PUT YOUNG CHICKS ON GRASS FOR THE DOCTOR GREEN EFFECT
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