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Healthy Poultry

Regular checks of  your poultry is a must.  Birds will maintain and clean themselves, having a daily preen in the morning.  But it is down to you to check they are healthy and not suffering from any ailments.  Change in the comb, crop, eyes and droppings can all indicate health problems.Healthy poultry will be clearly shown by the following:

  • Shiny, alert and bright eyes
  • Intensely coloured red comb and wattles
  • Shiny, full and smooth plumage
  • Plump, firm body with  no flabbiness
  • Leg scales should be smooth and not lifting
  • Well formed and firm droppings
  • Vent should be moist, with no lumps or crustiness or bleeding
  • Free from ticks, mites and parasites
  • Curious and actively picking and scratching for feed

Your birds will moult on an annual basis, usually around the onset of shorter days / darker nights.  Other factors that may determine the time of moult are:

  • The time of year the bird was hatched
  • Individual type of bird / breed
  • Management stresses to which the bird is exposed

If they are healthy, the moult process should only take about 6 weeks, giving her plenty of time to fluff out and recover again, ready for lay at the begining of November.  If your birds take longer to recover and have a mediocre return to laying, this could be down to improper care during the moult, even before.  Hens that don't obtain the correct care at important stages in their lives can become backward and unable to withstand cold, wintery conditions.When birds start their moult, they will go out of production and its reproductive tract will shrink to the size of that of an immature pellet.