Pet Corner - Fresh Eggs for Easter?

Keeping chickens is becoming increasingly popular among people wanting a greener lifestyle and hoping to become more self sufficient. Fifty years ago keeping a couple of chickens in the back garden was not uncommon and we are seeing a swathe of people going back to this in Warwickshire and enjoying their own fresh free range eggs. Chickens are fairly easy to keep and are full of character. Many become as friendly as cats and dogs.

Chickens are sociable birds and so should always be kept in flocks of at least two however it is not necessary to include a cockerel. They need access to grass and an area where they can dust-bathe as this helps them to keep their plumage in good condition.

Premixed chicken food in the form of pellets which include all the nutrients and minerals required to maintain a healthy bird can be purchased easily from pet and farm suppliers. Chickens should always have easy access to water. Care must taken when housing, as chickens are easy prey for foxes of which there is a growing number in our urban environments. There are many hen houses and arks on the market designed to be secure depending upon the number of birds you have, but it is just as important to ensure that your run is also well fox- proofed. It should be dug into the ground to prevent the hens scratching under it and foxes digging their way in. It is always advisable to close chickens into their hen house to roost as the sun goes down to protect them from predators.

It is important to remember that chickens need to be treated for regularly for worms, lice and red mite which is quite common and can be fatal to the birds. Your vet will be able to advise on the most appropriate type of treatment for your chickens and do let him or her know if you are keeping your chickens to lay eggs as this will affect their recommendation.

Kept properly chickens are hardy birds and usually need little medical attention, however make sure to check them all daily for changes in feather condition, and in comb colour. Chickens can be prone to lameness so a few minutes watching them will highlight any particular problems. If you handle your chickens regularly they will quickly get used to it and you will also notice any early signs of illness by unusual swelling in the abdomen, a loss of muscle around the breast bone and any apparent breathing difficulties. You can take your chickens to see your vet as you would any other pet, preferably in a secure basket. At Avonvale we have seen a 200 percent growth on the number of chickens being brought into our surgeries in the last couple of years and we have vets experienced in handling and treating them.

This article has been kindly written by Avondale Veternary Centres

> Return to articles

Articles Published during 2011
Article Name Author
> Cardalls Corner - April 2011 - Weddings in the News Robert Cardall
> Southam of Yesteryear - Looking Back - April 2011 Bill Griffin
> Pete's Piece - Down the Garden Path - April 2011 Farnborough Garden Centre
> Pet Corner - Fresh Eggs for Easter - March 2011 Avondale Veternary Centres
> Pete's Piece - Down the Garden Path - March 2011 Farnborough Garden Centre
> Pet Corner - Lost and Found Pets Avondale Veternary Centres
> Cardall's Corner - February 2011 - “Money Matters” Robert Cardall
> Southam of Yesteryear - February 2011 - Agatha Christie Bill Griffin
> Pete's Piece - Down the Garden Path - February 2011 Farnborough Garden Centre
> Pet Corner - Fresh Eggs for Easter? District Advertisers
> Pet Corner - Keeping Pets Safe in Winter Weather Avondale Veternary Centres
> Cardall's Corner - January 2011 - “Snow Business” Robert Cardall
> Pete's Piece - Down the Garden Path - January 2011 Farnborough Garden Centre
> Pet Corner - Keeping Pets Safe in Winter Weather Avondale Veternary Centres

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