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Tasks for chicken keepers this March

This spring, keeping chickens

March tasks for anyone who keeps chickens


It way it's the start of the most exciting period of the chicken keeper's year as hens come into lay with the daylight hours increasing, and with the prospect of egg production reaching its highest point between now and August.


There's oodles to do this month. Deal with any wet and mud on miserable days to keep your birds happy and take advantage of a fine day to thoroughly spring clean your hen house. Be on the lookout for lice, rat and mice invasions.


Watch your birds, too - they should be laying well and producing perfect eggs if healthy. Eggs with wrongly shaped or rough shells can indicate that your chickens are suffering from disease or nutritional imbalance. Supplements such as NAF Detoxerol are useful at this time, acting as nutritional prebiotics, antioxidants and vitamin supplements – formulated as a liquid feed it can be mixed with your chickens' drinking water.


If you have decided it is time to increase your stocks or that you need to replace your birds to keep getting eggs and want to hatch your own, you have the choice of using a broody hen or an incubator. Chicken egg incubators have the edge over broody hens in that you have control over the hatching and can hatch eggs anytime you like without having to wait for a hen to go broody.


Find a suitable egg incubator for beginners, such as the one that comes with the Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator Starter Kit An automatic incubator is better than a manual one if you don't have sufficient time to spare to attend to the eggs over the 21 days required for successful hatching.


Your eggs will need turning at least three times a day. Ensure that this is done on an odd number of turns to stop them resting the same way two nights in a row, otherwise you could lose the embryos; an automatic incubator will do this for you.


Having a fan assisted incubator is also invaluable as the temperature at the centre of the eggs needs to remain at a particular level and the incubator fan circulates the air around the incubator keeping the temperature constant. A candling lamp is also a must as it helps you to monitor the development of the eggs. Being able to watch the hatching process is a real treasure!


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Mole Valley Farmers

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