Friday, 13 November 2015

Chickens and Mud - Using Hardwood Woodchip to Keep Your Chicken Run Clean

This week will be roughly a year since we laid hardwood woodchip down for our girls in their poultry runs to keep them out of the mud, clean and happy. In our Blog a year ago we talked about how to look after the woodchip in your run to make it last (and you can check out the Blog "How to Get the Most from Your Hardwood Woodchip for You and Your Birds").
Chicken Runs and Mud
This week however we are changing the woodchip for a fresh layer, cleaning the area and making sure we have a dry layer between our chickens feet and any mud that might lurk below. With the arrival of long pantalooned Brahma hens over the summer to FSF HQ, the last thing that we want is for them to be dragging the hems of their trousers through the mud.

Flyte so Fancy Hardwood WoodchipWe start by removing all of the year-old hardwood woodchip from the run and we put our old used woodchip onto the flower beds. With the bare earth now exposed, we broadcast a liberal scattering of Flyte Coop and Run Sanitising Powder over the earth. Being super absorbant, it contains Yucca and Halamid and a DEFRA approved disinfectant powder for killing germs. Equally you can use Net-Tex Ground Sanitising Powder, great for drying out and killing any worms or larvae in the run. 

Having used the Coop and Run Sanitiser, it is time to lay the fresh hardwood woodchip. From a new supplier our improved hardwood woodchip has a nominal particle size of 10-40mm, doesn't contain recycled wood waste or bark mulch (which just turns to slime when wet) and is a sustainable eco-friendly floor for your poultry run. 

Chickens and MudHow to work out how much you need for your run. 

A sack of woodchip weighs somewhere between 12kg to 15kg depending on moisture content and will cover on estimate around 10 sq ft with a depth of 2" - 3". 10 sq feet is an area 10ft by 1ft or approximately 1 metre by 1 metre.

To calculate your run area, times the length of your chicken run by the width then divide by 10, which will tell you how many bags you need. For example a 9ft x 9ft run needs 8 bags.

9 x 9 = 81, divide by 10 = 8 bags.

If you're not currently using hardwood woodchip in your run, or have any questions about setting up or swapping over your woodchip for the wet wintery days ahead, why not leave a comment below or phone us on 01300 345229 to speak to a member of our team.

Chickens
Chickens and Woodchip

Thanks for Reading
James

Monday, 24 August 2015

The Annie's Coop

Not all of us have acres of space, a paddock or even a field for our hens to cavort, promenade or scratch around. Some of us, myself included only have our back garden for our chickens to stretch their feathers in and when that is the case you need a small practical coop that isn't going to take up too much room while still providing space enough to swing a cat, should your chickens want too.

Flylte so Fancy Chicken Coops
The Annie's Chicken Coop
A small flock of three hens can still provide plenty of garden entertainment and pleasure as pets as well as enough eggs to keep the cupboard well stocked for breakfast soldiers, lunchtime omelettes and dinnertime quiche. With a small flock you only need a small coop and after many requests for a small coop for the back garden chicken keeper the Boss Phill designed the Annie's Coop,  which has proved popular with hen keepers with an economy of space year after year.

With raised maisonette living for three medium sized birds, the inside of the coop has both removable perches and a separate nest box with privacy wall, to provide luxuriant living. The staircase leading up to the living quarters also doubles up as the door, so when the door is up, your girls are safe and sound for the evening.

Underneath the house is a sheltered area for your hens to take refuge from the rain or sunshine. it makes an equally good spot for feeders and drinkers, keeping them safe from the elements. Access into the coop is through a large hinged door at the back, which when it comes to the weekly clean, allows you to get right into the coop and clean it out.

Should you wish at a later date to keep your girls a little more enclosed and not give them free reign of the garden flowerbeds, then an additional run to the front of the coop is just the ticket. Coming in either a 6ft or 9ft long option, the runs fit snugly onto the front of the coop. Made from 19 gauge inch by half inch European weldmesh on solid timber framing, the runs are both strong and secure and will prevent foxes, badgers and any other predators from breaking in to your girls.

A small chicken coop like this allows more and more of us to have a few hens strolling around the garden and its compact, cleverly designed nature means it is ideal for the urban garden or cottage garden alike.

Residents of the Flyte so Fancy Poultry Paddock
Small Flock of Silver Sangled Hamburgs
Made from Scandinavian Redwood (that has been pressure treated with Tanalith-E to put it good against fungus and rot for up to fifteen years) of joinery grade quality, the hen house will last in your garden for many years. Equally the ramp / door is produced from high quality plywood, that is strong enough to take the daily climb to and from bed. The fixtures and fittings on the coop are made from galvanised metal of the highest quality and in conjunction with the high quality timber, make this a durable but charming little chicken coop.

If you have any questions about our smaller chicken coops, or one of our hen houses in general, why not leave a comment below or phone 01300 345229 to speak to a member of the Flyte So Fancy team.


