Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Poultry keepers advised to be vigilant for any signs of avian flu

On 6 December 2016 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone to help protect poultry from a highly pathogenic strain of avian flu present in Europe. The zone covers the whole of England and will remain in place for 30 days (until 6 January).  (The Scottish and Welsh governments have also ordered that all poultry and captive birds must be kept indoors).

The zone requires the immediate and compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks, or where this is not practical, their complete separation from contact with wild birds. For farmed geese, game birds and other captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep these birds separate from wild birds.
The avian flu disease can spread from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces. The main risk of infection is likely to come from wild birds.  DEFRA’s prevention zone is a precautionary measure. DON’T PANIC!  We have created a simple checklist to help answer your most common avian flu concerns:- 

1. Keepers are advised to keep poultry inside.

The advice to keep birds ‘inside’ can mean just keeping your birds confined to their run. If you don’t have a run, you could construct a temporary one from old pallets or similar. The main concern is to ensure that wild birds cannot access the run, so any holes in the fence or wire need to be small. 

If you have a garage or shed that the birds can set up a temporary home in, then this is another favoured temporary housing option. The current restriction is in place for 30 days but it may well be extended.  If you would like to purchase a run, we have many sizes and styles to suit a range of budgets and house styles, most of which are in stock.

2. I already have a run but my birds are not ‘inside’

The best way to prevent droppings from wild birds that might have been exposed to avian flu would be to cover your existing run to essentially create a ‘roof’.  The simplest and most cost effective solution is to use a tarpaulin.  Our large PVC Rainshades with bungee fixings are ideal for this.  A more permanent solution could be to cover the roof with polycarbonate sheets or other lightweight roofing materials.

A tarpaulin is cost effective way to protect your birds

3. What if I have to confine my birds to their house?

The current avian flu restriction applies to all poultry and captive birds, yet for some it just not practical to create a run or move birds to an indoor enclosure.  In this instance, birds will need to be confined to their houses or coops.  More frequent cleaning will help to keep the birds clean and the addition of products such as BioDri Sanitising Powder will help alleviate the build up of moisture created by condensation of having birds in a confined space.

Bored birds can begin to get restless and bully each other, to help with this we would recommend items to act as a distraction, such as the boredom buster®  or perhaps a few playful items such as cardboard tubes, or empty plastic bottles. 

Feeders and Drinkers need to be kept inside, away from contamination, hanging feeders may be an easy option helping to keep the bedding dry and minimise the amount of spilt food in such a confined area.

4. The most effective disinfectant

There are many disinfectants on the market.  Our best advice is to use one that is licensed by DEFRA for Avian FluBi-OO-Cyst and VirKon S Disinfectant are the products that we would recommend using as these can be used for cleaning the house, feeders and drinkers and for creating a simple foot bath.

A foot bath can be anything from washing up bowl to a tub trug, filled with water and disinfectant that can be walked through by all of the family on entering the poultry area.  The Virkon S Disinfectant liquid is probably the most cost effective product as once made up, it can be reused.  Protective and disposable gloves and masks are a practical consideration when handling and cleaning your birds.

In summary; no free ranging | prevent access by wild birds and their droppings | cover your runs | bring feeders and drinkers inside | more frequent cleaning | foot bath before entering | boredom busters |  no movement of livestock | keep vigilant.

Symptoms of Avian Flu and further guidance can be found here.

If you have any concerns about the health of your poultry, seek prompt advice from your vet.

For poultry supplies delivered to your door visit our Flyte So Fancy website here We are doing our very best to stock everything you need to keep your flock happy and healthy until this risk has passed.  If you need guidance about which products to choose, please do give us a call on 01300 345229.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Preparing Your Poultry Pen for Winter

On Monday it rained. It rained for somewhere close to six hours continuously and by the time it finished our Brahma cockerel (who had refused to go undercover the entire time) looked bedraggled, soggy and unhappy.

