January - January is the hardest month by far. Very few eggs from the older birds and the possibility of frozen water. I put Apple Cider Vinegar in all the drinkers. It alters the freezing temp of water by about 1c. Its worth having a spare drinker for this time of year so that you can have one in your porch or kitchen ready to go outside in the morning. This will stop you breaking the existing drinker when you are smashing the ice in it!
February - Eggs! here they come! First sign of sunshine after Christmas is when most hens and ducks come back into lay. If we are still having frosty times try and pick up the eggs in the morning. I have in the past picked up frozen eggs that cracked due to the extreme temperatures. The first eggs of the year have a tougher shell, but a stronger yolk. Yummy! Don’t forget, eggs that get laid in freezing temperatures will not hatch.
March - Grass!! Any bare pens will now start to grow grass. With the ground naturally recovering its time to worm your hens and ducks ready for the new year. Using the Flubenvet 5% pre mixed in the layers means it a simple job. Just swop your layers for the Flubenvet layers and the jobs done! There is no egg withdrawal either.
April - Bad tempered chickens and ducks! Time for the odd one to get broody. Its this time of year that you might find an angry bird in the nest box or hidden under a bush. As you put your hand towards them to get the eggs - they growl and peck. This is broodiness. They want to be a mummy!. You have 3 options. 1. Ignore it. 2. Put some dummy eggs under her or 3. Put some fertile eggs under and let her hatch! Either way this bird will be hormonal for many weeks and only time will heal.
May - Get dusting! We advise for you to dust the hens every month to prevent lice or mites but if you don't you will have to do it this month and from now on through the summer to keep your hens bug free.
June - Enjoy! Long summer nights means the hens and ducks won’t go to bed till late! If they outlasting you a night start giving them a handful of corn when you want them to go in and he they will go in straight away. Hens normally go to bed half a hour before dark so in summer months it can be 11pm and winter months its 4pm
July - Holiday Care. What do you do with the girls whilst your away? Simple. Bribe your neighbours with the odd box of egg throughout the year and how can they resist looking after your girls when you go away - and of course, they get more eggs!
August - More worming and dusting! Us this month to get up to date with any healthcare issues. Add plenty of crushed fresh garlic or powdered garlic to the water to keep the flies away during the hot weather.
September - Grass Shortage approaching! You may want to ‘rest’ an area of run so you girls have a fresh area for winter or purchase a couple of bags of untreated bark and store ready to put down in the run if it gets soggy later in the year.
October - Get your housing ready. With the bad weather approaching, have a good look at the house and make sure there are no damp spots or draft areas. Look at the roof, and any pop holes to make sure fitting and fixtures are secure. If you live in a windy area this may be blown open during the night if the house is of poor quality.
November - Coping with the moult. Hens (and cocks!) can not be the brightest! They choose this time of year to drop their feathers and re-feather - This is called the ‘moult’. You may loose your egg supply and the girls may look a little scruffy and ‘bare bottomed’ for a while. But the will soon refeather and come back laying brand new eggs. During this tough time try and give extra vitamins. Poultry Spice is the perfect product for this time.
December - Weekend girls! Dark winter nights might mean you only see your girls at the weekend if you work full time. hand little treats in the pen area so they get extra nutrients. And a little peek and cuddle whilst there asleep won’t do any harm.
Just remember, keeping chickens is farming in your back garden, and finding eggs everyday is like finding gold