Thanks for Reading
James

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Chicken Jungle Gym

We're all on a bit of a health drive here at Flyte so Fancy HQ. Gone are the biscuits and cakes to be replaced with fruits, while lunchtimes now consist of fresh salads and home-made soups. I'm sure it wont be long before we start a company wide morning Tai Chi session, or a Wake-n-Shake warm up like they do at the local Primary School.


We aren't the only ones getting in shape however, with the FSF flock ready to drop the winter weight, stretch their tail feathers and get fit. Luckily the chickens in the field have several of our Flyte so Fancy Chicken Jungle Gyms set up to help with their new drive health drive.

The Chicken Jungle Gym is perfect for hens looking for entertainment, exercise or merely somewhere just to perch and pass the time. The Jungle Gym comes with everything a chicken needs, ramps and ladders for climbing with multi-level perches so a hen can have a rest after all the strenuous exercising.

The Jungle Gym also comes with hanging points for treats and feeders (perhaps somewhat defeating the point of all this exercise) to help keep your flock happy and feeling tip-top. Finally the little roof on top will keep the rain from your hens backs and the sun from their heads.

Made from our usual pressure treated timbers and incredibly sturdy to stand up to years of use by all manner of hens, the Flyte so Fancy flock absolutely love it and can often be seen climbing all over it. In fact if you visit the shop, you will regularly see our  Gold Hamburg cockerel sat on the roof of one in our display area, with his ladies perched around him.

The Chicken Jungle Gym is great for paddocks and also for Poultry Protection Pens, as it provides something for chickens to do, climbing, perching and exploring, everything a chicken loves to do. Plus with our current health kick (not sure how much longer that will last. Biscuits are calling to me) it helps to keep all members of the FSF Team looking trim and fit.

If you have any questions about our chicken perch and activity centres you can leave a question below or call us 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the Flyte so Fancy Team.


Thanks for Reading
James

Friday, 17 July 2015

Hens and Hot Weather - Some Top Tips

It has been hot here in Dorset over the last few months. Well, it is summer after all. Of course it hasn't always being iridescent rays beaming down. However it has been hot, muggy, close and all round general ice cream weather.

Flyte so Fancy Chicken Blog
A Hen Enjoying the Sunshine
As I write this however the sun is beaming down on myself and the chickens, ducks and geese in the Flyte so Fancy poultry paddock (laptops really are a wonderful invention) and while I enjoy a cold glass of lemonade to keep refreshed, my feathered friends are not so lucky.

Chicken Blog - Flyte so Fancy
Chickens in the FSF Field
Of course the ducks and geese just belly-flop onto the pond when they're feeling a bit warm, leaving the poor hens feeling the heat. But this weeks blog is some top tips for helping your chickens through these hot summer months.
  1. Shade, make sure your hens have plenty of it. Hens don't sweat like we do so they need lots of cool, covered shaded areas to help keep themselves cool during sunny and hot days. The Chicken Shelter, traditionally viewed as a way to keep the rain off our hens heads, also provides the most excellent shaded spot for a chicken to keep refreshed. 
  2. Water, make sure that your hens have plenty of fresh water to drink. A chicken will on average on a day drink somewhere between 200ml to 300ml of water (approx 1/2 a pint) a day. Factor in a hot sunny day and you can see soon your drinker emptying, leaving your poultry parched. A nice big poultry drinker with plenty of fresh water will keep your girls happy. Also try to keep your drinker in the shade to keep water cool and to prevent algae build up
  3. Double check your Hen House for Red Mite. Red Mite love hot damp weather (and considering the British summer involves a certain amount of rain) the summer months can see a red mite problem arise in your coop, as if from nowhere. Giving the coop a thorough clean with a slightly stronger red mite eradicator, like the Net-Tex Total Mite Kill, will help prevent the problem from ever occurring. 
  4. Make sure that your hens have somewhere for dustbathing. Either set them up a dustbath or if they have a favourite place encourage them to use it. Lice can be a problem during slightly hotter weather and will be cleaned from feathers during a dustbath, a few handfuls of diatom added into the dustbath will help clean their feathers while they bathe. 
  5. During the hot weather, a handful of greens (not too much mind you) can be a great addition to your birds diet, a nice tasty cabbage leaf rich in iron can for example give a great boost to your girls. Be careful not to over feed them on greens though. 
Keeping hens happy in hot weather is a relatively simple and easy to achieve with a little care and extra attention. If you have your own top tip for helping chickens through hot weather then please share it with us in the comments below or if you have any questions, phone us on 01300 345 229 to speak to a member of the Flyte so Fancy team.


Thanks for Reading
James

Friday, 19 June 2015

Gold Laced Sebright Hens - A Poultry Guide

If you visit our Barn Shop here at FSF, you will on your walk from the car park to the door, pass a Flyte Aviary 8 Hen House and its auric feathered residents, the FSF Gold Laced Sebright Hens. These inquisitive little birds spend their days scratching around the woodchip, snoozing on the Aviary's day perches and taking interest in the customers as they walk by.

