Saturday, 30 May 2015

The Puddleduck Duck House and Keeping Ducks

The ducks that live on the FSF pond are a particular favourite of mine. From the Cayuga / Cherry Valley crosses that hatched out last year, to our old Saxony mallard, there is something about their mocking quacks and waddling shuffles, that I find most endearing.

Recently we have had a lot of calls from people looking to add a few ducks to their back garden flock. They are however very different from chickens and have a few differing requirements to keep them happy and quacking away.

Puddleduck Duck House
Puddleduck Duck House
Ducks if confined to a small area will quickly make mud. A lot of mud. However, equally they will wander far and wide given half a chance.  Ducks do not also necessarily need a large pond to keep them happy, breeds like Runner Ducks only require a large washing up bowl size of water in which to dunk themselves. Here are a few pros and cons to keeping ducks

Pros
  • Ducks have great character and are very amusing to watch.
  • Most breads only require a small amount of water to be happy.
  • Certain breeds of duck are prolific egg layers, laying right through the winter months.
  • Ducks tend not to suffer red mite. There feathers are too thick and oiled to attract the chicken pest.
  • Excellent destroyer of garden pests like slugs and bugs.
  • They will lay eggs anywhere.
Cons
  • Ducks are messy. If kept in an area of your garden they will turn it to mud.
  • Ducks require plenty of fresh water for cleaning and bathing. You have to regularly change this water to avoid disease. 
  • Certain breeds of ducks can be very noisy, i.e Call Ducks. 
  • They will lay eggs anywhere.
Ducks by the FSF Pond - Blog
FSF Ducks
One of the most popular Duck Houses, that we make here in the Flyte so Fancy workshop, is the Puddleduck Duck House. Made from our high quality Scandinavian Redwood timber they are durable enough to stand up to a ducks messy life style, while looking charming and natural within a garden or by a pond.

The Puddleduck Duck House is ideal for people looking to add one or two waterfowl to the family. It suits Call Ducks and Ornamental Ducks or Mallards, whilst the large Puddleduck Duck House will house two Aylesbury-size ducks or two Indian Runners.  With a large entrance door on the front, the access ramp also doubles up as a predator proof door once shut. The hinged roof of the Puddleduck also allows access right into the house, making cleaning incredibly easy.
Flyte so Fancy Duck Lodge
Flyte so Fancy Duck Lodge

Being messier than the average chicken, you will want to make sure you put down a thicker layer of bedding for ducks, remember they do not perch like a chicken would. The Puddleduck Duck House also comes with ventilation grills in the back. Not minding if they track mud in with them, as well as other mess, a duck house requires good solid ventilation.

Like chickens, you should never keep just one duck and certain breeds are good layers, providing a good quantity of eggs all year around. Ducks require water for cleaning themselves, especially for dunking their heads so they can wash their eyes and there are specific feeds for waterfowl available (although ours here at Flyte so Fancy are quite happy to eat Layers Pellets with the hens).

Keeping a few ducks can be a great addition to a flock and they have such wonderful laid back characters, that you will quickly become a favourite, just like the FSF ducks are to me.

If you have any questions about duck housing or the things you'll need for keeping ducks, please leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the FSF team.


Thanks for Reading
James


Friday, 15 May 2015

Worming Your Chickens - Flubenvet and Verm-X

Over the last few weeks we've had several phone calls from people asking about poultry worms and the best way to deal with them.

Flyte so Fancy Worming Your Chickens
Flubenvet 1%
Poultry worms should be treated as "one of those things" that can happen when you are keeping chickens. Poultry worms will of course affect the health of your bird, and you might witness them loosing weight due to the worm stealing all their nutrients, a drop in egg production or general listlessness.

If you suspect that your flock is suffering from worms then your first port of call should be a licensed wormer such as Flubenvet 1%. Flubenvet is a licensed product designed for the small poultry flock keeper. Available in a 60g pack, Flubenvet 1% will treat around twenty birds for a seven day period. It effectively kills all stages of worms common to poultry, and has the added advantage of suffering no egg withdrawal period, both during and after treatment.

