We keep a small clutch of hens, just over half a dozen, for eggs. They are a variety of breeds, from Bard Rock, Marley, Light Sussex, Rhode Island Red and rescued battery hens. I think their breed is a hybrid Rhode Island Red X. They are old breeds and pets more than anything. It’s lovely to see and hear them forage in the garden. We keep them in a small enclosure, with nest box and roost ark, with open mesh caged space that can be wheeled around on new grass everyday. When it was sold to us we were told it could house 10 hens, we had 6 at the time and we felt that they still didn’t have enough space, so we doubled the outdoor caged area. Their food is given to them in a suspended feeder, and we tacked a small tray onto the inside of the mesh to feed them crushed egg shells to help them with their calcium intake.
For drinking water we have two 1 litre bottles hung up inside the run, with poultry drinkers (chicken nipples), we laugh at that, but that’s what they are. These ingenious little devices allow the hens to get a clean drink of water, that isn’t contaminated by their often dirty beaks, and the pecking on the nipple, helps reduce the instance of them pecking each other. These can happen if they are confined in a tiny space, unlike our run which is spacious and has difference areas. It makes it convenient to add apple cider vinegar or silver water to help maintain their good health. We were so impressed by them, we imported a limited stock to sell on, we also make a Silver Water Generator. Silver is a great natural antibiotic.
We let them out to roam the garden whenever possible, when avian flu bans are not in place. 🙁
I can’t tell you the shock and horror we felt when we discovered that the layers pellets we got recently contained 20% GMO and two additives to turn the yolks yellow. We had also been feeding them wheat, but it wasn’t labelled, so we had no idea if it was GMO or not. It has forced us to take action and source guaranteed organic feed. Delighted to find a good fit, a family run, organic grower and supplier in Kilkenny #RobinsGlen https://robinsglen.ie of organic poultry and other animal feeds.
With expansion of understanding in terms of health, the negative effects of GMO and chemical additives and their contribution to leaky guy syndrome, food intolerances and allergies, inflammatory conditions, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type II Diabetes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Diverticulitis and general fatigue and Depression etc. Non organic feeds may contain Glyphosate a herbicide routinely sprayed on some food crops. Currently in Ireland, growers don’t have to declare what chemicals have been used, when growing. So if in doubt leave it out of the trolleys. We are what we eat.
We have been giving the new feed, these past few days and the hens are delighted with it. We chose the most popular product, their Whole Organic Poultry Mix. It contains mixed grains, peas.