Gold Laced Sebrights
Gold Laced Sebrights
The Sebright is one of the few true bantam breeds, meaning they have no larger equivalent. The bird was first breed by Sir John Sebright in the 19th century and it took several years of selective breeding to get the exact pattern to the feathers that he wanted. The exact birds used to make the Sebright are unknown, but thoughts are that a buff bantam was crossed with hennie game fowl for the gold colour and a white rose comb cockerel for the silver.

Our Sebright Hens draw many admiring glances due to the wonderful gold lacing to their feathers, and all feathers need to have this lacing for it to be a true Sebright. The colour of the feathers can change from place to place, from pale to dark.

Day Peches Flyte so Fancy Hen House
Day Perches of the Flyte Aviary 8 
Type: True Bantam
Eggs: 50 to 80 white eggs per year
Colours: Gold and Silver colours standardised in the UK

The Gold Sebright hens have lived here at FSF HQ for nearly two years and do so quite happily in their Flyte Aviary 8. The Flyte Aviary 8 has some well thought out features for both the chicken and the poultry keeper.

For the hens it has day perches (a great place to sit, soak up the sun and have a chicken chat), a large airy run with plenty of room for them to stretch their wings and the raised living area provides a nice covered spot for our Gold Sebrights to shelter from the rain and shade themselves from the sun.

Chicken Blogs
Gold Laced Sebright 
For the poultry keeper the Aviary Hen House comes with all of its access on one side, making it ideal for putting in those lost garden corners or up against a fence. It also comes with a large access door right into the coop area, an external nest box for easy egg collection and a completely removable floor to make cleaning quick and simple.

So next time you visit the shop take a moment to stop outside the Gold Sebright's hen house and say hello, they will probably ignore you entirely as they snooze upon their perches, but you will be able to enjoy the wonderful lacing of their plumage.

If you have any questions about our hen houses why not leave a comment below or phone 01300 345229 to talk to a member of our team.


Thanks for Reading
James


Friday, 12 June 2015

Five Great Tips for Rearing Chicks

Very early in the year we had a determined hen who sat on her clutch of eggs and refused to move, eventually and sadly she only managed to hatch out one egg. Fast forward a couple of months, the days are longer, the sun is shining (occasionally) and the Flyte so Fancy hens and ducks are in full egg hatching mode.

A week or so ago the wild duck who lives on our pond hatched out a tiny flotilla of seven ducklings. Shortly after, a clutch of Gold Hamburg chicks hatched out and we have now discovered a Cayuga Duck sitting very tightly on a nest in the middle of an un-mown clump of nettles and long grass. More ducklings to follow shortly it would seem.

Flyte so Fancy Incubating and Rearing Chicks
Our Cayuga Cross Ducklings from 2014
With all these exciting little bundles of fluff popping up all over Flyte so Fancy, this weeks blog has five top tips for rearing chicks
  1. The best thing to feed your chicks from the moment they hatch is Chick Crumb. Make sure that you put the feed in a container which the chicks cannot tip over or scratch the feed out of. 
  2. Water needs to be provided for chicks, but make sure that you put it in a drinker or a container in which they cannot drown. A good idea is to fill the bottom of your drinker with marbles or clean washed stones to prevent this. 
  3. If you're using a heat lamp instead of a contact brooder, turn it on a couple of days before they hatch, this will give the area time to warm up for your hatching chicks.
  4. If you have been using a hen to hatch and rear your chicks, then you can remove her from them at around four weeks old. However you should leave the chicks together until they are eight weeks old and then move them from their Broody Coop and into a larger house.
  5. If you are raising your chicks under a heat lamp make sure it is positioned correctly. Too high and the chicks will be cold, evident from their huddling in a mass in the center. Too low and they will burn, fleeing to the edges of their container to avoid the heat. 
Hatching and Rearing Chicks
A FSF Chick
Rearing your own chicks can be a very rewarding process and we have many hens and cockerels here at Flyte so Fancy HQ which have hatched and lived here in our poultry paddock all their lives. 

If you would like more information about rearing chicks, or ducks, have a look at our information page on Incubation and Chick Rearing, leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345220 to talk to a member of the Flyte so Fancy Team.


Thanks for Reading
James


Friday, 5 June 2015

Flyte so Fancy's Cayuga Ducks

As many of you know (and by now are probably tired of hearing) the Cayuga crosses that we hatched out in the FSF field a year or so ago, are among my absolute favourite of the feather friends that live with us here in our quiet little corner of Dorset.

Timber Duck Housing Flyte so Fancy
Our Cayuga Ducklings and their Floating Duck Lodge Home
Following last weeks blog about the few things that you need to keep to start keeping ducks or to add a few into your existing flock of chickens (if you have the room), this weeks blog is self indulgently focused on Cayuga Ducks.

Cayuga Ducks take their name from Lake Cayuga in New York State and have wonderful black feathers that shine iridescent green when the sun shines upon them. Female Cayuga can "go grey" as they get older, developing white feathers as they age. Our Cayuga ducks here are crossed with Cherry Valleys from the FSF field and so our quackers are a mix of black and white feathers.

