Every box of eggs we sell in the run up to Easter will be accompanied by one of these ladies, guarding their clutch.
Keeping the chux in during the avian flu scare has been hard for all of us. The one benefit is that the girls have had to lay in the nest boxes so we’ve been able to collect all the eggs without every day turning into an egg hunt.
Once the restrictions are over, we’ll need to turn our attention to isolating Bilbo and his girls so we can collect hatching eggs. We didn’t breed any chicks last year as 2015’s bumper ‘crop’ of 13 out of 14 incubated eggs caught us on the hop so we were pretty close to the limit when we have to notify DEFRA and become ‘official’. This time we think we’ll only do four French Copper Marans and three Cream Legbar or vice versa.
Yesterday was supposed to be the last day of the Prevention Zone measures against Avian Flu so I scheduled ‘worming week’ to coincide with it. When treating chickens with FLubonvet, you have to keep the birds confined so that they have to eat the powder-coated layers’ pellets you provide rather than their usual omniverous diet of grass, worms, unsuspecting slow worms etc. It was a case of killing two birds with one stone (a rather unfortunate pun).
However, last Wednesday, DEFRA extended the Prevention Zone until the end of February. I appreciate that there isn’t a lot they can do apart from tell us to maintain bio-security protocols, especially since they are blaming migratory wild birds, but there will have to come a time when the restrictions are lifted regardless. Maybe we just have to accept that the disease is endemic and live with the consequences. In the meantime, we have to deal with frustrated chickens who are used to being free-range.
Happy New Year everyone! And it’s got off to a good start as the girls have so far laid 8 eggs, their best effort since 5th October. They’re still upset about being kept in the pen due to the avian flu threat but only another week to go unless DEFRA extend the measures.