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Essential kit for the chicken keeper

Boy feeding chickens

Having the right kit on hand means you won’t be caught out when one of your birds is off colour.

If you are new to keeping chickens, picking up any poultry magazine or visiting stockists of poultry equipment and feeds can prove a little daunting given the amount of kit on sale. You will want to do right by your birds and ensure the husbandry of the flock is spot on, but are what essentials should you invest in?

Every poultry keeper should have at hand a field kit: the sort of stuff you will need one or more items from at least once a week. I find it useful to put them all in a bag or box so they are to hand. (It’s also ideal if you are away from home and have someone else caring for the birds.)

Torch – it’s often easier to handle and treat chickens after they have gone to roost; they tend to be much calmer then and can be easily handled. It does mean you will be working in the dark, so you’ll need a torch. Investing in a good-quality head torch, particularly one that has adjustable beam strength, will mean you have both hands free to deal with the chickens.

Scissors – a strong, sharp pair of scissors for cutting string, bandages, plasters and most of all, flight feathers, if there is a flighty one who keeps jumping out the pen.

Toenail clippers and nail file – most chickens will keep their toenails worn down by scratching around, but birds kept indoors or on soft ground may require a bit of a pedicure. Plus you may need to attend to the spurs of some cockerels.

Leg rings – having a range of leg rings in different colours and sizes means you can quickly and easily mark an individual bird. This can be particularly useful if administering treatments to the flock and will help identify those who have been treated from those yet to be dealt with.

Pliers or wire cutters – these are not only useful for emergency fence repairs but are also ideal for quickly removing plastic leg rings.

Feeding syringes – a collection of different-sized feeding syringes are essential for administering fluids such as medicines down the chickens’ throat.

Latex disposable gloves – these are not a frequent requirement. but when it comes to vent-related problems such as a prolapse or vent gleetthey can make the task much easier for the keeper (and probably more comfortable for the chicken too).

Vet’s antiseptic spray – ideal for treating minor wounds to birds but can also double up as anti-feathering pecking spray in minor cases of plumage pulling.

Petroleum jelly – not only does this serve well as a lubricant for sticky catches and locks it can also be applied to the combs of birds during extremely cold weather to reduce the risk of frost bite and applied to dry patches of skin on the face or legs. It’s also handy when treating for scaly leg mite on the chickens should they become infested.

Cotton buds – for delicate tasks such as cleaning around the eye or nasal passages of the birds.

Purple spray – works in much the same way as the vet’s antiseptic spray, however it has the advantage of being visible. This means it can also be used to quickly and temporarily mark birds, either post-treatment or for further selection. Don’t use on chickens you intend to exhibit, though, as it can be difficult to remove fully.

Pet carrier or dog crate – you can never have too many pet carriers for transporting or quarantining chickens. Plastic dog or cat carriers are ideal for single or small numbers of chickens, but be sure to disinfect after each use to avoid any possible transferral of pests or diseases.

Vet’s telephone number – it may not be necessarily needed by you, but if you have friends or neighbours looking after your stock when you are away it could prove invaluable.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2013/jun/12/essential-kit-chicken-keeper

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How to protect chickens from foxes

This is a great article by Andy Blackmore and I thougbht would prove useful for all us poultry keepers!  You can read more of Andy’s great blogs HERE

Know your enemy: Mr Fox makes a wily opponent for those new to poultry keeping (Picture: Getty)
Know your enemy: Mr Fox makes a wily opponent for those new to poultry keeping

Even if you’ve decided that keeping urban chickens is not for you it’s a fair bet you will encounter their nemesis – the fox. The first thing that says you are the subject of unwanted fox attention is the disagreeable smell – a sharp choking musty aroma – an unpleasant amalgam of musk, blocked drains and stale urine.

Foxes are wily adversaries of those inexperienced in keeping poultry. And any small mistake will be punished unmercifully – so let’s take it as red that your coop or hutch is sturdy, strong and perhaps has even been sold to you as fox proof.

