Frequently Asked Questions
What do chickens eat?
Chickens from point of lay onwards will do best on layers pellets or layers mash supplemented with mixed corn. They can also be fed as a treat vegetable scraps & peelings, cooked plain rice & pasta.
What bedding should I use?
The most suitable bedding for chickens is dust extracted wood shavings where as the most suitable bedding for ducks is straw.
What is the most suitable type of housing?
This varies depending on how many birds you are planning to keep, which breed you plan to keep, the size of the area you plan to keep them in and much more. There is a huge range of poultry housing on the market but some of the main things to consider are that it’s where your hens have to sleep and lay therefore it must be waterproof as birds need to be kept dry. It also needs to be secure to keep your birds protected from foxes & badgers. It needs to be easily accessible to you for daily egg collection & regular cleaning out, chicken houses will need perches for the chickens to sleep on where as ducks sleep on the floor. A shed will also need adequate ventilation to keep your birds healthy.
Will I need to worm my hens?
We recommend you worm your chickens twice a year, a range of wormers are usually available from your local feed merchant.
Will my chickens be affected by any parasites?
The answer is probably yes but this is easily resolved by regular treatment. You will need to check your birds regularly for mites and lice. To do this part the birds feathers around their vent and on their back, this will allow you to look on the skin for red mites and on the feathers for lice. If either is present treat all of your birds with a lice/mite powder or spray which should be stocked by all good feed merchants, country stores or even pet shops. Also red mite can live in chicken sheds and just come onto the chicken at night.Therefore you will need to regularly check your hen house as red mite will live in the corners of the shed, under the perch or in cracks and crevices, again there are sprays available to use on sheds to kill the mites.
Will my chickens need anything other than food and fresh water?
We advise you periodically add a vitamin/mineral supplement to your birds feed or water to help ensure they stay fit, healthy and productive. This applies especially to times of stress for example if you move your birds, also in the autumn to help the birds through the molt. There are a wide range of mineral supplements available including water soluble options or powders to be mixed into feed, you just have to pick one to suit your poultry keeping system.
It’s also necessary to give bird’s oyster shell to provide calcium to keep their egg shells strong and grit to aid in food digestion in the birds crop. These can either be mixed with the bird’s food or fed in a separate feeder.
How long do chickens live for?
As with all livestock this can vary from one bird to another but the average life span will be around 4-5 years
And remember your hens will provide you with endless pleasure and a regular supply of fresh eggs so if you look after them they will reward you!