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Latest Stock

Just hatched chicks

Latest Stock for sale

This post is here to show you at a glance what we have going on and what is the latest chicken availability for sale.

Hatching Commencing from now to September

The incubators are on and we are busy rearing chicks for the year.  Any chicks that are sold are either sold as sexed or unsexed. Some breeds are easier to tell than others. If we sell as sexed we offer a female guarantee. If they turn out to be boys they will be swapped or refunded.

Newly hatching chicks
Hatching day for chicks at Hedgerow Henporium

Breeds available this year

This year we are planning to have the following breeds available. Chicken availability will consequently change during the year due to popularity. We hatch most of these ourselves from hatching eggs which we breed from our own chickens. The Muirfield breeds are genuine stock which come from Scotland. Deliveries of these are available as chicks or even at point of lay.  Point of lay are usually only here by special order unless we have raised them from chicks ourselves. If you want point of lay Muirfield layers stock as a special order, we will need a deposit beforehand to secure them however these have been in very short supply this year. Please click here to ask us for details.

  • Araucana  – limited availability in blue, black, splash
  • Cochin  – very limited availability
  • Brahma – limited availability
  • Sussex – very limited currently but more will be hatched soon
  • Swedish Flower Hens – limited
  • Welsummer – SOLD OUT
  • Faverolles – SOLD OUT of hens but have plenty of cockerels
  • Marans – Copper Blue – SOLD OUT
  • Cream Legbar – 2 left
  • Black Rock Muirfield – SOLD OUT – awaiting further deliveries
  • Brown Rock Muirfield – SOLD OUT – awaiting further deliveries
  • Utility Sussex Muirfield – SOLD OUT – awaiting further deliveries
  • La Bresse Galoise trio – very limited 1 left (one male and 2 female)
  • La Bresse Galoise cross White Leghorn. SOLD OUT
  • White Leghorn – SOLD  OUT
  • Marsbars – Marans/Legbar cross. Olive/Green egger SOLD OUT
  • Hedgerow Homemades – currently Swedish or Sussex crosses
  • Orpington – unsexed at the moment in Lavender
  • Hatching eggs available in Swedish Flower Hens and Sussex crosses and Swedish crosses.

Chicken Maths = How many chickens?

Chickens ready for sale

Today I spent a good few hours rearranging all my pens to keep the age groups in one place. I have chickens all over the place so it was time to make it more organised.

Well after I caught them up, they ran off, so I caught them again. They didn’t like their new pen because it was obviously a scary place. So inconsiderate! Considering I spent ages digging in some lime to disinfect the area. It also rearranged my hair as I got it caught in the netting. Dragged through a hedge backwards is a recurring theme for me these days. They then made a bolt for the door every time I brought another 2 over. I don’t know about them, but I found it quite stressful. It certainly increased my step count for the day according to my fitness phone app so not all bad!!

When I finally finished I took a picture so I could see what I had and which colour mixes I had. This is not the only batch of chickens I have either so I might have to give myself a stern talking to.

These are now ready to go to their new homes. We have Brahma in Pyle, and Buff Columbian. We have some Orpingtons in Lavender and some Swedish Flower Hens Crossed with either Leghorn or Ancona.

That moment when you realise exactly how many chickens you have. Chicken maths – aka chicken addiction – is a real thing, especially here.

For the uninitiated, the term Chicken Maths relates to a Phenomenon (excuse) for why numbers of chickens get out of control. It starts off by getting a flock of 3, then because you cannot add a single chicken to an existing flock, you end up with 2 more. If you lose one and need to replace it, you end up with another 2 minimum. And so it goes.

 

Bantams – 8 reasons why we don’t keep them

What is a Bantam

First of all, a bantam is a size of chicken, not a breed. They are divided into true bantams, which includes Pekins, Sebrights, Serema, Dutch and Booted bantams amongst others. True bantams have no large fowl equivalent. Many large fowl have a bantam equivalent, these are roughly a quarter of the size of the large fowl version. There is a bantam version of Wyandotte, Brahma, Leghorn, Sussex, Rhode Islands, Faverolles, Welsummer, Araucana to name a few.

An interesting fact regarding the Pekin and the Cochin which causes some confusion when viewing Facebook groups which have many nationalities as members. A Cochin has no bantam equivalent, however chicken keepers in the USA call Pekins a Cochin. As ever, the Americans are often at odds with the way we name stuff.