Even so you might want to consider a little help in skewing things further in your favour  – so here are a few suggestions.

Electric fencing: Foxes check everything with their noses first so it shouldn’t take too many shocking encounters for them to get the message. While being the most obvious solution it can seem quite expensive – but worth it to protect both your investment and your feathered friends.

Light and sound: Leaving a radio on in the coop overnight can be very effective simply because a fox would generally prefer not to be in the presence of humans and simple lighting arrays that mimic the eyes of another predator like the Nite Guard Solar can also work wonders.

Sonic repellents: They do work but you get what you pay for and as they start at around £20. But remember these will be audible to dogs; so opt for models that only sound when they detect a threat and not one on all day – or you could send your pets barking mad.

Chemical repellents: There are a couple on the market but Scoop is widely acclaimed as the most effective product of its type on the market. It’s totally safe for use in gardens, near chickens, on plants and edible crops and is humane, bio-degradable and very effective.

Scent marking: Most of us won’t have access to Lion dung (as used by one well known comedian to protect his brood) but we have the next best thing – for free. This involves directly mimicking the territorial behaviour of a fox by the application of male urine to your boundaries – I’ll leave issues of supply and demand to your imagination. However, if that’s too much for you, consider using human hair (male works best), either your own after a cut or try asking at your local barbers. Stuff some into a pair of old tights and hang around the margins of your garden – good luck.

Source: http://metro.co.uk/2013/06/11/pet-blog-how-to-protect-chickens-from-foxes-3836084/

Crying fowl: lawsuit over bag of chicken nuggets

Chicken Joe's in Cos Cob. Photo: Helen Neafsey, ST / Greenwich Time

An intellectual property lawsuit between a popular chicken nugget takeout chain based in Old Greenwich in Bridgeport, Connecticut and two ex-employee brothers who launched a similar business catering to UConn students in Storrs is heading toward a trial.

Call it the Greenwich “chicken wars” — the owners of Garden Catering, which has eight locations from Mamaroneck, N.Y., to Fairfield, are crying “fowl.” The owners claim that Wally’s Chicken Coop stole their coveted recipes, business model and other trade secrets, and they’ve slapped Michael Natale and Jeff Natale, the owners of Wally’s Chicken Coop, with a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Haven.

Wally’s serves chicken “bits” and side combos in a pint-sized insulated food bag in the same manner as Garden Catering, which the lawsuit said is more than a mere coincidence. Their menu also features a breakfast sandwich dubbed the “Topsy,” which Garden Catering says is a blatant knock-off of its best-seller, the “Hotsy.” A bacon, egg and cheese on a roll with chili and home fries, the sandwich is named after its late creator,Frank Bertino, who worked behind the counter at Garden Catering into his early 90s.

The flap has James Doyle, the lawyer for Wally’s, planning to file a motion next week seeking to dismiss the case.

“It’s that ridiculous,” Doyle said. “All the claims are frivolous.”

Federal court records show this is the third such case pitting Garden Catering as a plaintiff against either a one-time business partner, franchisee or former employee. The previous two ended in settlements.

Frank Carpenteri Jr., whose family owns Garden Catering, issued a statement Monday accusing the brothers of concealing their plans to open a similar business and poaching at least one of their employees.

“I was longtime friends with Michael and Jeff Natale and was happy to employ both of them for many years when they needed work,” Carpenteri said. “When they told me that they were leaving to open in Storrs, they referred to it as a `burger joint,’ with no mention of the true focus of the business. We also believe that they sought to create a false impression that they were affiliated with Garden Catering in a number of ways, including telling their customers that they were `just like Garden Catering.’ ”

The 31-page lawsuit, filed by Greenwich attorney James C. Riley of Whitman, Breed, Abbott & Morgan, alleges that Michael Natale formed a limited liability corporation while he was still a Garden Catering employee and even discussed his business plans with a major distributor of the chain.

