Chicken Vet Website

On my farmingfriends forum when the members need to take their poultry to the vets there is often talk about whether their vets have a specialist in poultry.

I am lucky where I live we have a local vets surgery with staff who are specially trained in avian veterinary.

I am writing this post as I have just been reading about the chicken vet website.

The Chicken Vet website provides advice on the care, health and well being of hens and offer recommendations on products to treat or maintain good health.

It also provides a network of “Chicken Friendly Vets” throughout the UK. The practices listed here are all Associated with Chicken Vet.

You can register on the website Chicken Vet and they will send you a welcome pack and information regarding your chosen practice.

Visit the Chicken Vet website.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

Visit Wells Poultry For All Your Poultry Equipment & Housing

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A Tip To Stop Poultry Tipping Up Their Feeders

I have received a chicken feeder tip from Anthony Marriott from Marriotts Smallholding to help stop your poultry from tipping up their feeder.

Anthony says, “We have found that chickens like to scratch their feeders as much as the grass etc.

To solve this problem just get a couple of galvanised tent pegs and push one in the ground each side of the feeder and clip them over the respective edge to stop the chickens from tipping them over and wasting the food, and making a mess.

This method also allows the pegs to be moved with the feeder, of course you can always use a hanging feeder but these are not always a viable option.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Age Of Maturity Of Male Birds

The age of maturity of male birds will differ between species of birds. The maturity refers to the age at which the males reach sexual maturity and will start breeding with their female partners.

Quail = about 60 days old.

Hen = about 6-8 months old.

Partridges = male grey partridges mature from about 10-12 months old.

Pheasants = about 6-7 months old.

Guinea fowl = about 8-10 months old.

Ducks = about 8 months old.

Turkeys = about 8 months old.

Geese = about 8 months old.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop to browse through our collection of books on sale.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

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Age Of Maturity Of Female Birds

The age of maturity of female birds will differ between species of birds. The maturity refers to the age at which the females reach sexual maturity and will start laying eggs and breeding with their male partners.

Quail = about 50 days old (I have observed that female Japanese quail will start to lay eggs from about 6-8 weeks old.)

Hen =  about 6-8 months old.

Partridges = female grey partridges mature from about 10-12 months old.

Pheasants = about 6-7 months old.

Guinea fowl = about 8-10 months old, however female guinea fowl can start to lay as early as from 16 weeks old.

Ducks = about 4 months old, generally domestic ducks will start to lay from 21 to 26 weeks of age. My khaki campbell ducks started to lay from about 20 weeks old.

Turkeys = about 7 months old.

Geese = about 7 months old.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop to browse through our collection of books on sale.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

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Male To Female Ratio For Keeping Different Varieties Of Poultry

Here is a rough guide to the male to female ratio for keeping different varieties of poultry together.

Quail = 1 male to every 3-4 females.

Hen = 1 males to every 6-10 females. (The Domestic Fowl Trust normally recommend 1 male to 6 females for breeding chickens.)

Partridges = 1 male to 1 female.

Pheasants = 1 male to every 6-7 females.

Guinea fowl = 1 male to every 2-3 females. Although best paired up.

Ducks = 1 male to every 4-6 females. (Debbie at South Yeo Farm normally puts 1 drake with min of 6 ducks and she says, “but some are more rampant than others!” I too have 1 drake to 6 ducks.)

Turkeys = 1 male to every 10 females.

Geese = 1 male to every 4 females.

If you would like a book on keeping any of the birds mentioned in this article then visit the farmingfriends book shop.

If you keep poultry, gamebirds or waterfowl or are thinking of keeping pouultry, gamebirds or waterfowl then join the free farmingfriends forum.

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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How to Keep Poultry Drinkers and Waterfowl Ponds From Freezing

With the recent Wintery weather in the UK and other countries suffering with snow, frosts and minus temperatures, there has been alot of debate about how to keep poultry drinkers and waterfowl ponds from freezing and keeping your poultry supplied with fresh water.

Looking for advice – we are in the north so we do get freezing temperatures. Obviously we can’t keep the wading pool open for our Khaki Campell’s and I am on my third solution for keeping them supplied with fresh water (I have 6 ducks) that doesn’t freeze. I would love to hear how others have solved this problem! Barbara


Here are some suggestions and solutions.

  • Take out buckets of hot water in the mornings and give them bowls/pools of lukewarm water. A washing up bowl or two would suffice for a while. They love the warmish water and take it in turns to bathe. We have been doing this twice a day during the very cold conditions. (Suggested by Sarah on the farmingfriends forum.)
  • Us a child’s old paddling pool or sandpit as an alternative to your pond,. If it freezes then you can tip hot water on top then smash and remove the ice. (Suggested by Mo on the farmingfriends forum.)
  • In some countries you can get special heaters (called a float heater) to place in the water, ponds and drinking troughs.
  • Keep a heat lamp above a metal drinker (the kind of heater used for chicks) and the water will not freeze. Please be aware of the fire risks with a heat lamp and make sure it is positioned high enough above so that any straw or wood (ie hut) doesn’t get hot and catch fire. (Suggested by Dorise on the farmingfriends forum.)
  • Use strong toughened plastic tubs that won’t crack when frozen or if you pour hot water onto them. (Suggested by Jonathan from the farmingfriends forum.) Jonathan suggests checking out your local feed-n-seed [Example:http://www.horseloverz.com/Rubber-Tub-Cr850---Black---15-Gallon-pr-307864.html].

Do you have any tips or solutions for keeping Poultry Drinkers and Waterfowl Ponds From Freezing, if so then let us know by leaving a comment or alternatively you can read and join the debate about this issue on the farmingfriends forum here http://farmingfriends.com/forums/topic.php?id=1356

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Double Yolked Eggs – Are Double Yolks On The Increase?

