Poultry Care, Getting Hens Through Winter – Jason’s Seventh Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

It was early one very cold January morning, many years ago when I learnt something about keeping poultry that I have passed on (not so much as advice, but) as a warning to many other keepers.

Frozen drinker - no drink here!
Frozen drinker – no drink here!

We woke up to a thick layer of snow that morning, and as ever when it comes, what a sight to wake up to, I always want to rush out with my camera, there are always so many great ‘snowy’ shots to take around the farm, though to be honest, I probably took them last time we had snow! A little slower than normal I made my way down to do what we refer to here as the morning ‘open up’, referring to all the animals (we don’t just do chickens!) as ‘everyone’, the open up is the regular morning routine of making sure everyone is let out of their overnight enclosures, fed, watered, a visual heath check and a brief chat with some of our old favourites! Most importantly making sure everyone is ‘still with us’!, always hoping not to find that there has been any sort of overnight disaster, this can take many forms, and over the years I’ve definitely had a few of them! Continue reading “Poultry Care, Getting Hens Through Winter – Jason’s Seventh Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Keeping Poultry Safe, Protection From Foxes – Jason’s Sixth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

I’m often asked when is the best time of year to start keeping poultry

Sturdy wire keeps out Mr Fox
Sturdy wire keeps out Mr Fox

I think most people would naturally consider the answer to be early spring. This is the time of year when we always notice our shop getting busier, as we joke about the customers coming out of hibernation! Without a doubt it is the time of year when most beginners start their poultry keeping, although I’m quite happy to advise that more or less any time of year can be just as good, ‘different seasons for different reasons’. Continue reading “Keeping Poultry Safe, Protection From Foxes – Jason’s Sixth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Introducing New Birds Into An Existing Flock – Jason’s Fifth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Everyone loves the thought of that ‘magic answer’ – something many seek when it comes to introducing new birds into an existing flock!

Cockerels Can Help Introductions
Cockerels Can Help Introductions

In our shop, I work extremely hard to ensure that no one leaves, having purchased birds, without being asked if they have an existing flock, and whether they intend to introduce the new ones to them. If the answer is yes, they are asked if they have done this before, how it went, and just a quick run through to ensure they did it the best way possible. If the answer is no, then myself or my staff will talk them through the procedure that we recommend they follow. This is never set in stone, and will depend on many factors – for successful introduction, there is much you must know… Continue reading “Introducing New Birds Into An Existing Flock – Jason’s Fifth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Autumn Poultry Care – Jason’s Fourth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Thoughts on keeping your flock safe and healthy during Autumn and Winter

Autumn is upon us! I’m sure we say it every year, but soon the clocks will be changing and the nights will be drawing in, before we know it, pumpkins, bonfire night, log fires and, yep – Christmas again! (That reminds me, I still haven’t got around to chopping enough logs for the fire, and every year I’m convinced we’ll be ready, but there’s just too much to do!)

Chicken perching in our pear tree
Chicken perching in our pear tree

So what does this seasonal change mean to the poultry keeper?

For many, poultry keeping is ‘all about the eggs’ – a drop in light levels can mean a drop in egg production. Continue reading “Autumn Poultry Care – Jason’s Fourth Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Recurring Mitemares – Jason’s Third Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine

Are you suffering from re-occurring red ‘mitemares’?!

Although an incredibly difficult problem to solve 100%, this month through practical advice and my own experiences, I’ll be aiming to get you as close to that goal as possible and hopefully have you sleeping a bit easier!

Red Mite Under Microscope
Red Mite Under Microscope

What is Red Mite?

I guess any new poultry keepers reading this may well be wondering what we are talking about here, well, we are talking about (in my opinion): ‘poultry enemy No.1’ – The Red Spider Mite. Continue reading “Recurring Mitemares – Jason’s Third Chicken Health Article In Home Farmer Magazine”

Defra Lifts Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Across England

It is strongly recommended that all keepers – whether they have commercial flocks or a few birds in their back garden – continue to follow good practice on biosecurity despite the Prevention Zone being lifted – to reduce the risk of infection, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds inside.

All disease control measures are kept under review based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice. Poultry gatherings across England can now go ahead, subject to some additional identity and health checks and biosecurity measures, now that the Prevention Zone has been lifted.

Defra Lisfts Prevention Zone - Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Red

If your birds are housed it is especially important to  Continue reading “Defra Lifts Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Across England”

Defra To Lift Restrictions In England – Poultry Keeping

After months of imposed restrictions by Defra due to the avian influenza it looks as though these are to be lifted as of Monday the 15th of May.

Defra update - Chickens Allowed Outside
Chickens allowed outside

Defra has published the following statement on their news page: “Based on the latest risk assessment, the Chief Vet has confirmed that we expect to lift the existing Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on 15 May 2017 and replace it with a new Prevention Zone that will apply only to certain areas of Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside. After that date, keepers within the new Prevention Zone covering the districts of Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Lancaster, Blackpool, Wyre, Fylde, Preston, Sefton, West Lancashire, South Ribble and Chorley will still be required by law to follow specific disease prevention measures to reduce the risk of infection from wild birds; keepers outside the new Prevention Zone should continue to follow industry best practice on biosecurity.” Continue reading “Defra To Lift Restrictions In England – Poultry Keeping”

Chickens Free Range – Defra Update: Removal Of Housing Requirement In Higher Risk Areas

After many months of patient vigilance, chicken keepers and other poultry keepers everywhere can breathe a little more easily today. It has been announced by Defra that as of Thursday 13th April 2017, all poultry inside the “Higher Risk Areas of England” can once again be allowed outside to roam – chickens free range as nature intended. There remains the need for strict biosecurity measures to be in force, and all poultry gatherings are still banned until further notice, but with fingers (and wings) crossed the scare we have all had since December 2016 is coming to an end.

Our chickens free range, they're so happy to be allowed outside again following the Defra restrictions being lifted.
Our chickens allowed outside again

Continue reading “Chickens Free Range – Defra Update: Removal Of Housing Requirement In Higher Risk Areas”

Chicken Health Advice – DEFRA Updates

Unfortunately this chicken keeping year has gotten off to a bad start with the outbreak of Avian Influenza (bird flu). DEFRA has extended the prevention zone measures until the 28th of February 2017. In light of this, please follow their chicken health advice. I’m sure I don’t need to preach to you the importance of keeping your birds inside if possible or under netting to prevent wild birds getting too close to your flock. I’m also sure that you’re keeping feeders and drinkers inside or under shelter to stop wild birds defecating in them.

For the latest updates visit – www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-influenza-bird-flu-in-winter-2016-to-2017

Biolink Bi-OO-cyst DEFRA approved for chicken health advice
Biolink Bi-OO-Cyst 1 Litre Bottle – £16.00

Second to all of this is keeping everything disinfected. It is a good habit and good practice to disinfect wellies before entering your run and, if big enough, your chicken house. Continue reading “Chicken Health Advice – DEFRA Updates”

Poultry Keeping – Josh’s Introduction

Josh holds a bantam and tells us about his poultry keeping adventures
Josh holding a bantam

Living in a residential area, it used to be pretty uncommon to have a flock of birds in your back garden; however, my parents decided, being that they were very much into self-sufficiency at the time, to begin their poultry keeping adventures by getting six point of lay chickens. I was only young at the time, but I have fond memories of collecting the eggs and listening to their relaxing chatter. I can still remember my excitement at hearing the vociferous clucking of the hens as they laid their eggs each day. Their house was a good distance from our house, but it could still be heard clearly at the bottom of the garden. Continue reading “Poultry Keeping – Josh’s Introduction”