Friday, 30 January 2015

A Tonic for the Winter Blues - Poultry Tonics and Supplements

Readers of our recent January Newsletter will know of my mothers cure for colds and my personal feelings towards the use of warm Ribena to prevent them. In short, I hate it. Hot, cold, in a mug, with biscuits or served as my only option.

Because of this recent focus on tonics to cure my ailing body, this week the Blog's attention is focused on three tonics that are great for giving to your poultry all year around, but especially during these chillier winter months, when we all need a little pick me up.
Poultry Tonics
100ml Oreganico Tonic

Oreganico Poultry Tonic

Oreganico is a natural solution of oregano oils to be added to drinking water, which is perfect for boosting your flock's immune system. With anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties, this 5% solution of oregano and essential oils is a natural solution to antibiotics. Suitable for all poultry and game birds, at a dosage of half a teaspoon to 5 litres of water, it is a highly effective and economical supplement.

Particularly good for helping hens with the sniffles, all of our hens, ducks and geese here at Flyte so Fancy get a regular dose of Oreganico in their drinking water. Coming in a handy 100ml dropper bottle if you only have a few hens to a large 1L bottle for those with a bigger flock to care to for. Oreganico Poultry Tonic is a great supplement for winter to boost your girls immune system through the colder months.

Net-Tex Vit-Boost Poultry Tonic with Seaweed
Tonic for Chickens in Winter
Vit-Boost Tonics

A complete vitamin and mineral nutritional tonic, this supplement from Net-Tex can be given to hens to promote general health all year around. It's added bonus is the seaweed, which provides essential iodine aiding digestion. Essential vitamins and minerals are also contained within this tonic.

It improves yolk colour and eggshell strength, making it useful during the winter when egg laying tends to be a little more draining for the bird. At a rate of roughly 5ml per 5L of water, a little goes a long way and will soon put a spring in the step of your flock.

Biolink Prebiotic Multivitamin Poultry Tonic

Poultry Tonic
Pre-Biotic Tonic
A complementary liquid tonic, Biolink Prebiotic Multivitamin Poultry Tonic is specifically designed to promote healthy birds and can giving to all types of poultry. It has a three part solution to help your hens diet and keep them tip-top, so great to use during the colder weather.

The prebiotics contained within, ensure a suitable environment in the intestine so that beneficial bacteria can take residence. Its anti-oxidants help strengthen the immune system and it's multi-vitamins help general hen health. At a dosage of 15ml per 2L of water, it can used all year long.

These are just three of a range of tonics available from Flyte so Fancy for giving to your birds, all year long and especially during the winter to help them through the short chilly days and the long cold nights.

If you have any questions about a specific tonic or would like to know more in general, why not leave a comment below or phone a member of the team on 01300 345229.

Thanks for Reading

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - The Best Wild Bird Feeds to Attract Birds to Your Garden

This weekend will see my binoculars firmly pressed to my eye balls as I stare out of the window (not to worry it's nothing sinister). This weekend, January 24th - 25th, is the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch and for the second year in a row I will faithfully and accurately be recording for an hour, all  the wild birds that stop by Flyte so Fancy's little corner of Dorset.

Of course, to make sure I attract as many birds to the garden as possible over the weekend, I have been spending the day stocking up our bird feeders and tables to make sure that any bird stopping by for a peck to eat, wont be left hungry.

Flyte so Fancy stocks a range of different garden bird feeds, so this week the blog is going to look at the different feeds that will attract birds to your garden.

Very popular among your smaller garden birds, due to the smaller size and having soft shells, they are high in energy, packed with protein and great for attracting a variety of garden birds to your garden, but most especially finches and tits. They can be used in a seed feeder, on a bird table or even strewn on the floor for ground feeding birds.

Flyte so Fancy Wildbird Feeds
Greenfinch on a Seed Feeder

Peanuts are great for giving to all garden birds, especially during the winter months when food is scarce. A traditional feed for garden birds and a staple of most garden shed shelves, they are high in protein and essential oils. However peanuts should always be served in a feeder, as some of the smaller, greedier or younger birds can choke on whole nuts.

Peanuts for Garden Birds
Woodpecker enjoying some Peanuts

An oil and energy rich seed, Nyger seed, is very similar to that of the thistle or teasels. A favourite bird food with many breeds, it is a garden bird food magnet for goldfinches. A bird feeder with small holes or a large base will stop wastage and the excess of these tiny seeds being thrown over the floor.

Nyger Seed for Wildbirds
Goldfinches love Nyger Seed

An ever growing popular choice due to it not leaving a husk to mess up the garden. A feed that is loved by many species of birds, especially finches, tits and sparrows (as well as some of the bigger garden birds like woodpeckers). A very versatile high energy feed, it can be used in bird feeders, loose on bird tables or scattered on the floor for ground feeding.

Sparrows enjoying seeds
Sparrow landing for a bite to eat

A seed mixture that contains a little bit of everything to help attract the widest variety of wild birds to your garden, it is a good feed for all year round.  Filled with ingredients like chopped peanuts, sunflower seeds, wheat, cut maize and more it is a great feed that gives a little bit of everything that a garden bird needs.

Robin enjoying some seed
The FSF Garden's Robin
All these different feeds will attract a vast swarm of wild birds to your garden, and means that I am completely ready for recording the various sparrows, blue tits, goldfinches, robins and occasional woodpecker that all stop by the Flyte so Fancy garden for a bit to eat. 

If you have your own tasty treat for attracting wild birds why not share it with us in the comments below or to speak to a member of our team call us on 01300 345229. 