Flubenvet can be prescribed by a vet or a specially qualified person so if you suspect that your girls have worms you should use Flubenvet straight away. Otherwise it can be a good idea to give your chickens a dose at the beginning of spring and then autumn to help kill off any worms your girls might have picked up. For more information on Flubenvet 1% CLICK HERE to view what PoultryKeeper.com have to say.
Flyte so Fancy Worming Prevention and Cure
Verm-X Herbal Remedies

There is also a herbal answer to the question of poultry worms, Verm-X for Poultry. As it contains no chemicals, it requires no license to be purchased and as such cannot label itself as a poultry "wormer". However, with continual use throughout the year, Verm-X helps promote a healthy gut inhospitable to poultry worms. As it is a 100% natural formula there is no egg withdrawal period and is merely applied to your hens feed or water for three days each month.

Verm-X comes in both a pellet form for adding to feed or a liquid supplement to put into drinkers. Both are equally effective, but I must admit a preference for the liquid version, as I never quite trust my greedy girls not to just eat around the Verm-X Pellets, in their quest to stuff their beaks.

If you are looking to worm as a treatment, then you will want to use Flubenvet 1% in the spring and autumn, however as a prevention, you could use the Verm-X on a monthly basis. A helpful addition to your shelf might also be a ground sanitising powder, perfect for killing off those worm eggs and larvae before they can become a problem.

For more information on identifying the most common worms to affect poultry have a look at our info page on Poultry Worms - Treat and Prevent. Or if you have a question why not leave a comment below or call 01300 345229 to speak to a member of our team.


Thanks for Reading
James




Friday, 8 May 2015

Coccidiosis in Chickens - Causes, Identification and Cure

If you flipped a coin it's a 50/50 chance you would guess correctly on what face the coin would fall. Equally if you keep chickens chances are sooner or later you will come into contact with Coccidiosis.

Coccidiosis is a disease caused by a coccidial oocyst, a microscopic parasite that when digested by the bird, attaches itself to the lining of the gut where it begins feeding, causing the chicken to bleed. Once a bird is infected, it will pass these parasites through its droppings where it can be picked up by other members of the flock.

But do not worry, the purpose of this blog is to help you identify a bird that may have been infected and then cure them.

Causes of Coccidiosis 
  1. Contaminated ground through transfer or natural occurrence.
  2. Dirty water, wet or damp bedding and areas around drinkers are especially prone. 
  3. Exposure through the droppings of another bird. 
Identifying Coccidiosis
  1. The bird is passing blood in their poo, this is from the oocyst attacking the gut lining. 
  2. Drop in egg production. 
  3. Listless chickens, droopy and hunched over, with ruffled feathers.
  4. Not feeding or drinking.
  5. Young birds are more prone to the infection and will die if not quickly treated. 
Curing Coccidiosis
Flyte so Fancy Blog
Coxoid
  1. Coxoid is a liquid treatment for pigeons that has been found to be effective in poultry. Put into their drinking water over 7 days at a rate of 28ml per 4.5 litres of water. This is powerful stuff and has a 28 day egg withdrawal period that should be followed
  2. A coccidial disinfectant, like Bi-OO-Cyst, should be used for cleaning the house. There is no point putting cured birds back into an infected house and a coccidial disinfectant will take care of any lingering coccidiosis parasites in your flock's coop. 
  3. You should follow up any treatment of Coxoid with a multi-vitamin tonic to help your flock get back on its feet. This must be given after and not at the same time. 
It is entirely possible that your flock will live quite happily with a mild infection of coccidiosis their whole lives, however the regular use of an Apple Cider Vinegar will help make your hens guts 'inhospitable' to this microscopic pest. 

With a little care and if yoour information page all about Coccidiosis in Chickens HERE, leave a comment or call a member of our team on 01300 345229.
u keep the house and run clean and dry, and keep feeders and drinkers hygienic, Coccidiosis may never be a problem for your flock. If you would like more in depth information you can read


Thanks for Reading
James