I have read that double yolked hen eggs are caused by two eggs separating from the birds ovary at the same time and joining into one egg!

I would like to know if double yolks are on the increase. I rarely get a double yolk duck, hen, guinea fowl or quail egg. Occasionally we have had a double yolked quail egg but I have never had a twin yolked guinea fowl egg.

I am posing the question about whether double yolkers are on the increase as I received an interesting email from Sarah yesterday.

“I have read today in national paper one womans shock at all 6 of her eggs being twin yolks and that the british egg forum states its rare and to find 1 in a box is 1000 – 1 chance. However, I would like to point out that the cheaper eggs that I have been buying from “well known supermarket” are nearly always twin yolks. Easily 6 twin yolks this week in the 10 I have used so far. Im sure if it was looked into this is more common than the experts think. What I would like to know is…how can this be happening so often. What are they doing to the chickens! Is this a case of more interference with nature with inevitably a knock on effect in the human diet? Sarah B”

Thought this was interesting so if you wish to enter the debate then please feel free to comment, would love to know what you think. You can either leave a comment here on the website or you can catch up with the debate on the farmingfriends forum.


What Causes Curled Toes In Poultry?

I have been asked what cause curled toes in poultry and waterfowl chicks.

Curled toes is when the chick, keet or duckling is born with toes or feet that are curled up.

This can be caused by a number of things:

  • Curled feet can be genetic and due to inbreeding. It’s only safe to breed ducks down by three generations, thne new stock needs to be introduced.
  • It can be due to poor nutrition and a vitamin (riboflavin) defiency in the breeding stock.
  • It can also be due to infra red light in the brooder.
  • Conditions in the incubator can also lead to problems – bacteria in the incubator can lead to hatching problems and if bacteria has gone through the shell then it can effect the keet, duckling or chick.

A useful book for a poultry, game and waterfowl keepers is the book Poultry & Waterfowl Problems By Michael Roberts.

If you keep poultry or are thinking of keeping poultry then join the free farmingfriends forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about poultry and poultry related issues.

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Tips If You Have Splayed Legged Chicks

I received a couple of tips if your chicks have splayed legs that I thought would be useful to share.

  • “Its my opinion from many years of hatching, that getting the splayed (spraddled) legged chick on 1/8 inch wire as soon as possible will correct most chicks with this defect. Keith”
  • “My wife has cured splayed legs in quail and chicken by tying the legs together with soft yarn. Like a pair of handcuffs a loop arond each leg just above the feet then joined in the middle. Tie the legs so they are parallel to each other.Not an easy task, but worth the effort.  We have had good results after only five days. The sooner you do this after the hatch the quicker the result. Trevor”
  • “Easiest thing to use is elastoplast. The normal finger ones with the lint in the centre are best. Just trim into thin strips and shorten a bit then apply between the hock and the feet. The centre lint is just the right length. You should only need to leave this on for a couple of days. Sallie” http://farmingfriends.com/splayed-legs-in-guinea-fowl-keets/
  • “If the method from poultryhelp.com is used to correct this problem using bandaids, rubber bands or pipe cleaners as a type of brace, the splayed legged chick should be quarantined to prevent other healthy chicks from pecking the brace. Keith”
  • “Always make sure new chicks have a non slip surface to stand on. Newspaper is too slippery. Towelling is ideal. Trevor” http://farmingfriends.com/litter-suitable-for-brooders/
  • “Splayed legs are typically caused by staying a little too long in the egg at hatching although other incubation problems can cause this to occur. Keith”

If you keep poultry or are interested in keeping poultry then visit the farmingfriends forum for the latest chat.

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Brooder Litter For Chicks, Ducklings and Keets

I have received this tip and advice about litter for a brooder.

“The safest, most comfortable ,most hygienic, most chick friendly and cheapest litter for a brooder is clean chopped straw. All you need is a small bale of straw and your lawnmower (with it’s collection bag on if possible). Lay straw on a clean,dry floor and just mow it with up .It could not be easier ,by the way store in a dry bag / place. One square bale of straw will give you and the chicks a lotta pleasure. If you do’nt have a mower, get out the scissors ( get help from a adult please), you will chop a lot of straw in 4/5 minutes. For easier and quicker cleaning of brooder etc ,lay a few sheets of newspaper or cardboard on the bare floor followed by about a half inch of your chopped straw, add some more straw to this every few days,making sure that the chicks feet are always clean.Just roll up and replace when as required. Also for the first 3 to 4 days the chicks are in the brooder place a long single strip of cardboard 6 inches high around the inside of the brooder,rounding the corners, it stops them bunching and smothering.”

Thanks Stephen for this tip.

A litter material is placed on the floor in the brooder to help insulate the floor for the birds comfort and to absorb moisture. Litter also helps control disease and can prevent splayed legs which chicks and keets can easily suffer from if the correct flooring is not provided.

Suitable litter materials include;

  • Wood shavings.
  • ground corncobs.
  • Sawdust.
  • Sugarcane.
  • Rice hulls.
  • Finely chopped straw.
  • Wheat straw.

Whichever litter material is chosen it must be clean, fresh, not mouldy and 2-8 inches or 5-20cms deep.

Unsuitable litter materials include;

  • Newspaper.
  • Paper.
  • Metal.
  • Plastic.
  • Lino.
  • Wood.
  • Ordinary cardboard.
  • Any slippery surface.

Cloth, carpet or corrugated cardboard may be used as a flooring in a small homemade brooder as these surfaces can provide traction for the keets to get a grip on and not slip.

I have successfully reared guinea fowl keets, ducklings and quail chicks on carpet and straw.

If you keep poultry or are interested in keeping poultry then visit the farmingfriends forum for the latest chat.

If you would like to receive regular information about poultry then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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