Thanks for Reading

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

How to Cheer Up a Bored Chicken

Over the Christmas holiday (seems a long, long, long, long, long time ago now) I was left in charge of my two nieces for several hours, with the directive to "entertain" them. Like a three year old and a nine year old need entertaining at Christmas...

To prevent the dreaded "I'm bored" being mouthed, a fun regime of hide-and-seek, episodes of Peppa Pig and eating chocolates off the Christmas tree was planned. Before this glut of irresponsible supervising commenced however, we went to check on my other small charges, my three little Orpington's that live at the bottom of my garden.

Making sure my girls don't get bored over the winter months is important too. With shorter days and generally miserable weather, giving the girls something to peck at in their run or scratch around for can avoid issues like feather pecking or the feared "grumpy" chicken.

Flyte so Fancy Pecking Treats
A Hen Enjoying A Boredom Buster Pecking Treat
It's also a little job that, during the winter months, we do regularly here at Flyte so Fancy HQ. A bored chicken is an unhappy chicken, but luckily there are plenty of things available to keep your hens happy.

The FSF Boredom Buster Pecking Ring is a tasty treat, made from wheat, seeds, fruit and molasses, perfect for hanging in your hen's run to give them something to peck at. The FSF flock absolutely love them. My old poultry keeping book tells me that molasses was often used in old feeds to aid digestion and will give your girls an energy boost during these winter months.

The Natures Grub Blends range is a great treat to give your girls. Coming in three flavours, Fruit, Herb or Vegetable, each one is a nutritious blend stuffed with stuff good for your hens. I have a tub of the Herb Garden Blend for my girls and the blend of cooked and whole cereals, as well as garlic granules, dried mint and dried oregano, all of them perfect for putting a spring in my girls step.

Flyte so Fancy Chicken Coops
Chicken Exercise on a Jungle Gym
Of course, the perennial favourite of any of self respecting chicken, is a lovely bit of Mixed Corn. Fed as late morning or afternoon treat, it will give them both an energy boost in the cold weather and provide hours of entertainment as they scratch around for that final elusive bit of corn. Consisting of 70% wheat with barley, maize, peas, oyster shell and grit, it has everything that a chicken loves and is great for providing them with a balanced diet.

 With all this food around to distract them, your hens might be after a spot of exercise to help keep them in fine fettle. The Chicken Jungle Gym is a sturdy, free standing activity centre, complete with a ramp and a ladder, hanging points for treats or feeders, perches at staggered heights and a little roof for shelter. Providing hens with something to climb on, is a great and simple way to alleviate boredom in your flock.

Keeping your chickens happy during the long winter months is relatively simple to achieve, however if you have any questions (or even your own tips) why not leave a comment below or speak to a member of our team on 01300 345229.

When it comes to keeping small nieces happy through the long winter months, I would recommend Frozen. I watched it five times in the space of seven days...

Yes, I am singing "Let it Go" to myself.

Thanks for Reading

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Dorset Ranger - A Mobile Chicken Coop

I don't remember through the haze of Christmas and New Year holiday exactly when it was, but at some point I settled down for the obligatory viewing of Mary Poppins, The Snowman and Ben Hur on the TV. The problem with watching Ben Hur nowadays is I can no longer take the great chariot race scene seriously anymore.

You see, our mobile chicken coop the Dorset Ranger, when it doesn't have it's built in run on the front looks not dissimilar to the a chariot. If you add into the mix a mind, wallowing in Ancient History, it doesn't take long for it to wander and pretty soon you are driving the house section of your Dorset Ranger Chicken Coop around the Circus Maximus.

Mobile Hen Houses
Anyone for a Chariot Race?
The Dorset Ranger of course, isn't a chariot.

It is a movable coop with a built in run, making it ideal for larger gardens and paddocks, and those looking to be able to up sticks and settle their chickens on pastures new. A clever counter balancing system means that to move the unit, all you need to do is lift it up by its handle on the end of the run and pull it to its new home. We have a 70 year customer who lifts them up and pulls them to their new home on the back of their ride on mower. Its clever features don't just stop there however.

When the Boss Phill was designing this coop for Flyte so Fancy, he had a few different and unique features in mind for his latest masterpiece. Access into the coop itself is simple, through the whole roof sliding forward on its runners, giving you top down access into the entirety of the coop. Very useful when it comes to the weekly clean out of your birds. It is then simply a case of pulling the roof securely into position.

Hen House on Wheels
Ext Run for Dorset Ranger
The Dorset Ranger also comes with a comfy, large external nest box with room for several birds to lay at once. The external nest box also lifts off the back, allowing the removable dirt tray floor to be pulled out, its contents dumped onto the compost heap and the marine plywood given a good scrub down.

A great final feature of the hen house is that you can choose the length of the run that you wish your girls to have. Coming with a 6ft run as standard, you can add run extensions, giving the run an overall length of 9ft or even 12ft in total, while still being able to lift the coop up and easily move it through its clever counter balancing system. The Ranger also comes in a choice of sizes as well to house either six or ten hens respectively.

Until the Boss Phill designs a coop to match Admiral Boom's house from Mary Poppins (something I have repeatedly asked for and repeatedly got the same response) the closest I'm going to get to some movie magic in the chicken keeping world is a Ben Hur chariot and the Dorset Ranger Chicken Coop.

Mobile Hen Houses from Flyte so Fancy
The Dorset Ranger Chicken Coop
For more information about the Dorset Ranger Mobile Hen House why not watch our YouTube video here or any of our chicken coops, why not leave a comment or give a member of our team a call on 01300 345229.

Thanks for Reading