PUT YOUNG CHICKS ON GRASS FOR THE DOC­TOR GREEN EF­FECT

Country Smallholding - - Vet's Forum -

Q What age can chicks go out­side if they have hatched in an in­cu­ba­tor? And what is the best way to pre­vent pre­da­tion?

VIC­TO­RIA ROBERTS SAYS:

The an­swer will de­pend on where you live in the coun­try and what the weather is like. In the north, we are blessed with warm and dry weather in May, which re­duces the dis­eases which thrive in wet ar­eas. Gen­er­ally, once the in­cu­bated chicks are feath­ered, at around six weeks, get them on grass as soon as the weather al­lows. This is known as Doc­tor Green due to the pos­i­tive ef­fects. How­ever, pro­tect them from ver­min, whether aerial (crows, etc) or mam­mals. If rats be­come a prob­lem, re­move poul­try feed at night or use a treadle feeder which works on the weight of a hen. Trap rats, re­mem­ber­ing to check the trap each day, and use the rec­om­mended method so that other species do not get in. Wear gloves so that you are pro­tected from Weil’s dis­ease (lep­tospiro­sis) and your scent does not get on the trap. Or get a poi­son­ing cer­tifi­cate. I pre­fer trap­ping as rat poi­son is lethal to other species, es­pe­cially the won­der­ful barn owl. Rats do not usu­ally kill live chicks, but if one dies they will strip the car­case clean.

Put chicks on grass as soon as the weather al­lows

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