The Cayuga duck is a good utility bird, as both a table bird and for egg laying. The first eggs that a Cayuga lays can be very dark, almost black in colour, but they do fade over time and subsequent laying. Classified as a heavy duck, a Cayuga will lay around eighty to 160 eggs per year.

Duck Houses
Our Cayuga Ducks All Grown Up
Our Cayuga's live on the Flyte so Fancy pond, in one of our Floating Duck Lodges. Built on a hexagonal float, the Duck Lodge provides secure home for six pairs of nesting ducks. The timber float is packed with polystyrene so that it floats inch-perfect for the ducks to step out of the pond, and some handy additional steps, mean our Cayuga's happily dabble away the day on their veranda.

The roof of the Duck Lodge is removable to make cleaning easy and a floating duck house is a great way to give your ducks security and comfort from predators, all you need is a large enough pond to float it on.

Timber Waterfowl Housing
The Cayuga's Enjoying A Splash Around
Keeping ducks in the garden can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Ducks have wonderful, playful characters and will bring plenty of life and energy to your garden. They also happen to be great foragers, hoovering up slugs and snails alike. Their eggs are larger than chickens and some breeds of ducks can lay as frequently as hens. Most breed of domestic ducks only require a small amount of water too, a large washing up bowl that you can move around your garden and re-fill easily will keep them happy and avoid your ducks making your garden a quagmire.

The Cayuga ducks here at Flyte so Fancy have been favourites of mine since they first hatch and if you have any questions on keeping ducks or duck housing, why not leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the FSF team.


Thanks for Reading
James


Saturday, 30 May 2015

The Puddleduck Duck House and Keeping Ducks

The ducks that live on the FSF pond are a particular favourite of mine. From the Cayuga / Cherry Valley crosses that hatched out last year, to our old Saxony mallard, there is something about their mocking quacks and waddling shuffles, that I find most endearing.

Recently we have had a lot of calls from people looking to add a few ducks to their back garden flock. They are however very different from chickens and have a few differing requirements to keep them happy and quacking away.

Puddleduck Duck House
Puddleduck Duck House
Ducks if confined to a small area will quickly make mud. A lot of mud. However, equally they will wander far and wide given half a chance.  Ducks do not also necessarily need a large pond to keep them happy, breeds like Runner Ducks only require a large washing up bowl size of water in which to dunk themselves. Here are a few pros and cons to keeping ducks

Pros
  • Ducks have great character and are very amusing to watch.
  • Most breads only require a small amount of water to be happy.
  • Certain breeds of duck are prolific egg layers, laying right through the winter months.
  • Ducks tend not to suffer red mite. There feathers are too thick and oiled to attract the chicken pest.
  • Excellent destroyer of garden pests like slugs and bugs.
  • They will lay eggs anywhere.
Cons
  • Ducks are messy. If kept in an area of your garden they will turn it to mud.
  • Ducks require plenty of fresh water for cleaning and bathing. You have to regularly change this water to avoid disease. 
  • Certain breeds of ducks can be very noisy, i.e Call Ducks. 
  • They will lay eggs anywhere.
Ducks by the FSF Pond - Blog
FSF Ducks
One of the most popular Duck Houses, that we make here in the Flyte so Fancy workshop, is the Puddleduck Duck House. Made from our high quality Scandinavian Redwood timber they are durable enough to stand up to a ducks messy life style, while looking charming and natural within a garden or by a pond.

The Puddleduck Duck House is ideal for people looking to add one or two waterfowl to the family. It suits Call Ducks and Ornamental Ducks or Mallards, whilst the large Puddleduck Duck House will house two Aylesbury-size ducks or two Indian Runners.  With a large entrance door on the front, the access ramp also doubles up as a predator proof door once shut. The hinged roof of the Puddleduck also allows access right into the house, making cleaning incredibly easy.
Flyte so Fancy Duck Lodge
Flyte so Fancy Duck Lodge

Being messier than the average chicken, you will want to make sure you put down a thicker layer of bedding for ducks, remember they do not perch like a chicken would. The Puddleduck Duck House also comes with ventilation grills in the back. Not minding if they track mud in with them, as well as other mess, a duck house requires good solid ventilation.

Like chickens, you should never keep just one duck and certain breeds are good layers, providing a good quantity of eggs all year around. Ducks require water for cleaning themselves, especially for dunking their heads so they can wash their eyes and there are specific feeds for waterfowl available (although ours here at Flyte so Fancy are quite happy to eat Layers Pellets with the hens).

Keeping a few ducks can be a great addition to a flock and they have such wonderful laid back characters, that you will quickly become a favourite, just like the FSF ducks are to me.

If you have any questions about duck housing or the things you'll need for keeping ducks, please leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the FSF team.


Thanks for Reading
James


Friday, 15 May 2015

Worming Your Chickens - Flubenvet and Verm-X

Over the last few weeks we've had several phone calls from people asking about poultry worms and the best way to deal with them. It seems with the slightly wetter weather, the sun spending at least some of its time not behind a rain cloud and a warm breeze, everything is coming to life in the garden.