After a surprisingly dry September and October, it looks like a Autumn might be finally rearing its sleepy head. The clocks are changing next weekend, the days are a little colder and the clouds look like rain. The perfect time of year to get ahead of the weather and make sure your poultry run is ship shape and ready for anything November can throw at it.
Flyte so Fancy Hardwood Woodchip
Hardwood Woodchip for Poultry Runs
Hardwood Woodchip

The best surface for any chicken run, Flyte so Fancy Hardwood Woodchip, is a sustainable, eco-friendly covering for the floor to your chicken run, to prevent your hens squelching through mud. Containing only hardwoods (no softwoods or bark used as they will quickly mulch), the woodchip sits on top of the mud, creating a sanitary and hygienic run.

Washed clean with the rain (or the garden hose) the hardwood woodchip in your run, with the correct care, should only need changing once a year. See our previous blog on How to get the most out of your Hardwood Woodchip for more detail on the best surface for your poultry run. . 

RainShades for Poultry Runs

Perfect for keeping the rain off your chickens backs, these large removable PVC rainshades for poultry runs, simply clip on to wire of your run. The rainshade will provide a dry area within the run, shedding the water to either side. Or if the sun is shining (unlikely as that may be) will provide a shaded and cool spot for your hens.

Measuring approximately 3ft by 6ft, these easy to use and movable rainshades makes keeping your hens dry during wet weather incredibly easy to do. Dry hens are happy hens.

Hen House Deep Clean

Shorter days and longer nights, mean your hens are going to be spending more time inside their hen house, so before true winter descends, now is the ideal time to give the inside of your hen house a thorough deep clean. Viratec-P Poultry Disinfectant cleans and disinfects in one application. UK DEFRA approved against all notable poultry diseases, it is highly effective against hundreds of strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Perfect for a pre-winter deep clean in your hen house, Viratec-P Poultry Disinfectant, is safe for man and animals alike, keeping your hen house hygienic and healthy for your hens through the long winter months.

Rainshades for Poultry Runs
If you have any questions regarding preparing for winter with your chickens, or your own top tip, leave a comment below, or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the Flyte so Fancy team.

Thanks for Reading

Friday, 7 October 2016

Wheely Good Hen Houses - Mobile Chicken Coops for the Garden

My hens live in their Annie's Coop in the corner of my garden. A garden of which they have full reign and regularly abuse my flower beds, which have never been the same. However there are plenty of chicken owners with plenty of space to keep their hens and who are looking for a mobile chicken coop that they can move around the garden.

Flyte so Fancy have three hen houses on wheels, each uniquely designed to provide movable hen houses for large gardens, orchards and paddocks. 

Dorset Stroller

Not just the nickname of our ambling local gardener, but also the first of our mobile chicken coops, the Dorset Stroller. Designed with its wheels at one end and built in handles at the other, when you are ready to move it to fresh ground, it lifts like a wheelbarrow. Easily moved by just one person, the Dorset Stroller is designed to house 8 birds comfortably and has an external nestbox too.

Dorset Stroller Chicken Coop
Dorset Stroller Hen House
As well as its removable dirt tray and perches, a sliding lift out roof panel gives complete top down access into the coop, making cleaning this hen house quick and simple. With its easy ability to be moved by one person, this hen house is ideally sized for those keeping a flock of hens in a larger garden.  

Dorset Ranger

A highly mobile coop with a difference, the Dorset Ranger comes with an in-built run, to provide both a movable coop with the safety from predators of a fixed run. With its wheels fixed at the back of the house, a clever counter-balance system allows for the hen house to be lifted from the opposite end the run and be wheeled to pastures new

Flyte so Fancy Dorset Ranger
Dorset Ranger 10 Hen House
An external nestbox provides plenty of room in the coop and the Dorset Ranger comes in two sizes for flocks of either 6 or 10. The clever sliding roof allows complete access into the coop, making cleaning incredibly simple. The integral run is made from inch by half inch galvanised weldmesh stapled onto thick timber framing. The Dorset Ranger is ideal for people looking to move a flock of hens to fresh grass around their garden, while keeping them enclosed and not necessary giving them full reign of the flower beds. 

