Autumn Moulting

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As Autumn draws in, it’s essential to prepare your flock for a potentially trying part of their year, and it always rolls around much quicker than we anticipate, especially with the recent hot spell we’ve had!

Gut health check:

It’s really important that your birds enter this difficult time as healthy as possible, and gut checks or worming are an important part of this. I usually worm or faecal test my flock in September – the last one before the winter. So order in your faecal testing kits now, before the last- minute rush starts. You can order these online from websites such as Westgate Labs. This excellent service delivers you with an email about 36 hours after you posted off the sample, letting you know whether it’s necessary to worm your birds this time around. We would always recommend that you worm your flock with a licensed wormer such as Flubenvet, which is available as pre-medicated feed pellets from a licensed supplier. Your birds’ gut flora will need supporting while you worm and for a week afterwards – this is strong medicine! I add Nettex Herbal Gut Conditioner to their water during that week of treatment, and a couple of times in the following week. This will enable their gut health to bounce right back after worming.

Don’t forget to time your worming with a run clear-out, so that you can give the slabs under the litter a good scrub and then powder with Nettex Ground Sanitising Powder before laying fresh, dry litter. This will clear the ground off any worm eggs and will help you break the cycle. 

Moulting:

Americans call this season ‘Fall’, so I wonder if they are all chicken keepers as this is traditionally when egg production and feathers both start to ‘fall’; both of these are triggered by the lessening daylight hours, which provide a smaller window for feeding and the nutrition essential for making both eggs and feathers. My chickens have already had a small moult, which was set off by that darker, wet period a couple of weeks back.

This time can put an immense amount of stress on their immune systems and unless you support your birds nutritionally, they can fall prey to otherwise minor infections. In fact, a very bad moult has been known to cause neurological issues, which can usually be remedied with a good dose of B vits (as seen in both NutriDrops and Vit Boost).

So add Vit Boost to their water during the moulting season until they have a full set of feathers again.  Remember that a chicken who is growing through lots of new feathers, in their quills, will be quite sore, so keep handling to a minimum until they have feathered back up.