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.

ADVANTAGES
  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. 
DISADVANTAGES
  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
James

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
James

Friday, 29 July 2016

A Day at the Spa - Feeder Shelter Dustbaths for Chickens

One of the first designs that Phill came up with for Flyte so Fancy were the Feeder Shelter / Dustbaths for chickens. A simple, elegant design it did its job so well, that once photos were taken of it, way, way back in 2006, it was deemed job done.

Flyte so Fancy Timber Poultry Housing
Feeder Shelter / Dustbath Photo circa 2006
Over a decade later it was decided that perhaps it was time, as good as the photos were, to get some updated snaps for the website. The added arrival of our new Curved Dustbath and Shelter, as well as our new Playsand for Chickens for extra luxuriant dustbaths, made it seem to good an opportunity to miss. 

Placing the Feeder Shelters on the lawn, making sure the sun was shining and that our gorgeous trio of Pekins were adequately fluffy feathered for photos, we got to work. 

The Feeder Shelter / Dustbath

One of our earliest unique designs, the Feeder Shelter / Dustbath is made from our sturdy pressure treated timber and is built to last in any garden, saving flower beds and the lawn from marauding chickens. The reversible base means you can set the unit up as either a dry shelter for a feeder to stand upon or as a dustbath, filled with sand (see below) or topsoil, to allow your hens somewhere to clean their feathers.

Flyte so Fancy Made in the UK
Feeder Shelter / Dustbath circa 2016
Arriving in four sections for easy self assembly, a five minute job with a screwdriver, this handy little shelter provides your hens with a clean dry place to 'wash' their feathers. 

The Curved Chicken Dustbath and Shelter

Made from a perfectly formed demi-curve, the Curved Dustbath & Shelter provides stylish shelter for your hens. The arched roof spans the width of the dustbathing tray, providing maximum cover and protection. The tray is reversible to provide a raised feeding platform or a shady spot from the sun, while hooks on the provide a spot for hanging feeders, drinkers and treats.

Curved Timber Hen House Made in UK
The Curved Chicken Dustbath & Shelter
Made from strong tanilised timber and a secret wood bending technique, the Curved Chicken Dustbath and Shelter, provides a stylish spot for your girls in the garden. 

Chicken Play Sand 20kg

A good dustbath requires a good quality playsand for your hens to get clean. Chicken Play Sand is a washed and screened silica playsand ideal for use with hens. The pre-washed quality of the sand prevents the staining of feathers, while also allowing rapid draining during wet weather, to allow all year round bathing.

Flyte so Fancy Poultry Supplies
Chicken Playsand for Dustbaths
Providing a hostile environment for pests such as lice and mites, the Chicken Playsand come in a 20kg bag and is the perfect base going into dustbaths for chickens. 

Having taken the photos required and walked the Pekins back to their hen house (the cockerel may have little legs but he can zip when he wants to) it was time to update the decade old photos on the website. Perhaps we will do them again in another ten years. 

If you have any questions about chickens and dustbathing why not leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the Flyte so Fancy team. 


Thanks for Reading
James

Friday, 22 July 2016

The NEW Flyte so Fancy Catalogue is HERE!

 As always I've drawn the short straw. Upon opening the box of our new catalogues, it has fallen to me to get them sorted and in their envelopes ready for the postman on Monday. I'm just glad they don't make stamps from gum paper anymore.

Once again our Catalouge features all of Flyte so Fancy's signature Hen Houses, as well as its Duck and Goose Housing. From the popular Maggie's Hen House range, through to the stately Floating Duck Lodge, there is a house here for all and any garden.

Hen Houses Made in UK
Flyte so Fancy Catalogue
Also getting their own pages are Framebow Animal Housing (who joined the FSF workshop this year) with their stupendous curved timber structures and Dorset Log Stores, providing elegant timber stores for your garden.

Jam packed with all the essential, necessary and can't live without poultry products, as well as more treats and goodies than one chicken could ever hope to eat, the Flyte so Fancy catalogue contains everything you need for happy and healthy hens.

To request your FREE copy of the Catalogue CLICK HERE now. 