Handy 15

For those with a large flock of hens looking for a mobile hen house, the Handy 15 Hen House is just what they need. With wheels located at one end and in built handles at the other, it is a case of lifting the hen house and wheeling it to a fresh patch of grass for your hens. 

With an external nestbox and a removable ply resin roof, access into this spacious coop is easy, and the large front door makes cleaning a cinch. This is a large coop and can be moved by one person, meaning you move the hen house around your garden or paddock with relative ease. 

Handy 15 Hen House by Flyte so Fancy
Handy 15 Hen House
These hen houses on wheels are ideal for people looking for mobile hen houses for gardens, paddocks and orchards. Allowing for hens to be moved to to fresh grassy ground keeps your hens happy and healthy. If you have any questions about our hen houses with wheels, leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to speak to a member of the FSF Team. 

Thanks for Reading

Friday, 23 September 2016

Hen Houses for Larger Flocks

Here at Flyte so Fancy we have built hen houses for small flocks. We've designed and built  hen houses for half a dozen hens and the full dozen. We've made houses suitable for a couple of ducks on the pond and we've made a Floating Duck Lodge suitable for a community of eight ducks to float in leisure.

What happens though when you look around and the five hens you started with has suddenly morphed into a flock of fifteen or more and your wondering where to keep them? The answer is of course a bigger hen house and Flyte so Fancy have a range of larger hen houses, with unique features, that make keeping a large flock of hens a stylish yet easy proposition.

The Handy 15 Hen House

A large, practical house, the Handy 15 Hen House comes with built in handles and wheels to make it easy to move. Built with room to house fifteen hens, the external nest box provides plenty of room to roost on its full length perches. Double ventilation louvres keeps the inside of the hen house light and breezy and the removable resin-coated board roof and the large front door make access and cleaning quick and simple.

Hen Houses for Large Flocks of Chickens
Handy 15 Hen House
A functional, mobile coop, this larger hen house has a floor space of approximately 5ft by 3ft is ideal for people with a large paddock or field and looking to move their hens to fresh pastures.

The Maggie's 24 Hen House

Our most popular hen houses's big sister, the Maggie's 24 Hen House is a large traditional style chicken house with plenty of room for approximately twenty four laying hens. With its external nest box the floor space for perching inside this hen house is approximately 5ft by 4ft. The Maggie's 24 Hen House has raked perches inside to provide plenty of sleeping space for larger flocks of chickens.

Flyte so Fancy Timber Hen Houses
Maggie's 24 Hen House
A larger hen house, the Maggie's 24 has several features to make it easy to maintain. A removable dirt tray and large back door make cleaning easy, with plenty of access into the coop. Should you feel like really getting stuck in, the removable nest box opens up a complete side of the hen house, allowing unlimited access. The Maggie's 24 Hen House is ideal for back gardens where the passion for poultry has gotten a little out of hand.

The Granary 6ft Hen House

A large, grand hen house with space for up to thirty hens to stretch their wings in luxury. Standing high upon its imperious staddle stones, the Granary 6ft Hen House is a mansion for the largest of back garden flocks. With three internal perches and an external nest box, the floor space measures approximately 6ft wide by 4ft deep.

Flyte so Fancy Hen Houses
6ft Granary Hen House
A large hen house with a rustic charm, the Granary is big enough to hold the largest of flocks and is ideal for when you realise you know have 20 more hens than you ever thought about keeping to begin with.

If you have any questions about our larger hen houses for larger flocks of birds, you can leave a comment below, or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the FSF Team.