8 Reasons why we don’t keep bantams

  1. They are a quarter of the size of a regular chicken and they might not mix well in a large fowl flock
  2. They can have a “Napoleon Complex” which can actually show aggressive tendencies much bigger than their size in a mixed size flock. Sometimes bantam sized chickens can suffer with bullying when in with the bigger girls.
  3. They are usually very broody. Broody hens can be aggressive with other hens and also their keepers. Broody hens won’t lay eggs.
  4. They have repeated attacks of broodiness throughout the year and its often difficult to get them over it. Broodies can die from malnutrition or dehydration in particularly warm periods. The broodiest by reputation are Silkies, Goldtops, Pekins and Wyandottes.
  5. Their eggs are too small for your average chuckyegg. They need very small dippy soldiers to fit. Bring on those proper sized eggs!!
  6. They are no more easy to handle than large fowl even for children.
  7. The numbers of eggs are poor because they have repeated bouts of broodiness.
  8. They are more at risk of danger when a cat is involved or larger birds of prey.

We only stock Large Fowl

Large fowl and very large fowl can be just as friendly and cuddly as bantams. The largest chickens are fluff balls which are easy and calm to handle. They are not prone to panic running about as some bantams are. There is nothing standard about a chicken however as they all reserve the right to be individual characters, just like us.

Red Mite season

What is Red Mite

Red Mite is undoubtedly the chicken pest which is absolutely the scourge of chicken keepers. This evil chicken pest has earned its fearsome reputation. Why? It will hide in the tiniest of teeny tiny crevices, cracks or grooves in your coop by day. By night it will come hunting for a blood meal and your chickens are top choice of menu items.

Red Mite are the size of a full stop so how can they cause harm?

Well, it’s all to do with a numbers game. Red Mite will go from egg to egg laying adult in 7 days especially once the weather starts to warm up. A population explosion of these virtually invisible little ninjas will cause blood loss and death due to anaemia. Not to mention the diseases they carry. They can go dormant without food for months on end, only to reappear with a vengeance once food is available and the temperature increases. This is why you can never be complacent with these horrible little creatures.

So What are the Signs of Red Mite infestation?

The first indication you may notice could be that the chickens themselves tell you.

  • They will stop wanting to go into their coop at night and eggs may be randomly deposited outside.
  • Any eggs that are laid in the nest boxes may have small specs on them.
  • A visit to the coop at night-time will mean that you feel a rather uncomfortable creepy crawling sensation which seems to be caused by an invisible assailant.
  • Your chickens combs may become pale and they may look under the weather. Egg production will suffer – doesn’t it always – due to the stress it causes the ladies.
  • Little white flecks will be seen in and around obstacles. Red Mite discarded skeletons that they have grown out of.
  • Anaemia is a very real threat to their well-being and they can easily die.
  • You may spot piles of grey dust which will move in places like ledges and where perches attach.
  • Check round screws and nuts and bolts for small red dots as red mite cluster in these area most visibly. Open wood grain can also harbour sleeping red mite.

What can you do about Red Mite?

The Red Mite don’t live on the hens so treating the coop during day is not the best option as they are hiding inside crevices. Treating the hens themselves is also likely to be ineffective as an Ivermectin type treatment will require that the hens get bitten in order for the treatment to kill. Putting stuff in the water is also of very limited use as again the birds need to be bitten to treat.

Red Mite treatments need to be very proactive and aggressive to win this very serious war. Prevention is most definitely the best course.

The best treatments for Red Mite are nasty.  There is also an inconvenience factor that you can’t treat and put the chickens anywhere near it for about a week after.

Good Solutions

The top product for wooden coops is undoubtedly Creosote. The nasty cancer causing, banned for household use kind. You can get this online. Tame Creocote or Creoseal will not cut the mustard so don’t waste your time or money on this.  Creosote is usually applied yearly but the downside is that it will need to de-stink before you can let your hens have access to the coop again.

Next on the war list is Perbio-Choc or Ficam W. Both are residual and will give you protection for approximately 3 months. They are also nasty chemicals in their own right that do require hazmat style protection. Definitely eye, breathing, skin protection for these nasties. Also a de-stink period is needed of about a week. We use Perbio-Choc combined with a smoke bomb beforehand.

We have never used Ficam W but it is usually widely recommended by professional breeders.  Dergall is the new wonder treatment which claims to put a sort of sticky web that traps the mites and kills them. I am trialling a product which is cheaper than Dergall. It is called Mite Max which claims to do the same thing as Dergall.  I will let you know how that goes.