Wally’s tried to associate itself with Garden Catering on its Facebook page and Twitter account, according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified punitive damages and reimbursement of court expenses.

“They traded off the goodwill and name recognition that my family and I have worked extremely hard to create over the last 20 years,” Carpenteri said in his statement.

Doyle said Wally’s, located in a storefront 104 miles from Greenwich, is not a competitor and that his clients did nothing wrong.

“There’s no secret recipe,” Doyle said. “They don’t use the trademarks.”

In 2005, Garden Catering sued rival Chicken Joe’s — operated by Joe Marini, a former business partner of the Carpenteris — over the use of the name “High School Special” for its chicken nuggets and fries in a bag combination. The case resulted in a settlement, with Chicken Joe’s retaining the name and Garden Catering going with “The Special” for its signature menu item. Marini declined to comment on the feud Monday.

In 2011, Garden Catering sued two of its Stamford franchises on High Ridge Road and East Main Street for trademark infringement. The case also wound up in a settlement, with the two locations changing their names to Reddi Rooster. A message seeking comment from the owner of the two former franchises was left Monday at the High Ridge Road location.

“In my view, the cases are really unrelated,” Doyle said. “They’re certainly really litigious.”

Bertino’s daughter, Jackie Fabricatore, of Stamford, is siding with Garden Catering in the dispute, however.

“I honestly agree with them 100 percent,” Fabricatore said. “Hotsy is Hotsy. Hotsy is king. They should take (the Topsy) off the menu because the idea comes from my father’s chili.”

In a bizarre twist, Bertino’s son, who is named Frank, is suing Garden Catering in state Superior Court in Stamford. He alleges that the popular eatery neglected the welfare of his 91-year-old father.

Fabricatore lamented the actions of her brother.

“Frank Carpenteri and his family, they’re wonderful people,” she said. “They treated my father just like family.”

Source: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Crying-fowl-lawsuit-over-bag-of-chicken-nuggets-4573592.php#ixzz2VFrFwZCX

This is BRILLIANT

So I was scouring the internet today and came across this little gem.  “Chicken or the Egg”, is an offbeat romantic comedy about a pig who has an addiction to eating eggs. But when he falls in love with the hottest chicken in town, he must choose what comes first… the Chicken or the Egg. By Christine Kim and Elaine Wu of Kimwu Productions.  Great work girls!

More than 700,000 Brits now keep chickens

NEARLY 700,000 Brits now keep chickens — a rise of 80 per cent in three years, figures reveal.

The largest increase in poultry-rearing since World War 2 has come as households try to cut grocery bills by producing their own eggs.

Brian Mott, of birdseed suppliers Nature’s Grub, said: “We’re seeing a return to 50 years ago, when it was usual to keep half a dozen chickens in the back yard.

“Over the past few years more Brits have started growing their own fruit and veg — and the next step seems to be having their own eggs.”

The figures by the British Hen Welfare Trust have helped push the value of the coop industry to £1billion a year.

Tesco said sales of poultry pens had nearly doubled since 2008. They sell chicken coops in the Tesco Direct catalogue.

The store’s Clodagh Corbett said: “The surge in demand for chickens and coops shows how keeping hens has become a hobby for many.”
Source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3725935/700000-Brits-now-keep-chickens.html#ixzz2ScfrX5To

A chicken wrap

Mrs Wong showing her live chickens wrapped in newspapers that are for sale at the Central Market in Sibu. On average, she sells up to 100 chickens per day.

At the corner of the ever-busy Central Market in Sibu, Malaysia, a middle-aged woman attends to customers at her chicken stall.

What stands out is the way she packaged her manok (chicken).

This is something that will generate interest among customers in the market, at least for visitors from the peninsula.

Customers come and buy one or two live chickens, and she neatly wraps the birds with newspapers and ties them with rafia string, leaving the birds’ heads protruding at one end. Customers hold the chickens like carrying a tote bag.