Thanks for Reading
James



Thursday, 30 June 2016

Terrific Tips for Happy Hens

Chickens are simple creatures. Give them some room to roam, shelter from the rain, plus the occasional extra treat and they're as happy as Larry. With June being a washout and July forecast to not be much better, keeping your precious girls spirits up and their health tip-top, takes a little extra attention.

This week's Blog looks at some of the best ways to keep your hens smiling through the rain and wind of this summer, because a happy hen is the best kind.

Dustbaths
Timber DustBaths for Chickens
Feeder Shelter / Dustbath

The ground here at FSF HQ would best be described with a wonderful onomatopoeic word like "squidgy" or "squelchy".  In fact it would only take a hoard of lost festival goers in wellies to turn the whole thing into a quagmire. When the ground is like this, dust-bathing becomes a real problem for hens.

Hens clean themselves through dust-bathing, scratching a bowl into the earth, then ruffling the dust and fine earth through their feathers. With the ground sodden the way it is, this is an impossibility and it is now that the importance of having somewhere dry for your hens to bathe is really highlighted.

The Feeder Shelter / Dustbath provides a dry space to fill with sand or top soil to let your hens clean themselves. With its over-hanging roof, you don't have to worry about the inside getting wet either. If the weather ever clears up, the base is also reversible and becomes a handy covered place to put feeders and drinkers.

Treats

Here in the office we all have our favourites when it comes to being our to turn to bring in biscuits. Personally I like a dark chocolate digestive. Nothing gets me through a long day like a biscuit. Occasionally our hens need a little cheering up too. Mixed Corn as an afternoon treat and supplement is ideal, but Boredom Buster Pecking Rings and Peck Blocks, can really help hens through long miserable days. They have the added advantage of preventing bad behaviour, brought about by boredom, like bullying and feather pecking.

Tonics

Healthy hens are happy hens and vice versa. There are poultry tonics and cider vinegars aplenty all ready to sit on the shelf and provide year round nutrients and vitamins for your poultry.  A few that I would recommend in particular are the; Oreganico Tonic to boost your chickens immune systems and help to combat diseases, Life Guard Poultry Tonic for an all round natural tonic that will help and boost all areas of your chickens' immune system and health, and finally Hilton Herbs Cider Vinegar with Garlic, which aids the digestive system, bright eyes and shiny feathers.

Any one of these tonics will provide your hen with a healthy boost during this dismal summer and healthy hens are happy hens.

Feeders / Drinkers

Making sure that your hens have food and water is obvious when it comes to keeping them happy, but what is more important is keeping their food and water clean and dry. Feeders and Drinkers raised up on legs, helps prevent mud and detritus from being kicked into your hens food and water. Equally putting feeders somewhere sheltered will prevent feed being spoiled by rain.

Flyte so Fancy Poultry Supplies
Feeder Raised on Legs
These few simple tips will help keep your hens happy whatever the weather, but if you have any questions why not leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to speak to a member of our team.


Thanks for Reading
James


Friday, 17 June 2016

Rain Shades for Poultry Runs

Its been raining. It's raining right now actually and I am willing to bet a pound to a penny, that when you read this, it'll be raining too. Even the FSF ducks, usually stalwart enough to sit on the pond regardless of the weather, have got fed up and moved inside.

When the weather is like this, the question is how do you provide your precious girls with a dry area for them to scratch about in outside? There is nothing that looks more sorry for itself that a wet, bedraggled chicken. Here are three ideas for providing your hen with a little shelter from the wettest June in a long, long time.

Rainshades for Chicken Runs
Flyte so Fancy Hen House Accessories
Rainshades for Runs

Rainshades for Chicken Runs are large PVC rainshades for attaching to your chicken run. Perfect for protecting an area of your run, they measure approximately one metre wide by two metres long, and are held in place by four strong bungees that simply hook onto the weldmesh of the run. Meaning if you wish to move the rainshade or remove it entirely, it is the job of but a minute.

Providing shelter from torrential rain (very likely) or an area of shade from the summer sun (less likely) the rainshades are a versatile, movable and simple solution to providing a sheltered and dry area to any run.  

