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10 Poultry Facts

29/09/2010 10 Useful Poultry Facts

1)    You can tell what colour eggs a hen is likely to lay by the ear lobes. A hen with white ear lobes usually lays white eggs.

2)    You would only require a cockerel to fertilize eggs for breeding. Hens don’t need a cockerel to lay. Care should be taken owning a cockerel, as a noise complaint by neighbours may mean not being able to keep chickens at all. You will still hear them when they are shut away in the chicken house.

3)    DEFRA need to be informed if you keep more than 50 birds. This includes poultry and waterfowl.

4)    Poultry should be checked on at least twice a day to make sure they are in good health and have adequate food, water and shelter. They also need to be securely shut away in their coop at dusk.

5)    Green vegetables are fine to feed to chickens but feeding table scraps is not allowed. Bread can be fed but in small quantities remember it may contain salt and additives.

6)    Chickens need a supply of grit to grind down their food in their gizzards. If egg shells are thin crushed oyster shell will help as a calcium supplement.

7)    Grey dust on ledges inside the hen ark is a sure sign of red mite. Other signs to watch for are hens reluctant to go into the house and a decline in egg laying. Red mite will suck the birds blood and cause anaemia so prompt action is needed. Spray the coop every 7 days with poultry shield to break the mites life cycle and use diatom earth, which is organic on birds and in bedding and housing dusting in all the cracks.

8)    Raised scales on a chickens legs point to scaly leg mite. The hen will be itchy and uncomfortable, best to treat straight away.

9)    Chickens require a dust bath to clean themselves. Free-range hens will make their own but confined hens will need one made for them. Excessive dust bathing may be a sign of lice or mites.

10)     Back feathers can be lost to a cockerels attention. If there is no cockerel it could well be other hens bullying one in particular. If blood is shead then isolate the birds for its own safety and only reintroduce when healed.

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