Questionable Solutions

Anecdotal evidence on Facebook forums say that Dettol pure and power, Jeyes fluid, Smite, blow torch, steam cleaning, jet washing, lime washing, diesel mixed with engine oil, siliconing, glossing etc have been used. One thing is for sure, desperate people clutch at all these straws with varying degrees of success or repeated dismal failures. Many “treatments” result in spectacular coop bonfires as a kill all or cure all solution.

When to treat

The best time to treat is night when this chicken pest is most active. Hens cannot obviously be in attendance. This will give your neighbours much amusement I am sure.

What most people don’t realise is that one treatment is rarely enough. You need to catch the hatching eggs also before they turn into adults themselves. Treatment has to be done at least every other day so watching the soaps or the football is not an option. Postponing the job is going to give you a bigger headache if you delay it. If you let the eggs hatch then you will be wasting your time and money. The Red Mite will win and your hens will be the losers. I cannot over-emphasise this.

Preventatives

At every clean you can give the wooden coop a good spraying with Poultry Shield followed by a dusting with diatom (mite killing diatomaceous earth). It has to say that it kills red mite otherwise it won’t. The laws have changed on how you can describe cheap ebay diatom (DE). The cheap stuff is not the good stuff. This should keep the coop fairly or completely free of mites. If you get complacent or lazy they will quite literally bite you on the bum. Smite is also supposed to be a good preventative. It’s is not a disinfectant though like Poultry Shield is.

Plastic coops are not immune

A lot of plastic coops have double skins which are a perfect unseen haven for the red mite. They do not have as many crevices as a wooden coop though and are easier to remove red mite from if you find them. Pressure washing is NOT a good way to deal with Red Mite. This will just blow them away but they will return. It wont kill them. The Poultry Shield and Diatom regime is great for plastic coops also unless you have an active infestation.

Monitoring

In time honoured Blue Peter style. If you take a used cardboard tube from the toilet roll and use this as a holder for a rolled up sheet of corrugated cardboard. Think of it as a serviette/napkin holder jobby. Place this somewhere in your coop such as attached to the underside of a perch. Periodically, unroll the cardboard and inspect it for this chicken pest. If you see a grey dust which will move when placed on your hand or red specks which are Red Mites which have recently fed within your “trap” you will need to treat your coop as a matter of urgency.

WARNING

This chicken pest can hitch a ride into your house so observe care you don’t introduce it to your sofa or bed as that would be a whole new world of pain.

Broody Hen

Broody chicken

Broody Hen – a blessing or a curse?

Broody hen season is upon us. This is where your chickens sit and sit and sit and sit. Even when you lift the hen out of her nest she remains in a sitting position like she has lost the use of her legs.

I have been waiting for any of my girls to go broody because the easiest way to care for eggs and then chicks is to get a mother hen to do it for you. It’s the lazy persons way, but the best and most natural way to raise chicks.

How do you know your hen is broody?

She will be making a noise that sounds like “clock” “clock” “clock. She will be flattened in the nest box. You may get pecked when you try to remove her as broodies can get rather moody and irritable. Every time you look for her she will still be there in residence.  When she moves around she will look and sound angry to the other hens and they will most likely attack her for her insolence if she is far enough down the pecking order.

What can you do to stop her being broody

Either you want her to hatch eggs, in which case add some fertile eggs under her. This is best done at night if she is a bit cantankerous. Or you will need to “break” her out of her broody phase.

Contrary to popular belief, broodies are not hot. Their body temperature is normally a little higher than our own. An egg needs incubating at 37.5C which is cooler than a hens normal temperature. Eggs overheat at the normal chicken temp so it would be a fair assumption that a broody is actually cooler than a normal hen. She will pluck her breast feathers so that she has less insulation.

To break her you will need to keep her in a cage such as a dog cage with a wire bottom. This is to make her uncomfortable and unable to nest. Put food and water in her cage as she will need to be kept in there day and night for at least 2 days. It is important she is safe from predators and the weather. Test her after 2 days. If she returns to her nest, add another day in the “broody gaol” until she is no longer wanting to sit.

You can also prevent her from getting anywhere she can make a nest by locking her out. Your other hens will need access to the nests however. She can go back in with the others overnight if you wish but turf her out each day until she gives up. Cage will take 2-4 days, lockout will take about the same.

Why do I need to break her

Broodies that do not have a job to do will only eat and drink once a day. They will lose condition if allowed to sit indefinitely. Some breeds can literally broody themselves to death. Either let her hatch or break her. She may have repeated episodes of broodiness if she is particularly prone to it. Silkies, Pekins, Wyandottes, Sussexes, Orpingtons are some of the most broody breeds.  If you are unhappy feeling cruel to be kind, then it is a good idea to avoid getting any of the above breeds.