Flyte so Fancy Worming Your Chickens
Flubenvet 1%
Poultry worms should be treated as "one of those things" that can happen when you are keeping chickens. Poultry worms will of course affect the health of your bird, and you might witness them loosing weight due to the worm stealing all their nutrients, a drop in egg production or general listlessness.

If you suspect that your flock is suffering from worms then your first port of call should be a licensed wormer such as Flubenvet 1%. Flubenvet is a licensed product designed for the small poultry flock keeper. Available in a 60g pack, Flubenvet 1% will treat around twenty birds for a seven day period. It effectively kills all stages of worms common to poultry, and has the added advantage of suffering no egg withdrawal period, both during and after treatment.

Flubenvet can be prescribed by a vet or a specially qualified person so if you suspect that your girls have worms you should use Flubenvet straight away. Otherwise it can be a good idea to give your chickens a dose at the beginning of spring and then autumn to help kill off any worms your girls might have picked up. For more information on Flubenvet 1% CLICK HERE to view what PoultryKeeper.com have to say.
Flyte so Fancy Worming Prevention and Cure
Verm-X Herbal Remedies

There is also a herbal answer to the question of poultry worms, Verm-X for Poultry. As it contains no chemicals, it requires no license to be purchased and as such cannot label itself as a poultry "wormer". However, with continual use throughout the year, Verm-X helps promote a healthy gut inhospitable to poultry worms. As it is a 100% natural formula there is no egg withdrawal period and is merely applied to your hens feed or water for three days each month.

Verm-X comes in both a pellet form for adding to feed or a liquid supplement to put into drinkers. Both are equally effective, but I must admit a preference for the liquid version, as I never quite trust my greedy girls not to just eat around the Verm-X Pellets, in their quest to stuff their beaks.

If you are looking to worm as a treatment, then you will want to use Flubenvet 1% in the spring and autumn, however as a prevention, you could use the Verm-X on a monthly basis. A helpful addition to your shelf might also be a ground sanitising powder, perfect for killing off those worm eggs and larvae before they can become a problem.

For more information on identifying the most common worms to affect poultry have a look at our info page on Poultry Worms - Treat and Prevent. Or if you have a question why not leave a comment below or call 01300 345229 to speak to a member of our team.


Thanks for Reading
James




Friday, 8 May 2015

Coccidiosis in Chickens - Causes, Identification and Cure

If you flipped a coin it's a 50/50 chance you would guess correctly on what face the coin would fall. Equally if you keep chickens chances are sooner or later you will come into contact with Coccidiosis.

Coccidiosis is a disease caused by a coccidial oocyst, a microscopic parasite that when digested by the bird, attaches itself to the lining of the gut where it begins feeding, causing the chicken to bleed. Once a bird is infected, it will pass these parasites through its droppings where it can be picked up by other members of the flock.

But do not worry, the purpose of this blog is to help you identify a bird that may have been infected and then cure them.

Causes of Coccidiosis 
  1. Contaminated ground through transfer or natural occurrence.
  2. Dirty water, wet or damp bedding and areas around drinkers are especially prone. 
  3. Exposure through the droppings of another bird. 
Identifying Coccidiosis
  1. The bird is passing blood in their poo, this is from the oocyst attacking the gut lining. 
  2. Drop in egg production. 
  3. Listless chickens, droopy and hunched over, with ruffled feathers.
  4. Not feeding or drinking.
  5. Young birds are more prone to the infection and will die if not quickly treated. 
Curing Coccidiosis
Flyte so Fancy Blog
Coxoid
  1. Coxoid is a liquid treatment for pigeons that has been found to be effective in poultry. Put into their drinking water over 7 days at a rate of 28ml per 4.5 litres of water. This is powerful stuff and has a 28 day egg withdrawal period that should be followed
  2. A coccidial disinfectant, like Bi-OO-Cyst, should be used for cleaning the house. There is no point putting cured birds back into an infected house and a coccidial disinfectant will take care of any lingering coccidiosis parasites in your flock's coop. 
  3. You should follow up any treatment of Coxoid with a multi-vitamin tonic to help your flock get back on its feet. This must be given after and not at the same time. 
It is entirely possible that your flock will live quite happily with a mild infection of coccidiosis their whole lives, however the regular use of an Apple Cider Vinegar will help make your hens guts 'inhospitable' to this microscopic pest. 

With a little care and if yoour information page all about Coccidiosis in Chickens HERE, leave a comment or call a member of our team on 01300 345229.
u keep the house and run clean and dry, and keep feeders and drinkers hygienic, Coccidiosis may never be a problem for your flock. If you would like more in depth information you can read


Thanks for Reading
James

Friday, 24 April 2015

Electric Fencing Kits for Poultry Protection

Electric Fencing for Protecting Hens
Flyte so Fancy Chicken Paddock
Last week I wrote with some sadness how a recent power cut in our poultry paddock, let a fox break through our electric fence and attack our beloved cockerel, Sergeant Speckles. As many of you know, and thank you for the kind words we have received, Sergeant Speckles didn't make it and upon the power being turned back on and our electric fence running at full power once again, our poultry paddock is fully guarded.

