Archive for March, 2012

Buff Orpington Hatching Eggs arrive

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

6 light brown Buff Orpington eggs arrived with the post delivery this morning, posted yesterday in tissue paper and a polystyrene solid case they arrived in good condition and without delay.

We allowed them to rest all day and have added them to the incubator this evening. They are 3 days behind the eggs already in the incubator, so this may give us a problem for the last few days when the others are removed from the automatic tray and placed on the wire rack, we will have to manually continue to turn these eggs for a few days while the others hatch.

Best Chicken Blogs | Chicken Keeping Blogs we read | Chicken Web Cams

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

big black bantam chicken

Here are a selction of links we like to watch and read

http://www.hencam.com/  Live chiken feed web cam in florida

http://www.urbanchickens.net/ Urban chicken network

http://awindycitygal.wordpress.com/my-city-chickens/ The windy city girls blog

http://blog.poultrykeeper.com/ links to  poultry keeper blogs

black bantam chicken head shot

The best feed for chickens

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

trio of bantams

Feeding your chickens is extremely important. If you feed your chickens too little they will simply get hungry, but if you feed them to much they will get fat and you willl attract rodents to your pen and rodents carry all different types of deseases which could be harmful to your chicks. It’s also very important which sort of food you feed your hens as different  types of food result in different results ,for example if you feed your chickens layers pellets you would have probally noticed that the shells are quite thick compared to if you were feeding them corn allthough I’ve noticed that chickens prefer corn to layers pellets due to the taste. When ever I feed my hens the pellets there are always a fare amount left over for the wild birds and rodents to feast on ,but there is a way to make your chickens enjoy their food  and still have strong and healthy eggs. Simply mix a small bag of grit in with your normal bags of corn this way the chickens will eat the corn along with the grit ,the grit is good for your hens as it provides there shells with a hard and healthy shell this should work unless you have spoilt chickens like mine who are use to the glorious taste of cuscous and bread with a side order of chips.

Coccidiosis in Poultry

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Coccidiosis is a disease which affects many species of animal, It can have serious animal welfare consequences, it is particularly problematic in poultry.  

Coccidia are microscopic single-celled parasites (called protozoa)  Coccidia live within cells and are usually found in the intestinal tract.  There are over 11 sub species which affect Poultry.

The disease is more common in young birds, it usually strikes chickens up to 12 weeks of age. Older birds develop immunity to the infection from previous mild exposure

Signs of the Coccidiosis

Infected birs appear ill, dull and lifeless; they will stand hunched up with ruffled feathers with their wings dropped and eyes closed.  They dont eat or drink and lose weight.  The stools may be blood stained or contain red coloured jelly like worms.

Death rates from the disease are around 50% if not treated; 

Treatment

There is a range of drugs available for the successful treatment of the disease. These require a prescription and should be used as per veterinary advice to achieve the best results. Treatment should be instigated early when the infection is suspected to reduce mortality and prevent spread.

Prevention

Medicated feed is generally considered one of the best preventative measures against coccidiosis. This can be fed throughout the rearing period and replaced with a standard pellet just before the point of lay or slaughter, paying careful attention to the withdrawal period associated with medicated feed if this is used.

Good husbandry is also an essential part of prevention; correct stocking rates, dry bedding, good ventilation and cleanliness of feeders and drinkers will all help to hinder development of the parasites. Rearing chicks on wire racks to reduce soiling and good husbandry and dissinfection will all help. Overcrowding should be addressed with carefull attention to stocking levels and the cleanliness of water and feeding areas.

Broody Bantams on silkie bantam eggs

Monday, March 26th, 2012

bantam

this is one of our pekin batams, one of which, the smallest buff pekin, not the one shown here, has decided to go broody. Last year she sat tight for almost 2 months despite everything andevery  attempt to get her to give up. In the end she lost condition and had to be excluded from the nest box.

This year we have decided to go with it. and as we have no pekin cockeral, we sourced some mixed white and buff silkie bantam eggs.  (I have always fancied some silkies, just fr the looks) we went for a dozen and came away with 12 silkie bantam eggs from 2 white and 2 golden buff hens run with a golden cock(the resultant chicks should be mixed 50:50 whites and buffs. In addition, we also left with 15 maran eggs and 9 cochin eggs. Try squeezing that lot under one bantam. So the road trip also included a stop for an incubator.