 

 

New Delivery of Black Rocks

We are expecting a delivery of Black Rock hens and Brown Rock hens direct from the Muirfield hatchery week commencing 22nd June 2018. We will be getting several at point of lay (POL) and loads of cute fluffy day old female chicks.

Get in touch via our contact page if you would like to reserve any

How to keep your chickens warm this winter

Keeping chickens warm from the beast from the East is on everyone’s lips at the moment.  So what problems does this cause for chicken keepers? How do you keep chickens warm in the winter? The quick answer is that chickens are covered in their own feather duvets.  They are well able to keep themselves warm without any additional aids or methods.

Frostbite in below freezing temperatures may be an issue for hens or cockerels with large combs on their heads. As chickens remove the warm blood from their combs as the temperature plummets. This causes the comb to become cooler and vulnerable to frostbite. A slick of Vaseline over the fleshy parts will assist in keeping the comb protected. Keeping the coop ventilated will also help to keep it condensation free. It is the condensation which freezes and makes the combs succumb to ice crystals generated by the condensation. You will be helping in keeping chickens warm by making sure they stay dry also.

Chickens naturally cover their tootsies by lowering their feathers as they crouch down to roost overnight. This and tucking their heads under their wings help them keep their extremities warm and toasty. The picture above from a thermal imaging camera shows where the most heat loss is for chickens. Their heads and feet are showing up brighter. Their bodies are not losing much heat at all due their feathery coverage.

The most pressing issue for chickens in this weather is to keep their water free from ice so they can actually drink. Check on their water during the day to make sure. A heat plate or heated wire introduced into the drinker can assist in regions particularly affected by the cold wintery breath of the “beast”.

A chickens’ metabolism is active all night, so you can add a handful of  mixed corn to their diet late afternoon before bedtime. This heats them up from the inside as they digest it while they roost. It is tempting to give them warm porridge or any other warm human food, however, oats has the effect of cooling them down as it happens so is counter productive.

First chicks of the season

I have uploaded a video of some of our first chicks for the 2018 season. Female only guaranteed. Price is £7 each at day old however the price increases by £1 per week to take account of feed and cleaning costs. They are beautiful and sooo cute. We include full instructions with every sale and support via email or telephone whenever you need it.

We have 10 different kinds; all female. They are top quality commercial quality hybrids. Eggs are a-plenty with these girls. They make ideal pets or allotment birds. Contact us for details.

What is a Hybrid

Hybrid chicks are produced normally to go into the egg trade as they are very reliable layers. They are created by specific hatcheries to a secret recipe using specially selected strains of parent stock. This way the egg producers can get the most eggs out of one bird. This is not something we necessarily agree with on many levels but in a home or allotment setting where they are loved and cared for as part of the family, they can live very happy lives.

Many places sell hybrids that are raised by the barnfull in their thousands. This gives little opportunity to have any meaningful human contact. They pile them high and sell them cheap. We buy the birds in at day old and raise them at home. They get lots of time to interact with people and are confident and non-skittish by the time they are sold.

A hybrid crossed with a hybrid won’t produce the same bird as its offspring.  A pure breed mated to the same pure breed will result in another copy of the parents. This means they breed true. Hybrids don’t breed true but pure breeds do breed true.  A crossbreed (as in our Hedgerow Homemades) are random pairings which also do not breed true, but don’t produce any prescribed results as in the meticulously designed hybrids. Crossbreeds are therefore happy accidents and the colours and characteristics you get are quite an addiction as you never know what you are going to get.

Our current hybrid stock

Bird Flu detected Warwickshire Jan 2018

As we suspected Bird Flu has reached our shores again this year from the migrating birds from Europe and beyond. As a consequence the whole of England (not currently Scotland, Wales or Ireland) has been placed in a National Avian Influenza Prevention Zone until further notice. This does not prevent movement or sales of birds, only that you must comply with the details below. Where there is an outbreak there is a no-movement rule. No birds in or out. We are not restricted on movement yet. There is a very stiff fine/imprisonment for those found to be not sticking to the rules.

Yes it does include you

Let us be very clear, at the risk of sounding authoritarian. This is mandatory, you cannot let your birds into any areas where wild birds or vermin could have been. Disinfect everywhere. Cover your runs, cover your feeders and drinkers. If you cannot cover then you should use netting to exclude any other creatures that can carry contamination. If your birds get infected, then they will be culled along with any others in the vicinity. That’s if they are not dead already. Bird flu kills quickly. Protecting your birds is also protecting others too. Its the responsible thing to do also. The official notification is below:-

Bird Flu Detected Warwickshire in Wild Birds

Highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu has been detected in wild birds in Warwickshire.

