Preparing for bird flu

There  is a constant threat of a bird flu out break. But in the U.K it is more likely to break out in the winter since birds are migrating to England for winter. So we should always be careful and aware of avian influenza. Here are some tips to prevent your flock being affected by the flu…

  • Make sure that wild birds and waterfowl can’t get into contact with your flock. Wether this means keep in them in spacious ventilated sheds or even just making a temporary netted run to keep out wild birds.
  • Keeping the feeders and waters under cover and making them unecssesable by wild birds is vital.
  • If you can cover the area you keep your birds in with a roofing material such as tarpaulin to prevent birds droppings falling into your coop.
  • Keep your coop clean and use disinfectant.
  • Wash your foot wear and any and vehicles before entering the area you keep your birds.
  • Try not to Intergrate too many new birds from markets as markets are perfect places for bird flu to be distributed.
  • Contact your vet if any birds as seeming poorly even if you think it may not be th Flu.
  • Try to deter rodents.
  • Keep your birds entertained when kept enclosed ~ See Here on how to hentertain your flock.

Hopefully there will not be any out breaks this year but keep updated by DEFRA . 

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    Sum-up Sundays 25/06/17

    Recently I’ve been writing a lot of educational posts. When I first started theurbanhens it was really just to share experiences that we encounter with our chickens so I thought I’d bring back weekly updates in the form of sum-up Sundays where each Sunday I’ll summarise the weeks events and gossip from the coop. Wether it be a short catch up or a big essay I’ll be here each Sunday with the latest news from theurbanhens. As our first sum-up Sunday we have a rather sad thing to tell you. Today we lost one of our quail; this morning my mum found the quail Nick-named “funny eyes” (because of her eye deformity that didn’t get her down, she was one of our most craziest and likely  happiest quail) cowering in the corner of the run this afternoon she died peacefully- fly high little funny eyes you may of been tiny but you had a big  personality and will be very missed 🕊.

    Funny eyes with one of the other quail greeting me,as she did every morning.
    been a busy weekend aswell yesterday I moved the chicks into the run with the larger chickens, I also wrote a blog about it too https://theurbanhens.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/img_1212.jpg and so far theyve been alright but some times Autumn or Maia will give the chicks the odd peck so I created a safe area for them (I talk about this more in the blog) so they can go and relax without a bully harassing them. But this also has the beneficial factor that I can keep the birds feeds seperate. Since the chicks or should I say growers  have just been moved onto growers pellets mixed with the usual chick crumb (so they can get used to eating just the growers pellets) I can put their food in their safe area so the older chooks won’t be gobbling it down! I also found a worm in the omlet cube whilst cleaning it out, it’s the first time I’ve seen a worm in the chickens droppings. So now I’m going to mix 6 grams of flubevent domestic poultry wormer in 3kg of the adults feed and continue to do this for 7 days. Flubevent also has no egg withdraw meaning I can still eat the eggs. Once I cleaned out the coops I refreshed them with shavings and lavender; this herbs smell is relaxing for the hens and repels insects. I hope you enjoyed the first sum up Sunday if you did why not comment what you’ve been getting up to this week 🐓

    Hentertainment 

    Our hens are happy in their run and whenever I get the chance I let them out into the garden to have a dust bathe and just generally enjoy themselves while destroying the garden in the process! But it’s important to keep your birds wether it be chickens, quail or any other poultry occupied. If birds are left in a bare run – no matter how big it is – they will soon get bored this can cause feather pecking and bulling and even depression your egg numbers may decrecrease any you flock won’t be exercising as much either. It’s easy to keep your flock entertained here are some tips you could use….

