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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Hen’s Sneezing

Sneezing hens may have an upper respiratory problem and there can be discharge from the nose with this.

Hens are prone to respiratory problems.

There can be a number of causes:

  • poor ventillation (droppings give off ammonia),
  • sawdust (larger wood shavings sold in pet shops usually has the ‘dust’ extracted to prevent these problems),
  • straw may carry dust in it.
  • viruses – such as infectious bronchitis, pneumovirus, aspergilliosis, mycoplasma, infectious laryngotracheitis, Avian Influenza, Fowl pest / Newcastle disease, Coryza to name some.

All of these conditions show very similar symptoms which makes it difficult to know which it is, so the more symptoms you can describe or notice the more able to pick out what it might be.

My advice is to consult a vet, you may be able to phone your vet and ask for advice over the phone, without taking your hen in?

Here are some questions to conside if you hen is sneezing:

  • Are they off their water or are they drinking more?
  • When you pick them up do they feel thin?
  • How are they standing, are their wings droopy?
  • Is the area around their eyes puffed up?
  • What are their droppings like, what colour and consistency?
  • Does the hen’s breathing rattle?
  • Are they laying eggs? If so are the eggs ok, or are they thin shelled, mis-shapen etc

Answers to these questions can help to identify what might be wrong as sneezing could be related to a number of illnesses.

One of our farmingfriends forum members recently posted about her poorly hen and was seeking advice on what might be the matter. She let us know as much information as possible about her hen by answering a set of questions, which I thought was very useful.
I thought that these were useful questions to consider if you have a poorly hen and you are seeking advice.

What age is your hen? What breed if known and what gender?

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? – As much detail as possible please.

Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling

Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying

Change’s in The Hen’s Condition?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering

Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness

Agility Changes? – eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels

Have you wormed your hen? Do you have a cycle that you use for worming eg. every 3 months, or every six months?

1. When was the bird last wormed??- approximate date.

2. What product was used to worm the bird, and how was it given? ? eg. in the drinking water, on the skin, by injection?

3. Was a follow up dose given? (eg. 10-14 days later)

Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc

Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather, predators, vermin, etc

If you have any photos of your poorly hen then they can also help others to suggest what might be the matter, but a phone call to your local vet is always helpful.

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

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

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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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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.

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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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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.

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

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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.

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

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Foxes Spotted Near Farm

This morning my husband and I spotted 2 foxes in the field opposite our farm. It was about 8am when we saw them. The foxes seemed to be following each other. The lead fox didn’t seem to want the other fox to follow. After about 5 minutes the fox that had been following retreated behind a tree in the field and wasn’t seen again.

The other fox made it’s way across the field to the ditch and then weaved in and out of the overgrown weeds and grasses in the ditch verge until it reached the hedgrerow that borders our lane. At that point I left my viewing point and went outside to see if I could see the fox. Armed with camera I found no sign of the fox.

I am sure that the fox was heading straight for the poultry hut. Fortunately I hadn’t got the poultry out and I decided to keep them in their hut for the day. Usually if I have to keep them in due to weather or other commitents that means I wouldn’t be back to put them away safely then I open the outer door to the hut as I have put up an inner door in the Summer so that even when the poultry are kept inside for the day they get some fresh air and natural light. However today I daren’t open the outer door as the inner door is not very strong and a hungry fox would probably be able to get into the hut, especially with the incentive of 7 ducks, 23 guinea fowl and 5 hens in the poultry hut. The  poultry were not impressed that they couldn’t come out and when I opened the door the ducks and hens wanted to come out, but at least they were saved from being a foxes dinner.

I will have to see tomorrow if I can see the foxes in the field, before I make a decision about letting the poultry out or not.

Do you have any stories about foxes threatening your poultry?

If you keep poultry then visit the farmingfriends forum for the latest chat.

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Snow Stops Play, Poultry Play!

Late this morning it started to snow and the snow began to settle pretty quickly. My poultry were out free ranging and I knew that my guinea fowl would not like snow and would eventually fly up into the trees to roost so that they didn’t have to walk in thick snow. So I dashed out to round up the flocks of guinea fowl, hens and ducks. Half the guinea fowl were sheltering in the heifer barn with alot of the hens and the ducks were in the veg garden hunting for snails! I managed to herd this group to the hut which went well, although once in the hut the ducks wanted out again. Hatty was sitting on the edge of the trough in the heifer barn and she let me lift her off and carry her all the way to the hut. I love it when the animals allow you to get close to them – a wonderful feeling to know that they trust you.

Then I had to do a head count. There were 4 hens and 14 guinea fowl missing. I could hear the guinea fowl and they were in the feeding passage of the fold yard but they didn’t want to step onto the snow so I slowly drove them towards the hut. The hens were in another barn and they were herded up easily with the guinea fowl gang and off we all went to the hut.

I thought that the snow would stop this afternoon but it has continued till early evening. I wonder wether it will snow in the night . The poultry will be hoping that it doesn’t as they won’t want the snow to stop play, poultry play again tomorrow.


Chicken Penpal

Chicken Penpal

Chicken Penpal

Farming Friends Chicken Penpal is a penpal scheme that enables the penpal recipient to learn about chickens in an interesting way.

At a cost of only £12 the Farming Friends Chicken Penpal will receive;

  • An introductory letter from the chicken penpal.
  • A photograph of the chicken penpal.
  • A birthday card from the chicken penpal.
  • A Christmas card from the chicken penpal.
Hatty Hen Greetings Card

Hatty Hen Greetings Card

 

Buy the Farming Friends Chicken Penpal for yourself or as a gift for a friend, family member, a child, a group or class of children. This is an ideal gift for a child or group of children as it not only enables the children to learn about chickens and life on a farm but it can also help the children to develop their reading and letter writing skills if they want to write back to their chicken penpal. The chicken penpal will of course find time to send a reply.

This gift will provide the recipient penpal with;

  • Facts about chickens – what type of animal they are, what breed they are, what they eat and what they produce.
  • An insight into farming life.
  • A link between food and farming.
  • Personal information about the chicken.

Buy now for only £12.

When purchasing this gift please fill out the contact form below with the following information.

  • Name of penpal recipient.
  • Address of penpal recipient.
  • Age of penpal recipient if appropriate.
  • Date of birthday of penpal recipient.
  • Date when you would like the introductory letter if different from birthday.
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