Advice and ‘Guarantee Terms’ for 12-18 week-old pullets
Our pullets are carefully reared from hatching eggs produced from ‘clean’ breeding flocks resulting in strong vigorous stock, which should grow into healthy and productive hens, therefore, we are happy to offer three months’ guarantee with the birds. We supply a large number each year, throughout the UK and abroad and claims on our Guarantee are unusual. These are usually due to management issues, like poor ventilation in housing, parasites, shortage of outside space, over stocking, mixing of ages, feeding issues, or boredom. Hens which are stress free, with enough outside space and able to enjoy normal behaviours are more likely to remain healthy for many years and produce good quality eggs. Poultry keepers should bear in mind that the chicken is a jungle bird and many of their behavioural needs have changed little over the past ten thousand years. With this in mind, the challenge is to provide the best environment to encourage natural behaviour.
The points below are only a basic guide to avoid some common problems, and we are happy to help, as your primary information source, with any questions on the management of the birds before and after the sale. If in doubt, contact us before behavioural or health problems become established:
- The hen house should be vermin proof, fox proof and well ventilated.
- The house should be positioned within a fox proof area to keep foxes well clear of the house at night.
- A strict vermin control regime should be in place.
- Fresh water should be provided in a drinker of more than a day’s capacity.
- Feed should be available at all times in a tube or treadle feeder.
- Feed plain or natural growers’ pellets for up to 18 weeks of age. These should be free from Coccidiostats (ACS free) because our birds are vaccinated with Paracox 8, for Coccidiosis at day old. Recommended grower pellets brands are Marriages, Smallholder/Allen & Page, Dodson & Horrell.
- Large size plain hen flint, in a separate container should be available up to 20 weeks of age. Chick and Grower size grit should not be given beyond 12 weeks of age because it is too small and passes through the digestive system. Jondo Hen Flint. 20Kg bags are the most economical buy and can be mixed with Jondo Oyster shell at 20 weeks.
- Worm with Flubenvet soon after twenty weeks of age, then treat at least three times a year. Flubenvet is available ready mixed in Heygates and Marriages Layer pellets, in 5 and 10kg bags. Do not store as the shelf life is limited. Do not confuse Flubenvet with Vermex.
- At 18-20 weeks feed good quality 18% protein poultry layers These should be available throughout the day, in a tube type or similar feeder. Intermittent feeding morning and evening is not good practice because the feed intake of less dominant birds in the flock will be reduced.
- At 18 weeks Jondo Mixed Poultry Grit (flint + oyster shell) should be available at all times. The calcium supplied in layers feed is not sufficient for breeds producing thick shells.
- 10 days after arrival of the birds, introduce a handful of mixed corn per bird, per day, in the late afternoon. Do not over-feed mixed corn, because it is a poor-quality low protein, fattening feed which does not provide a balanced diet, and it may reduce egg production and cause health problems.
- Healthy treats in the form of insects, sardines, tuna, sweetcorn, whole cabbage, and kale, can be given from the start. Don’t chop greens.
- Twice weekly give a high-grade multi-vitamin/mineral supplement (g., AviVit Tonic) in the water – particularly important during sudden changes in weather, at start of lay, or any other time of stress. In hot weather, (AviVit Electro Plus B electrolytes) should be added to the water – daily to maintain egg production and prevent dehydration and heat stress.
- Allow access to fresh grass & green food each day. Never feed cut grass or chopped greens, as this can cause compacted crop or gizzard, leading to a permanently extended crop, crop infections or starvation and death.
- Always keep at least two hens of the same ages and breed/strain for companionship.
- Treat the house for red-mite weekly, inside and out, from April to November and monthly from December to March, with AviVit Pure, Fresh Water Sourced, Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth using the AviVit Powder Applicator. This can be backed up during severe challenges with a wet treatment, using Antec HD3 heavy duty detergent, applied with a knapsack or garden sprayer. The average house for 6-10 birds, requires about 8 litres of liquid treatment for a thorough drenching. If not treated as a precaution, all hen houses become infested with red mite after the first year (plastic houses to a lesser extent). This causes anaemia, loss of condition, ill health, and early or sudden death, often in the autumn. We are happy to give advice on mite treatment, which is a common cause of health problems in poultry. All products are available on AviVit.uk