This is the second confirmed finding of the virus in the UK this winter, following the finding in Dorset earlier this month (January 2018). Tests have shown both cases are closely related to the H6N6 strain circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months.

This is different to the H5N6 strain which affected people in China last year and Public Health England have advised the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency have also offered reassurance that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

A National Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared for the whole of England.

This means it is mandatory for all captive bird keepers in England to put enhanced biosecurity measures in place. Further information can be found on GOV.UK. This Zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.

It is vital that anyone who keeps birds, whether a few in a back garden or thousands on a commercial unit is vigilant. All poultry keepers should:

  • minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures
  • clean footwear before and after visiting birds, using a Government approved disinfectant at entrances and exits
  • clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment that have come into contact with poultry
  • keep areas where birds live clean and tidy, and regularly disinfect hard surfaces such as paths and walkways
  • humanely control rats and mice
  • place birds’ food and water in fully enclosed areas protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly
  • keep birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around outdoor areas they access
  • keep a close watch on birds for any signs of disease and report any very sick birds or unexplained deaths to your vet

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 0345 933 5577 and bird keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 0300 020 0301.

In Scotland, you should contact your local APHA office.

Further avian influenza advice, including how to spot the disease, is available:-

For information about how APHA uses personal information, see https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/animal-and-plant-health-agency/about/personal-information-charter

The message send was initiated by Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA. Contact apha.corporatecommunications@gmail.com for more information.

Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) latest 2018 from APHA

Official Notification from Animal and Plant Health Agency

Bird flu detected in wild birds in Dorset 12th January 2018

Highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu has been detected in wild birds in Dorset.

It is the first confirmed case of the virus in the UK this winter in 2018, and tests show that it is closely related to the H5N6 strain. In recent months this strain has been circulating in wild birds across Europe. It is however, different to the H5N6 strain that affected people in China last year so Public Health England are advising that the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency are also offering reassurance that bird flu will not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

What has the Government done in response

A local ‘avian influenza prevention zone’ has been declared in the area of south Dorset where the diseased birds were found. This means it is mandatory for all captive bird keepers in this Zone to put enhanced biosecurity measures in place.  Further information can be found on GOV.UK.  This Zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.

Bird flu biosecurity recommendations

It is vital that anyone who keeps birds stays vigilant. It affects us whether we keep a few in a back garden or thousands on a commercial unit. This is mandatory for all of us.

Government advice is that ALL poultry keepers should:

  • minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures
  • clean footwear before and after visiting birds, using a Defra approved disinfectant at entrances and exits
  • clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment that have come into contact with poultry
  • keep areas where birds live clean and tidy, and regularly disinfect hard surfaces such as paths and walkways
  • humanely control rats and mice
  • place birds’ food and water in fully enclosed areas protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly
  • keep birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around outdoor areas they access
  • keep a close watch on birds for any signs of disease and report any very sick birds or unexplained deaths to your vet

How to contact APHA

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and bird keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

In Scotland, you should contact your local APHA office

Further avian influenza advice, including how to spot the disease, is available on the Defra website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu, in Scotland at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/Diseases/disease; and in Wales at http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/ahw/disease/avianflu/?lang=en

Further Government Information here

Hedgerow Henporium highly recommends that you sign up on this website to get a text message when the latest news is out. There is no charge for this service. If there is a more local infection we may have to keep our birds under lockdown. It is safer for us all and our birds if we take action now. Last year the government mandated we all keep our birds under cover or under nets completely away from any interaction with wild birds, vermin or their droppings.  You would be well advised to make preparations just in case this happens again this year.

The government use a Prevention Zone which is in the immediate vicinity of the latest cases. Outside of this zone is a surveillance zone. Severe movement restrictions would be in place in that situation. No birds in or out etc. Places outside of the Prevention or Surveillance zones are then called protection zones. Last year the rest of the country was placed in this zone.

Interactive Map of the current situation

An interactive map is also here to show you where there are restrictions are in place at the moment Interactive map click here

Sign up now for the free alerts service

You can sign up for the alerts service where they send you a text message with the latest news so you know when you are clear or otherwise. It is very useful service. All you need to do is give an email address or a mobile number for a text message alert.
Sign up here it only takes a minute.