Thanks for Reading

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Predator Proof Hen Houses Made in the UK

Here at FSF HQ we get phone calls everyday from people with questions about chickens but, in particular our hen houses; what are they made from, are they sturdy and most importantly will they keep predators out?

Often while typing has the muse descended on the Flyte so Fancy Blog and we have written pages about our hen houses aesthetic charms, the joys of keeping chickens, the numerous advantages of eggs for cakes and breakfast, as well the quality and strength of our British made timber hen houses.

Flyte so Fancy Hen Houses
Flyte so Fancy Protection Pen
So we thought we'd write something a little more industrial and scientific, highlighting the high quality of materials used in our hen houses and runs, and just why the materials Flyte so Fancy use make them the strong predator proof houses they are.

A hen house is only as good as its first line of defence, the run. Chicken wire simply will not cut the mustard in keeping foxes, badgers or anything else out. It is too weak to prevent a predator breaking through.

All of our Chicken Runs and Poultry Protection Pens are made out of 38mm x 38mm framework. Onto this durable lightweight frame is stapled European plastic-coated heavy 18 gauge weldmesh. This incredibly strong weldmesh requires wire cutters to cut it, so there is no chance of foxes, badgers or any other predators breaking through it. Truly predator proof chicken runs.

No Dig Skirts
Flyte so Fancy Hen Houses
No-Dig Skirts for Poultry Runs
With your chickens safe in their run from predators (unless they brought their tool kit), the second line of defence is to prevent any predators from digging in. A 10 inch wide strip of 2" x 2" weldmesh, that is held in place on the ground by 13 inch galvanised pegs.

Foxes, the usual culprit, like to burrow up against the fence, wall, etc, to make the smallest tunnel they can for the least effort. The No-Dig Skirt prevents them doing this, and rather than expending greater levels of energy, the fox will move off to find an easier dinner. No Dig Skirts are an economical but highly efficient way to stop foxes digging in and can be cut in our workshop to match any run size.

All the bolts, hinges, chains, and turn buttons on our hen houses are smelter galvanised, meaning they have been hot dipped in molten zinc. Not only strong and secure, keeping your girls safe at night, this top of the range galvanising technique makes them durable for well over a decade. The bolts and turn buttons on our hen house will stop any predator from breaking in, providing safe, sleep filled nights for your hens.

If you have any more questions about Flyte so Fancy Hen Houses and why they are so well built to prevent all and any predators from getting to your hens you can leave a comment below, or call us on 01300 345229.

Thanks for Reading

Friday, 19 August 2016

The Disadvantages of Ducks (HINT - THERE AREN'T MANY!)

We've had a lot of chickens turn broody this year and we have had three broods of chicks hatch out. My hope that one of our Cayuga / Cherry Valley crosses might be sitting on a clutch of eggs have been undone, for after a few days sitting, she is back on the Flyte so Fancy pond. 

I am a big fan of ducks and like chickens they make wonderful pets and companions in the garden. Like keeping chickens there are advantages and disadvantages to keeping ducks.

  1. Ducks have great characters and are very amusing to watch. Especially a flock of Indian Runner Duck gliding around the garden.
  2. Most breeds of ducks only require a small amount of water to be happy. NO large ponds required
  3. Some ducks are prolific layers, laying right through the winter months also. 
  4. Due to thicker feathers and their oiled covering, ducks do not suffer red mite.
  5. Ducks will clear a garden of slugs and bugs, great for vegetable patches. 
  6. Less fussy than a chicken, a duck will lay an egg anywhere. 
  1. Ducks are messy. If contained continually within a specific area they will, in time, turn it to mud. 
  2. Ducks require plenty of fresh water for cleaning and staying healthy. Water needs changing regularly to avoid disease. 
  3. Some breeds of ducks can be very vocal, i.e Call Ducks
  4. They will lay eggs anywhere.
For more information have a look at our Basic Guide to Keeping Ducks Information Page. 
The largest misconception people have about keeping ducks is the belief you need a large pond or lake for them to live on. This is far from true. A lot of breed of ducks will be happy with something the size of a large washing up bowl, in which to paddle. It is vitally important to provide separate water for drinking and for cleaning. Ducks need a water bowl for cleaning themselves, that is wide enough for the duck to sit in and submerge its head. This dunking of the head is vital for ducks for cleaning their feathers and washing their eyes.

