Feeding and aftercare of poultry
Introducing, Feeding and Caring your new Chickens
Transporting and Bird release
The transportation of birds will cause stress. As soon as you get home, remove your birds from their box and put them in the chicken house with the pop hole door closed. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes in the dark, then open the pop hole door. The birds will take some time to emerge, do not stress them more by tempting them with food etc, its best to walk away and watch from a distance. If you have existing birds – please read below.
POL Hybrids (16+ weeks) are fully vaccinated and can be mixed with existing flocks from 16 weeks of age onwards with little risk. Hybrids have been reared on layers mash/meal, if offered pellets first, they may not eat immediately so we advise feeding Hybrid starter feed (pellets and mash mixed fed dry). To wean them off mash and onto pellets, simply mix the two together and increase the proportion of pellets gradually. Hybrids should start laying at around 19-21 weeks of age (blue egg layers approximately 25 weeks).
- Pure Bred chickens are not vaccinated and must be kept separate from any other chickens for a minimum of 2 weeks as advised by DEFRA. After the 2 weeks quarantine period, you can integrate with other chickens of a similar age or when they are at least 18 weeks old.
- Chicks up to 6-10 weeks old – should be fed on chick crumb dry, simply fill a small feeder and don’t let it run out. Their housing and run (softchip shavings) area must be kept clean, eg smite disinfectant, and dry as much as possible to help prevent a severe coccidiosis infection developing and allowing them to develop natural immunity. Cider vinegar in their water once weekly will also assist their resistance. The addition of vitamins to their water also helps their vigour during the growing process.
- Chicks from 6-10 weeks to POL – can be fed Growers Pellets or chick crumb.
- Chickens from POL – should be fed on Layers or Breeders pellets or mash/meal.
- Birds over 10 weeks are guaranteed for 5 days, younger birds are not guaranteed.
- Bantams should start laying 20-30 weeks, large breeds 30-40 weeks between spring and autumn.
All birds can be given some mixed corn before bedtime to encourage them back into their coops/runs.
Worming and bird mites
We recommend worming your chickens every 6-12 months using 1% Ivermectin, this kills most worms, lice and chicken born mites. Ivermectin applied by drops direct on the skin, one 5ml bottle will treat approximately 40 Hybrid sized birds; (do not eat eggs for 2 weeks following treatment) apply at the rate of 1 drop per 0.5Kg of bird. We can supply this for £7.50 per bottle. If you don’t want to medicate your birds we can also offer Worm count test kits.
We recommend continued use of DE (Diatomaceous earth) in your coops to help prevent a red mite infestation. Should your coop get infested, we recommend Total Mite Kill by Net-Tex and RED STOP. If your birds start to look anaemic, start to refuse to go into their coop at night, or the egg laying rate reduces, this is the sign of a coop infestation.