Shes now sitting happy, and still adds a batam egg into the mix daily, which is removed. We have also given the other bantams an alternate nest box as they were also managing to add their eggs to the nest daily. 19 days to go and the rest are in the incubator. Should make the last weekend of the Easter Holidays eventful.

An old Orchard into a Chicken Run

Monday, March 26th, 2012

orchard dell farm

I love chickens in orchards. There is something right about it. You know you are in the country. Its very English and re-assures you that despite everything, english country rural living is still possible and worth seeking out.

Chickens on grass produce better eggs. Chickens fed on established grass with a good mixed herbage and wild flower mix do best. This ground is well supplied with minerals and bugs of every description ensuring a varied mixed and healthy diet for the poultry.

The photo above shows the old orchard at the Dell Farm, taken in early March 2012. The mixed crocus come through in their thousands, but they are all but finished in this warm spring weather by the 2nd week in March, to be followed by daffodils of many varieties and snowflakes. Some of the older fruit trees are also planted with roses. We do not know the varieties of either yet, and the garden has been semi wild for all but lawn mowing for some years.

To the East boundary, with the formal gardens is an run of old climbing roses, once supported on a fenced run of purgola supports, now long colapsed the rose remain as a part boundary. We plan to re-instate the supports and replant the roses with traditional old varieties, all heavily scented. The Orchard will be a project for autumn (if I can resist buying varieties that long) There is a very old and respected fruit nursery south of Norwich still supplying rare old breeds of fruit trees, many especially associated with Norfolk and choosing what will go in will be a hotly debated issue I am certain. Choosing the chickens may be a lot simpler.

Dell Farm chicken runs

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The Dell Farm

We have a wide selection of chicken runs and housing options at The Dell Farm. The old barns have a pig house come chicken or turkey coup in one corner. I think this was last used to rear turkeys by the benches and perches we found in it, but it has not been used for many years. The door does have a chicken hatch and gives access to both the dell and the old pig sty.

The Dell is to the side of the large barn and runs in a large triangle down to the farm boundary. This is a great area for poultry, with dapled shade in summer the Dell covers and area of almost half an acre. At the bottom is a natural pond, presently not very big, probably only 20 by 20 feet and full of foul smelling black sludge and little over 6 inches of water, but this gives us a great opportunity and it should be fantastic for ducks and geese after a make-over  with a mini digger this autumn. (we are not going to tackly it this spring or summer as it is currently teaming with frogs and toads) not sure if the water will last long enough to see the tadpoles making it out, Norfolk is so dry this year)

The Farm is named after the Dell, and at this time of year it is not hard to see why. Drifts of snow drops laced with aconites are giving way to blue and white dog toothed violets, cyclamen, hyacinths, dafodils and scented narcisii. Banks of bluebells are to follow and there are drifts of wild garlic and primula. Lots of nettles will need our attention this year. We dont expect to spray as we want to run poutry in this area. The top section is fenced to allow a smaller run. We really do not want to over stock this area as we want to reatin it as a flower filled dell, with a sprinkling of beautiful poultry going about their business as only chickens can.

Maran hatching eggs

Monday, March 26th, 2012

maran eggs

Maran eggs are the most lovely dark brown eggs. They stand out from the majority of british bown eggs being a dark shiny brown, much darker than the light brown eggs most people are familiar with.

We have 15 maran eggs which came from a great flock in Nottinghamshire and went into incubation on the 23rd March. Maran chicks are not self sexing, but when crossed with light sussex the resuting chicks are auto sexing

Keeping your hens safe

Monday, March 26th, 2012

chicken pen

It is very important that you keep your hens in a secure pen, where they are out of the way of foxes , dogs , and any other predators which are seeking a potentially easy meal.

How do you keep them safe ? Easy, have a well fenced area be careful though if your fence is not high enough your chickens will simply climb, fly and jump over.  You may consider placing a gate into the pen, to make it an easy and quick trip to the chicken pen, without having to hoist a leg up over a fence.

Hens for pets Nottinghamshire

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A big thank you to the staff at Hens for Pets in Nottinghamshire. We can thoroughly recommend this shop for anyone considering keeping hens. They have a great stock of chickens, hatching eggs and feeds, they also supply incubators and brooders.

The staff are very knowledgable and freindly, being chicken enthusiasts themselves they give very good advice, especially to first time owners.

Its easy to find being just by the nottingham IKEA and is located in a modern retail park with plenty of parking. Well worth a visit. If you want hatching eggs it is worth phoning the day before or earlier to see what is available.