Timber Housing for Ducks and Geese
The FSF Ducks
If you have any questions about Flyte so Fancy Duck Houses leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the FSF team. 

Thanks for Reading

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Poultry Feeders - 3 of the Best

A few months or so ago we posted a Blog entry about three of our favourite drinkers and highlighted what their individual advantages are for poultry keepers and their flocks. This week's Blog looks at three of our favourite feeders and the way that their clever designs and manufacture materials make them ideally suited for a differing range of poultry keepers' requirements.

Here at Flyte so Fancy HQ we stock a vast range of feeders, of every shape, size and material for chickens, ducks, geese and chicks. The video below from a few years ago, sees Boss Phill talking about some of the feeders that we have in stock and their particular merits.

Blenheim 6kg Feeder

The Blenheim Poultry Feeder from Flyte So FancyMade from a thick resilient plastic, the Blenheim Feeder holds 6kg of feed and is the perfect feeder for newcomers and old hands alike. Coming on strong legs to lift it up out of the way of mud and soil, the Blenheim feeder also has an inbuilt anti-flick grid to prevent excessive waste. A metal bar fitted internally also gives you the option of hanging this feeder inside a run.

A really brilliant feeder that covers all the bases, it has a final option of an additional outdoor rain hat, that sits snugly over the feeder, low down, to keep the feed dry and prevent spoilage. A versatile feeder, this is often my first recommendation to poultry keepers when they come in looking for a new feeder.

Galvanised Feeders

Galvanised feeders for chickens
Galvanised Feeders have proved popular with chicken keepers for decades. Made from strong, galvanised sheets these feeders will last a poultry keeper for years and years. UK made, these feeders come in varying sizes, from 2.5kg for smaller flocks to 7kg for those whose passion for poultry has got a little out of hand.

With adjustable height tubes (on the smaller model) and raincover hats to keep feed dry, the only galvanised feeder weakness would be the lack of attachable legs, to help prevent muck getting into the feed. Easily cured with a couple of bricks as a stand, these feeders are sturdy constructions and will serve a poultry keeper faithfully for many, many years.

BEC Wise Feeders

BEC Wise FeederTruly different to the previously two mentioned feeders, the BEC Wise Chicken Feeder is either a cage or wall mounted feeder, designed for runs and paddocks. Mounted through the mesh or on a bracket, the modular nature of the feeder allows you to increase its capacity by adding 5kg extension cartridges.

The Wise Feeder can also help reduce your feed bill, with its clever design of lips and dividers preventing 40% less feed being lost, while the higher mounting prevents vermin from being attracted to the feeder to begin with. With a nice design and clever features this feeder is great for poultry keepers not looking to take up extra space within their runs with conventional feeders.

Galvanised Treadle Feeders

One of Flyte So Fancy's most popular chicken feeders
The Treadle Feeders are getting a special mention at the end of the Blog due to their popularity both here at Flyte so Fancy HQ and with our customers who have purchased them in the past. Comprising metal and plastic components, the feeders are available in three sizes for all sizes of flock.

Top filled, gravity fed feeders, the food itself is sealed away by a lifting flap operated by the hen standing on the treadle. The hens weight causes the treadle to open and the feed to be exposed. Rats and mice, as well as wild birds, are too light and so can not trigger the treadle to lift. A great feeder for people with a vermin problem or just looking to keep their feed in a sealed, weather-proof feeder.

If you have any questions about poultry feeders and which might be best suited for your flock, why not leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to speak to a member of the Flyte so Fancy team.

Thanks for Reading