Gaynor’s Hen Tips

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Fly Strike

Hens are really good at disguising the fact that they are unwell. This is a natural defense mechanism, because hens don’t want to appear vulnerable to predators. Because of this diarrhoea or a discharge from her vent and soiled feathers may go unnoticed. Your hen may also stop preening and grooming and be more reluctant to […]

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Do your ex-bats require vaccination?

I am often asked if ex-bats require vaccination? I guess this is because we are all so used to our dogs and cats having routine boosters. All commercial laying hens are vaccinated as path of the course when they are usually just day old chicks. Hens need to have protection from diseases that can be fatal […]

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Something lurking in the nest box

Occasionally you may come across an abnormal object in your nest box that is neither egg nor dropping. Usually this is yellow or flesh coloured and looks at first glance like a lump of sausage meat. Yeuch! This is commonly known as a lash. Lash eggs result from an infection (bacterial or viral) that causes […]

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How your chickens breathe

Chickens have a specialised system for getting oxygen into their body and removing carbon dioxide. In doing so they employ an efficient combination of two methods to obtain oxygen, allowing them to indulge in highly energetic activities such as flying and running. As you might expect, air enters through the nostrils, and passes through the […]

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Who are you calling bird brain?

The term bird brain is often used as a derogatory term referring to a silly or stupid person.   Chickens actually have very complex brains and use the information they process in a very particular way. The chicken brain consists of two halves (known as hemispheres) and each half helps it to process information in […]

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Broody hens

Any hen can go broody at any time, broodiness is a natural tendency that all hens have to want to sit on and hatch a clutch of eggs. A broody hen will take up position in her favourite nest box and will be agitated if you try to disturb her. Feathers ruffle and she will […]

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Combs and Wattles

Combs and wattles.  We see them every day, but do we really know what they do and how important they are as an indicator of our hens health? For the purpose of this article we are talking about ex-bats (some other breeds have naturally dark combs and wattles – the Silkie is a good example […]

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Let’s get to the nitty-gritty

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty… I am often asked why we advise giving hens grit on a regular basis.  Grit is a vital part of your hen’s digestive process, however it is important to remember that there are different grades of grit and they perform two different functions in your hen. Fine or soluble grit […]

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When hens become penguins

Our hard working commercial hens are selectively bred to be the best at what they do – laying eggs,  and they are very good at it too.  Your ex-bat will have been popping out one egg every 22-25 hours since she started work as a 20 week old point of lay hen. As she enters […]

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In one end and out the other!

In one end and out the other!  It is as important to know what you are putting in your hens, as it is to understand what is coming out the other end… If you are a hen fanatic like me, you probably spend most of your day selecting the best feed for your flock, topping up their […]

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Hen health benefits of Apple cider vinegar

If you asked me to pick one natural product that I would give to my hens on a regular basis, it would be Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made using the whole apple and provides enzymes and important minerals and vitamins in the form of Bioflavonoids, and is widely recognised as a […]

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Hen Dust Bathing: The Ultimate Spa Treatment

There is nothing nicer on a warm summer day than watching hens dust bathing. We can almost forgive the craters that they create in our flower boarders and gardens for the sheer joy of seeing hens engaging in this wonderful activity! Hens close their eyes and roll in the dip they have created, throwing loose […]