Foxes are becoming increasingly brazen in what they will do for a tasty meal of our beloved feathered friends. Both country foxes and their urban brothers are becoming more prevalent during the day and with cubbing season happening at the moment, the hungry mouths to feed at home only make them bolder.

With this rise in fox activity it is an ideal time to check that your current electric fence is in tip-top order. A little electric fence tester, like the audible key ring tester from Hotline, is a quick and easy way to tell you if your fence has power in it. Equally, the slightly more advanced LED fence tester will show you if you have 1,000 or 10,000 volts running through your netting. An electric net will ideally be running with around 3,000 volts passing through it. Handy ways to make sure your electric fence keeps Mr Fox at bay.

New into Flyte so Fancy for 2015 are the Gated Netting Kits, coming in lengths of 16m, 25m or 50m. These kits contain everything you need, from corner posts, an earth stake and an energiser to keep your hens safe from predators. The dual power energiser in this kit allows for the poultry netting to be run off either mains power or through a battery, which gives great versatility in how you use the net.

The new Gated Netting Kits also come with a separate Hot-Gate system to allow access into the pen. This means even if you are using your net in a straight line, as opposed to a circle or square, to block off the end of a garden, you can still put the gate into one end of the netting, to give you easy access into your hens. A very handy feature.

Electric Fencing for Chickens
Electric Netting Kits for Chickens
Electric fencing is a great way to keep both your poultry safe and predators out. With the occasional checks and maintenance, and as long as you keep the net clear of surrounding vegetation and over-grown grass which will sap its power, electric fencing forms an effective barrier against foxes.

Here at Flyte so Fancy we have had an electric fencing system protecting our precious girls and boys down in the chicken field for well over 7 years and it wasn't until a power cut a week ago, that we had our first major fox incursion into our chicken field.

Electric fencing is a superb way to keep your girls safe while giving them some extra room to stretch their feathers. If you have any questions about electric fencing you can speak to a member of our team on 01300 345229 or leave a comment below.


Thank for Reading
James

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Month at Flyte So Fancy

Let me first of all apologise that it has been a month since the Flyte so Fancy Chicken Blog sat down to write about the goings on here at FSF HQ, tell you of new innovative products or try to give advise regarding the everyday concerns of chicken keepers.

You see, what happened was every time I sat down something came along to distract me. I hid in the poultry feed store for privacy. I took my laptop down to the chicken field in an attempt at peace. I even hid under the shop counter in an attempt to blog about my favourite items in the shop. All failed.

However, I suddenly find myself free from the avalanche of paper work that was on my desk, the sun shining and a general feeling of the dolce vita settling over the surrounding hills of Dorset. It has been a busy month here a Flyte so Fancy.

Hatching and Rearing Chicks
FSF Chicks Hatched in 2014
Firstly with Easter on the way there was a spectacular deal on 5kg Wise Feeders in our Easter Extravaganza Email. This brilliant little poultry feeder is a great way to cut down on feed waste from hens who like to throw their feed about and also due to it being able to be mounted at chicken head height, it also stops vermin being attracted to your girls food.

Then there was the launching of our 2015 Catalogue in March. I have been sealing envelopes and licking stamps ever since due to the popularity of our little book of everything you need for happy hens and if you want to request yours follow the link HERE.

Equally exciting was the hatching of our first chick of the year. I absolutely love this time of year and with several broody hens all sitting on Gold Laced Hamburg eggs (the bosses favourite) we're hoping it wont be long till we are ankle deep in cute chicks.

It is with sad news that I have to end this weeks blog, during a recent power cut as dusk was setting in and just before we normally head down to shut our hens up for the night, a fox managed to slip through our temporarily de-electrified net and wreak havoc in our chicken field. It is with sadness that I have to report that our beloved rooster Sergeant Speckles was a victim of Mr Fox.

Anti-Fox Electric Fencing
Sergeant Speckles
With the power restored and our electric fence now working at full capacity, we have conducted a full system check of the whole fence, and gone over it with a fine tooth comb to check that when the fox broke through the de-powered net, he didn't cause more permanent damage.

If you have an electric fence make sure that over grown grass or vegetation is not in contact with the net. This will drain the power right out of your net and leave it weak and ineffectual against predators. Finally make sure that there is no way a fox can jump over the top of your net. Foxes are great climbers, so if they can climb up on top of a bin for example and then jump over your net, they will.

Our hens are once again safe. A sad and unfortunate incident and some thing to bear in mind if your electric fence runs off the mains power supply.

As always here at Flyte so Fancy we are happy to talk about all things chickens so if you have a question for us why not email on info@flytesofancy.co.uk or call a member of our team on 01300 345229.