    1. Give your birds  the 5* luxury accommodation it can be cheap too: some branches and logs make great perches in a run that your hens will enjoy and soil mixed with a little bit of D.E makes a great dust bathe and straw to scratch about in.
    2. Treats are a great and nutritious, both you and the birds will benefit from these. A luettice you won’t use can be hung up with string you hens will love pecking at this the same goes for any other poultry friendly fruit and veg. Corn scattered in the straw or soil will encourage the birds to enjoy digging around aswell as wearing down their claws the eggs will also be nice and rich from the corn. And bird feeders you may use for fat balls can be filled with spinach or hentastic treats which our chooks love!
    3. Mineral blocks can be purchased cheaply and are full of vitamins and minerals, grit and all your birds favourite corns you flock will love them.- you can also DIY and I’m the summer make ice blocks: freeze mixed corn, peas, sweetcorn and other goodies with water put it in the freezer a ta-da a refreshing tasty ice block to not only give your hens something fun to do but cooling and hydrating them at the same time 🙂

    I hope this helps you as boredom can be a real problem especially in ” lock down ” when bird flu is about luckily we now can let out birds to free range or into a uncovered run due to restrictions being lifted Aswell as being a problem when it’s muddy and wet and the birds have nothing to do.If you’ve got any boredum busters comment below well love to hear your ideas! 

    Wintering quail on a urban scale.

    We have six egg laying female quail who live in our back garden, they like to dust bathe and hide in the straw playing chase on the warm summer months but when winter encroaches the quail need some slight changes in their care. Originally quail would fly over to Africa for winter, yes you heard me right, tiny quail flapping with their little wings all the way to AFRICA! But let’s face it who wouldn’t rather go on holiday to Africa when winter in England can be so bitter. But our girls being domestic can’t make that journey across the challenging seas so we have to try and keep them warm and mostly dry. But we didn’t  have the time, space or money to build a ideal housing situation such as a shed so we’ve got some simple steps we’ve taken to keep them happy over winter.

    • Covering them up. Our quail are in a old chicken run which already has plastic sheeting on the roof but we’ve used a table cloth to give the sides of the run extra cover from wind and rain.
    • Adding a deep layer of straw in the run, this not only can keep them warm but also creates cover from wind and enchanted their environment and natural behaviour eg. burrowing into the straw. Remember if this bedding gets wet it will need to be changed to keep them dry.
    • Adding a house. Quail don’t seem to enter their house at night so if the forecast for the night is unbelievably cold, then placing your quail in the house and retaining them from coming out till the morning is best for them, also adding a extra house. We’ve used the tortoise house as this has a lager door which quail prefer. Also tunnels and Guinea pig play housing are good to use it means if you are unable to shut them away they still have extra shelter.

    People say that quail eat more when out in the cold. I think that really it’s not changed. They eat the food in the summer for  to lay eggs and eat the same amount but just aren’t laying their putting it towards the energy to pull through, this is the reason naturally kept quails eggs will be more expensive since they’re not laying in the winter and can be a bit hit and miss in the summer still when they do lay the eggs they do taste amazing! 

    All about quail

        If you have read our about page you will know we keep quail. Six to be precise. The breed of quail we have are Japanese as they are the best egg breed and that’s why we keep them. We got our quail from Melton Mowbray market in February 2016 we didn’t have a bidding card but we managed to buy them for twelve pounds once the bidding stopped as no one had brought them. All our quail are females and because their Japanese we decided to call them Yoko,Tokyo,noodles,sushi,bonsia and kimono.

      We keep our quail in a long nearly three meter run. Inside the run we have a house,feeder and drinker,tunnel,dust bath thick clump of grass/plants.the house is about 6×5 enough room for them also all you need in the house is saw dust no perches,no nest boxes. This is because they are ground nesting birds they even may lay out side. The dust bath is just a tray that we used for stationary filled with buggie sand from wilkos :). The tunnel is a cardboard tunnel used for guniea pigs but it’s perfect for them to play with. We have a 2cm deep bowl for there water and a medium plastic feeder used for chickens that you can buy at pets at home, moles and a poultry farm.  We feed our quail on a quail feed from our local pet store S.A.P.S but you can buy online or find a pet store near you that sells their feed. We occasionally give our quail millet and sweet corn. Also inside the run are is a clump of thick grass to give them shelter. I will write a longer more detailed piece but that’s the basics to keeping quail:). Don’t forget to like us on Facebook “theurbanhens”

    Keep your eyes peeled for more posts but for now why not check out our others 🙂