Mrs Wong, as she wanted to be known as, had been selling live chickens wrapped in newspapers for the past two years.

There were at least 30 red and brown-feathered chickens at her stall, wrapped and placed nicely on a wooden plank on a two-tier position.

“These are chickens bred for their meat. They are slim and tall like the fighting breed,” said Wong.

The chickens seemed relaxed and docile, perhaps because of the way they were comfortably wrapped. They didn’t struggle to free themselves, even while being carried around.

Wong said the method of selling live chickens this way was unique and could only be found at the market here. Selling live chickens wrapped in newspapers had become like a tradition and the people here preferred it that way.

“It is always better to buy live chickens as they are guaranteed to be healthy. If people buy ready-cut chickens, how can they know if the meat they are buying come from sick or dead birds?”

There are many other chicken sellers at the market. On average, Wong sells up to 100 chickens a day and on festive days like Gawai Dayak and Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the number could go as high as 300. A chicken is sold for RM12 (S$4.8).

Wong doesn’t rear the chickens but gets her stock from a farmer.

Unlike regular chickens that were slaughtered once they reached three to four months old, Wong said all the chickens that she sold were at least a year old.

“The meat is not easily broken into pieces when cooked like the ‘injected’ ones,” she said, referring to chickens raised in farms that use hormones and antibiotics.

“The chickens are raised in the way intended by nature and as a result, the meat is better when cooked and can last longer.”

Source: http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/SoShiok/Story/A1Story20130424-418026.html

Like glasses for chickens!

20130413-133243.jpg

Recently while doing some research into ways of stopping chickens from pecking each other, I  came across this picture on http://parkerpoultry.wordpress.com/.

A chicken wearing what looks like sunglasses or blinkers.  Huh?

So I did a little digging, and not only can you buy blinkers for chickens to help prevent cannibalism, but  many years ago you could buy eye glasses for the same purpose!

Now apparently, chicken glasses date back to the early 1900′s. In fact, United States patent 730,918 was granted to Andrew Jackson Jr. on June 16, 1903. Andrew’s patented chicken glasses were basically an early version of safety glasses for poultry as they were meant to help protect chickens from getting their eyes pecked by other birds in the flock.

Patented safety glasses for chickens were used to help prevent their eyes from being pecked by other birds.

In an effort to improve the functionality of chicken glasses, in 1939, National Band & Tag Company founder Joseph Haas created “Anti-Pix”. Anti-Pix were small aluminum framed glasses with heavy gauge red plastic lenses mounted on hinges. Small stainless steel pins, inserted through the nostrils, held the glasses on the top of the chickens beak.

Drawing for US patent 730918 - Chicken Glasses

When the chickens held their heads upright the red lenses rendered the birds color-blind, eliminating their ability to detect raw flesh and blood.

You see, chickens are instinctively cannibalistic and have a natural tendency to peck one another. Pecking is the chickens way of establishing hierarchy within the flock, which is where the term “pecking order” comes from.

Also, being that the red lenses were mounted on hinges, the chickens had clear and unobstructed vision while lowering their heads to feed.

Here is a great newsreel from 1947 about chicken glasses.

Anti-Pix advertisement from the National Band & Tag Company catalog circa 1940

Unfortunately, it seems that you can no longer buy those fancy hinged chicken glasses and it also seems that they are pretty rare these days. If you happen to stumbled upon any while picking through an old barn or an antique shop, make sure to get them appraised because some of them are quite valuable could put a few extra dollars in your pocket.

While good old chicken glasses are no longer available for purchase, blinders are still produced and used on chickens to help prevent pecking. If you’re in the market, you’ll find that some blinders have pins and others are pin-less.

Do your chickens have a pecking problem? Would you ever accessorize your chickens with fancy rose colored glasses? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts!

Source: http://thepioneerway.com/farming/glasses-chickens/