Thanks for Reading
James

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Introducing New Chickens To Your Flock

Here at Flyte so Fancy the chickens outnumber the staff at a ratio of about two to one. This is fine by us, especially considering the number of eggs that we get from the hard working hens, however it can raise a problem when introducing new hens into our peaceful flock.

The introduction of a new chicken into an existing group can be a difficult time for your flock, readily leading to the new birds being bullied. With the onset of Spring and perhaps the inclination to "expand" your flock growing, this weeks Flyte so Fancy blog offers some advice on the best way to integrate new hens into your chicken coop.

flyte so fancy blog
FSF Gold Sebrights
  • The traditional method involves being somewhat cunning and relying on your hens playing ball. If your flock is particularly placid, then one of the best ways to introduce new birds is at night after dark. Once your girls are on their perches, put the new hen into the chicken coop on the perches too. The result is that all the chickens wake up together, head out the pop-hole and go about the important business of finding breakfast. This is a simple and effective way to achieve integration. 
  • If you have a particularly bossy hen currently running the pecking order in your coop, then you might want to try a different tactic. One of the best ways to acclimatise chickens to each other is to let them see each other. If you have a separate run or small hen house that you can place next to your existing one, or a place within your run with a small house you can fence off for a few days, this is one of the best ways to introduce a new hen, as after awhile the existing flock are completely used to seeing the new hens and don't think twice about them. 
Broody Coop for Hens
A Broody Coop, great refuge for bullied hens
Boss Phill has some of his own top tips when it comes to introducing new hens into a flock
  1. Make sure that there are plenty of refuges for a new hen to hide in should it need to. A few cardboard boxes with an entrance hole cut out make excellent temporary bolt holes which you can then remove and recycle. 
  2. Increase the feeders and drinkers that you have in your run, so that your new hens will have access to food and water regardless of a bullying hen. 
  3. Be sure to let your hens out early to avoid new hens and the existing flock being confined in the house and to stop any sort of argy-bargy that then might occur. 
  4. If you have a bully hen remove her from the flock for a few days. She will lose her place in the pecking order and be re-introduced lower down the ranking. The bully hen is the problem, not the hens being bullied, so remove the bully. 
Following these few simple hints and tips means that introducing a new hen into your flock can be a simple and peaceful experience for you and your flock of girls. 

If you have any questions about introducing new hens in to your flock of chickens leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the team. 


Many Thanks
James

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs!!!

There have been moments over the last few weeks where the sun, raising it's weary head over the Dorset Vale in which Flyte so Fancy is hidden away in, has shone down with all the warmth and cheer of a summers day.

Of course this has been interspersed with days so cold and wet that I found every excuse possible to avoid going outside into the rain, even doing paperwork and filing! However cold it might be the days are slowly getting longer and the Flyte so Fancy flock have stretched their wings, ruffled their feathers and are getting back into the habit of laying eggs.

eggs and egg storage in the kitchen
A Gift from the FSF Flock
Having such a large flock of chickens, ducks and geese it doesn't take long when they are all laying for there to be eggs everywhere. Here at Flyte so Fancy we have some great egg storage ideas, which not only keep your eggs safe for breakfast but also look fantastic in the kitchen.

The Chicken Wire Egg Basket
Shaped like everybodies favourite feathered friend, the chicken shaped wire egg basket, is the ideal place for storing eggs in the kitchen. Functional as well as charming, the egg basket can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

A brilliant gift for those who love hens, the chickens wire egg basket comes in three sizes, so even if your flock are working over time to give you more eggs that you can handle, there will always be somewhere to store them safe and sound.

Kitchen Egg Storage
Wire Chicken Egg Basket
White Ceramic Egg Tray
A lovely white ceramic egg tray for storing twelve large eggs, that really makes the colour of the eggs themselves a real feature of the kitchen. Both dishwasher and microwave safe, this is a classy alternative to cardboard egg boxes being piled all over the kitchen.

Flyte so Fancy Egg Storage Ideas
White Ceramic Egg Tray
Wire Run Egg Holder
Shaped a like fairground helter-skelter, this charming wire framed egg run will hold up to sixteen eggs. Put the freshest eggs at the top and take from the bottom and your eggs will naturally cycle through as they are laid.

A brilliant feature of any kitchen, filled with rustic charm, the egg run comes in a choice of two colours, either Cornish Clay or Flint Grey and is a fun way to store your eggs.

Storing eggs in the kitchen
Wire Run Egg Holder
Of course, if your chickens are feeling particularly industrious, like our Flyte so Fancy flock, then you might need to choose function over style. Plastic Egg Trays come in a variety of colours and can hold up to thirty eggs, which can then be stacked upon each other to give you a skyscraper of eggs. Equally eggs don't need to be kept in the fridge, a cool dry larder or just on the kitchen worktop is just as good.

Flyte so Fancy
Always Popular, the Egg Skelter
The ever popular Egg Skelter will always be a great choice when it comes to storing your eggs and with a huge range of colours, including their Heritage colour range, there is one to suit any colour or style of kitchen.

If you have any questions about storing eggs why not leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of our team.


