Why you shouldn’t waste dairy prod­ucts on your hens

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry - *The Chicken Whis­perer Mag­a­zine, Fall, 2014 www.chick­en­whis­per­ermagazine.com

Dairy prod­ucts are of­ten rec­om­mended as a sup­ple­ment in the poul­try diet, and are said to add ‘good’ bac­te­ria to the gut.

Some of the amino acids (pro­teins) found in dairy prod­ucts (eg, me­thio­n­ine, ly­sine) are ben­e­fi­cial, but chick­ens have no tol­er­ance to lac­tose as their bod­ies don’t pro­duce the cor­rect di­ges­tive en­zymes to process it, so it’s mostly just an ex­pen­sive way to cause di­ar­rhoea.

There are not enough ‘good’ bac­te­ria in store-bought yo­ghurt to make any dif­fer­ence to a bird’s gut, and th­ese prod­ucts also of­ten con­tain lac­tose, corn syrup and ar­ti­fi­cial colours, all things a bird does not need. How­ever, a good qual­ity

Chick­ens are lac­to­sein­tol­er­ant so milk prod­ucts

are wasted on them them to drink. The milk sugar was thought to turn to acid in the stom­ach, and the re­sult was meant to flush out the in­tes­tine caus­ing di­ar­rhoea and very wet lit­ter. This in turn was thought to be detri­men­tal to the coc­cid­ian par­a­sites liv­ing in the gut wall.

such as pine nee­dles or saw­dust will en­sure that.

•Keep suc­ces­sional plant­ings of green­ery go­ing in­clud­ing mesclun mixes, loose-leaved let­tuces and some­thing like Ice­berg for that clear, clean crunch to go in sum­mer sal­ads.

•Main crop car­rots can be planted and it’s not too late to get some parsnips in for next win­ter. Nei­ther of th­ese root crops like fresh ni­troge­nous fer­tiliser so they need to go into deeply dug soil that has been well fed for the prior crop. Ad­di­tional well-ma­tured compost is al­ways wel­come, along with a good mulch of min­eral and trace el­e­ment

giv­ing sea grass.

•Tomato plants need care­ful tend­ing as they es­tab­lish: add plenty of potas­si­um­rich fer­tiliser, nip off the lat­er­als, tie up or stake, wa­ter, and keep an eye out for pests.

This is the month of Flower Power, when it all goes wild. The pro­fu­sion of growth is fan­tas­tic and we can revel in the colours and growth of flow­er­ing plants com­ing to fruition.

It’s def­i­nitely the month of the rose. When­ever I’m on the east coast at this time of year, the qual­ity of the roses in pub­lic places (and, if you’re like me, look­ing over fences into other peo­ple’s gar­dens) is won­der­ful. There is a strength and lush­ness that I don’t of­ten see in my rain-soaked Golden Bay gar­den.

All the care lav­ished, or not, on roses, shows up this month. Th­ese some­times fussy plants do like plenty of space around them for good air move­ment, fer­tile soil, good prun­ing at least ev­ery sec­ond year, and they do not like be­ing clut­tered at their bases with other plants. Queens ens don’t like to have their skirts tuggeded at.

One un­named climb­ing rose hereere is a com­plete thug (pic­tured above) and nd I have be­gun to con­trol it by keep­ing it clear­lear of the ground so it stops spread­ing that hat way. This is al­low­ing a lower storey of plants in­clud­ing daf­fodils, dahlias, Ja­panese ese anenomes, salvia, lemon ver­bena and hy­drangeas.

I can’t cut it out, such is the beautyauty of the once-yearly mass of blooms, but I do lib­er­ate some of the lily of the val­ley shrub and the pale pink camel­lia which stag­ger un­der the weight of rose canes.

I have climb­ing roses and one lit­tle pa­tio rose th­ese days. I did try bush roses but de­spite hav­ing looked af­ter award­win­ning roses when I lived north of Gis­borne, and re­ju­ve­nat­ing old ones in a Scot­tish walled gar­den, I just don’t think they are worth the ef­fort here.

On the other hand, the al­stroe­me­rias are per­fectly happy. They have been called a weed and yes, once es­tab­lished, they can be dif­fi­cult to re­move.

But that’s not on my agenda. I like how they are slowly mov­ing through the


Fresh corn on the cob, salt and pep­per, but­ter, tamari. Golden, yummy and sum­mery.

It’s time to plant the corn. The seeds go out in rows which make up blocks so the wind-blown pollen of the flow­ers can eas­ily fer­tilise the cobs.

Corn is a hun­gry crop so we make sure the ground is well-fed and kept well­wa­tered dur­ing dry spells, then it’s a dose of pa­tience be­fore we feast. What we can’t eat fresh gets cut from the cob and put in the freezer to use in fritters, soups, casseroles, stir fries and pies. We find our­selves eat­ing the frozen corn over spring when there is a lull in the car­rot sup­ply – you’ve got to keep up the in­take of colour­ful veges.

At pick­ing time it’s a reg­u­lar task to keep har­vest­ing so the plants flower for as long as pos­si­ble. Young scar­let run­ners are eas­ily picked by nip­ping off the stem end, so kitchen prep is only nick­ing off the ends and slic­ing as you wish be­fore cook­ing.


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