better to ensure your house / run is fox proof.
Do chickens smell?
No more than any other pet. We recommend cleaning the house out at least once a week and if you have a moveable ark / run then move to a fresh patch of grass at least weekly. If you have a woodchip bed you can rake it over or hose it down weekly.
Do they need vaccinations?
As a rule no. All our hybrid hens come to you fully vaccinated to 13 weeks of age. There may be vaccines available in the future for strains of bird flu, etc but these are not recommended at present. Most rare breed chickens are not vaccinated, check with your breeder.
Do they need worming?
As with cats and dogs some people worm their pets and others don't. There is a natural product for organic producers called VermX (follow the link from 'poultry chat' in the nav bar) and a chemical product called Flubenvet available from your vets. For a small back garden flock we recommend worming twice a year in Spring and autumn and whenever introducing new birds. Whilst worming your chickens you can continue to eat the eggs.
How many eggs should I get?
Expect 5-6 eggs per chicken per week in the first year. They will usually moult in their second winter and start laying again from March onwards. Some types such as the White Star, Bovans Nera and Black Rock can continue laying throughout the winter but this depends on the individual bird.
How many chickens should I get?
We recommend a minimum of 3 and find that most people start with 3 or 4.
How do I introduce new chickens?
It is best to keep new chickens seperate for 3 weeks in case they get stressed during the move and show signs of illness. After this move the runs next to each other / put out in the garden together so they get used to each other for a few days before putting them all to bed together one night. There will be some fighting but the more space they have the better. They should settle down in a few days. Some people with small flocks put their new chickens straight in with the others at bedtime. If you collect you birds during the day then put in a seperate run (or a crate in the main run)- don't forget to give them food and water! Then put the new birds in the house with the others at bedtime. If you have an enclosed run I find no need to keep the birds in the house for 24 hours.
What can I do to settle my new chickens in?
You can add 'Apple cider vinegar' or 'Bird Tonic' into the drinking water or use 'Poultry Spice' in the food - I always use both when introducing new birds and during the moult. Keep your new birds in the house and run for 10 - 14 days so they acclimatize before letting them out to free range if required. 'Corn train' them in this time to make it easier to get them in once they are ranging. Keep handling to a minimum during this time but sit in the run with them (if you can fit!) and offer treats from the hand.
Where can I find more information and speak to other chicken keepers?
Click on the 'Poultry Chat' link in the top menu for advice from other breeders, keepers and share your experiences with many other people new to chicken keeping.
Hybrid 'v's Rare / Traditional Breed Chickens
Hybrid chickens have been bred for their hardiness, high egg production and temperament. Most are friendly docile birds best suited to free ranging or back garden living and make excellent, low maintenance pets.
Traditionally hybrids came in White for white eggs and Brown for brown eggs. Not very popular with hobby keepers who liked their birds to look good, but still an excellent choice if your main priority is plenty of eggs.
We offer modern sex linked hybrids. They come in many different colours and still lay a substantial amount of eggs compared to the traditional breeds. You can choose a bird that lays white, cream, tinted, brown, dark brown or blue eggs!
Modern Hybrids are ideal for the new poultry keeper.
Please note; for your peace of mind, all our hybrid POL birds have been fully vaccinated including the salmonella vaccine.
Click on the 'POL Price and Availability' link in the menu bar and choose your chickens
Decide how many of each you would like. Expect 5-6 eggs from each chicken per week during the first year. We would advise you start with 3 or 4 hens as some take longer to come into lay and if you lose one (this does occasionally happen) then you do not have a single unhappy hen.
Decide where you are going to keep your chickens. Have you got a house and run ready for them?
We also supply hen houses, equipment, feed, bedding, books and sundries.
Or choose one of our COMPLETE STARTER KITS (includes all of above) from £250
Decide if you would like to choose and collect your own chickens or you would rather we deliver them to you (for a small charge).
Call us to reserve your chickens, (feed, bedding, feeder, drinker, ark) and arrange a collection / delivery date.
Start collecting egg boxes from friends and family!
What happens if the type of hen I want is out of stock?
Don't worry, we will have some on order. Just let us know how many of each type you require and we will let you know when they arrive. We are happy to reserve 'in stock' hens so you get them all together.