Polycarbonate Roofing
Roofing options for Chicken Runs
Polycarbonate Roofing

Made from a transparent 6mm twin walled UV stable polycarbonate, this roofing provides a permanent option to keeping your hens dry. Affixed to the existing roof panels with polypins, the roof not only sheds the water to the side of the run providing a dry area beneath, but also prevents contamination by wild birds of your feeders and drinkers.

The Polycarbonate Roofing can be cut to fit nearly all of Flyte so Fancy's runs and with the addition of a silicone tube and gun for the joins, provides a permanent option for protecting your hens from incessant down pours.

Chicken Shelters

If you have your flock in a large paddock or free ranging, then roofing simply isn't an option, but that doesn't mean that you can't provide them with some isolated islands of protection from the rain. The Chicken Shelter is a simple weather shelter, built from our sturdy pressure treated timbers, to give your hens somewhere to go out of the rain.

Timber Shelters from Rain
Chicken Shelter
With a perch inside for day time naps, hooks for hanging treats, feeders and drinkers, the overhanging roof provides maximum protection from the elements. Available in three sizes; Small, Large and Jumbo (which is very big) the Chicken Shelter is ideal for providing dry havens for your hens.

With the weather map for next week looking no better than it was for this week, now is the time to provide a little shelter for your hens from the elements. If you have a question regarding one of these options why not leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229.


Thanks for Reading
James


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Revenge of the Red Mite

The rain has been hammering down on Flyte so Fancy's corner of Dorset over the last few days. I'm talking about raindrops falling so quickly, they are hitting the ground, bouncing back up in the air and falling again. The thing is, here at Flyte so Fancy, we're still wearing shorts and t-shirts despite the heavy downpours that are falling and hot, humid weather can only mean the return of red mite.

Flyte So Fancy Poultry Supplies
Flyte Mite RTU
& Diatomaceous Earth
Hot, damp weather is the ideal conditions for red mite, they love it, so now is the time for paying extra attention inside the coop. Elbow grease, the right products on the shelf and a sharp eye for the tell-tale signs of an infestation will mean that you can prevent or kill any mite that take up residence in your coop.

The Tell-Tale Signs
  1. If your girls are reluctant to go into their hen house at night, its probably because they know what is waiting inside for them. A chicken not wanting to go to bed at night is the surest sign that red mite are inside your hen house.
  2. A red dust or detritus building up in the coop, the left overs from an industrial population of red mite.
  3. The vaseline trick. Put a smear of vaseline around the end of the perches, as red mite crawls through the vaseline some will get stuck, allowing you the next morning to see if there are any in your coop.
Prevention 
Prevention is always better than cure. When it comes to your hen house, a little elbow grease and the right cleaners will see the issue taken care of before it even starts. Flyte Mite Ready to Use Spray, is a an all round cleaner and disinfectant. Using an anti-bacterial action, it provides effective mite control, by removing the organic matter in your house that insects live and lay there eggs in. Flyte Mite Spray should be used in conjunction with Diatomaceous Earth. Used throughout the coop, it removes moisture and the damp areas where mites, moulds and lice can thrive. Traditionally Diatomaceous Earth has been used against parasites such as lice, fleas and mites as a preventative treatment.

Killing Red Mite
Flyte so Fancy Red Mite Solutions
Net-Tex Total Mite Kill

Sometimes, despite you best efforts, red mite will still take hold in your hen house. When this happens it's time to upgrade your cleaner and take care of the issue. Net-Tex Total Mite Kill is a multi-purpose cleaner and insecticide, containing permetherin for rapid knockdown of the pests inside your coop. As well as killing mites and lice, it will also kill off bacteria and viruses. Organ-X Mini Insect & Mite Smoke Bombs are highly effective fumigators for clearing all types of insects from inside poultry housing. Simply remove the birds from the house, seal it up tight and then set a fumer off. Once you have left it for a few hours, open the coop right up and give it a good clean through.

Red Mite can show up any time, but the hot, damp weather that we are currently experiencing is a particular favourite of theirs, so around this time of year it is best to be vigilant and if you see any, to take care of them quickly.

If you have any questions about red mite or how to best to get rid of an infestation from your hen house, leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to speak to a member of our team.


Thanks for Reading
James