Thanks for Reading
James


Friday, 20 February 2015

Flyte so Fancy Build The Largest Pop-Hole Door Ever

Recently, upon being asked, the hard working chaps in the workshop set to and built for the shop an absolutely gorgeous Welsh Dresser that is now in place and looking marvellous (see our previous Blog entry to read all about this talented bunch of Dorset craftsmen).

However, never content to rest ankle deep in sawdust, the workshop, under the aegis of Boss Phill started their final project for our shop, well for the time being anyhow. You see the front of our shop had some lovely large doors, but when they were open it was incredibly cold in the shop. There are only so many layers and hats I can wear before it becomes impossible to lift even the smallest of poultry feeders off the shelf.

So, the workshop decided to build a doorway and as the Flyte so Fancy workshop don't do things by half, as you would expect it looks fantastic. Built from the same Scandinavian Redwood that all of our poultry houses are made from, below are some photos of the door being installed into the shop.

Scandinavian Red Wood Timber
The Door Being Made in the Workshop
Chicken Coops
The Troops Gather to Hear the Plan
Timber Hen House
The Door Frame is Up and Moving
Poultry Housing
Incredibly Heavy It Took 7 Of The Team To Move It
Flyte so Fancy Shop in Dorset
The Door Goes into the Shop
Poultry Housing in Dorset
Then it is Lifted into Place
Flyte so Fancy Ltd
Bit of Shifting Here...
Timber Poultry Houses Display
Bit of Shifting There...
Wood Chicken Coops
A Final Adjustment
Wooden Hen Houses
And the Door Frame Fits!
The same care and attention that goes into making all of our hen houses, and upon which are reputation is founded, also went into the making of this door frame. Millimeter precision, the best quality materials and the desire to do a job properly the first time around, mean that the shop on cold and windy days is a lot more hospitable.

Timber House for Chickens
Finally the Glazier Fitted the Glass
Why not come visit our shop to see our range of poultry supplies and chicken treats, the Flyte so Fancy Shop is open;

Monday - Friday 9:00 - 17;00
Saturdays 9:00 - 16:00

Sundays we spend looking after our own chickens. Look forward to seeing you soon.


Thanks for Reading
James

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Garvo Poultry Feeds for Chickens

The flock of chickens, ducks, guinea fowl and geese that live here in the chicken field at Flyte So Fancy HQ are almost too numerous for me to remember all their names. When you take into account the Silver and Gold Hamburgs, as well as the Gold Laced Sebrights that live in the houses of the FSF display area, I'm surprised I can remember my own name.
Timber Poultry Housing from Flyte so Fancy
Some members of the FSF Flock
This army of poultry and waterfowl takes some feeding too, with hungry beaks regularly swamping me in the mornings after I let the hens out. Here at FSF HQ we have plenty of feed for this ravenous rabble, but nothing disappears faster from the feeders than Garvo Poultry Feeds.

Garvo are a Dutch poultry feed manufacturer who produce high quality GM feeds for chickens keepers, both large and small scale, and this high quality really shows through in the Garvo feeds available from Flyte so Fancy.

Garvo Alfamix for Chickens
Alfamix Chickens

A complete feed for chickens, consisting of seeds, amphipods, vegetables and grit, Alfamix for chickens really has everything you need for a delicious egg from a healthy chicken. You can scatter the feed in the run or place it in a feeder, however you may want to limit the amount available to avoid selective eating by your birds, the chances are it won't be around for long though.

Garvo Alfamix contains amphipods, sea creatures, and as such does NOT fall under the EU Regulations on mealworms etc being sold as FOR chickens. Due to this we can sing its praises as the tip-top feed that it is for chickens. Chickens are omnivores, so the mix of vegetables and shrimp as well as the pellets and seeds provides an all round complete feed, balanced to keep your hens perfectly healthy.

Garvo Layers Pellets
Layers Pellets

Garvo Layers Pellets
is a top quality all around layers pellets absolutely crammed with vitamins and nutrients. Containing 14.9% proteins, as an everyday feed for your flock, it is difficult to find something as beneficial for your birds as this feed.

Coming in either a 5kg or 20kg sack, this GM feed will provide your flock with the basis of everything they need to keep healthy, and you will be surprised how quickly they wolf it down.

Garvo Mixed Corn

Bursting with only the best wheat pigeon (28%) cracked maize (28%) and barley pigeon (21%) as well as much more, Garvo Mixed Corn is the ideal treat for your hens in the late afternoon, once they have had their daily ration of layers pellets.

Mixed Corn
During the cold weather of winter, it helps to give them a feed just before they roost at night to give them a boost of warmth overnight. Using only the best ingredients for making their mixed corn, I have seen the FSF hens preoccupied for a good hour hunting out every last scrap that I have scattered on the floor.

Making sure that your hens are getting a feed this is both nutritious and delicious is a concern for all poultry keepers, if you have any questions about the best feed for your girls, why not leave a comment below or call a member of the FSF Team on 01300 345229.


Thanks for Reading
James