Eight favourites

In this new fea­ture se­ries, we in­vite our writers to choose their favourite eight prod­ucts for hen­keep­ers. To launch the se­ries: JO BAR­LOW, who keeps ex-bats in Corn­wall

Your Chickens - - Contents -



A small, fam­ily-run busi­ness in West Corn­wall, Arkus Coops were my first choice when buy­ing a new coop for the girls. I had done a great deal of re­search into plas­tic coops to en­sure the best home for my girls and these seemed to tick all the boxes: lo­cal (to me); us­ing re­cy­cled plas­tic and could adapt the coop to my (and the girls’) spe­cific and ex­act­ing re­quire­ments. For ex­am­ple, the coop is set on a taller than usual stand as I, too, am taller than usual. They are also sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than other plas­tic coop man­u­fac­tur­ers, a small coop (4-6 hens) is just un­der £220, a large coop (12-15 hens) is just un­der £330. I have 13 hens in the large coop and there is plenty of room for them. http://www.arkus.co.uk/


This was a rev­e­la­tion to me! In my first few chicken keep­ing months I used wood shav­ings and straw and was un­happy with both. Then I learnt about Easichick; it is made from wood fi­bre and is or­ganic and dust free. It makes daily poo pick­ing easy, is very ab­sorbent, does not al­low red mite to hide amongst it and it is com­posta-

ble. A bale will be enough for two large coops. http:// ea­s­ibed­ding.co.uk/ea­s­ibed/


We have es­sen­tial oils in the house any­way for the hu­mans and I dis­cov­ered that a drop of laven­der oil in the girls’ bath helps calm them (and me) and, as it is an­tibac­te­rial, it helps kill germs, as well as aid­ing the heal­ing process. I use a drop of tea tree in salt wa­ter if I am bathing wounds in or­der to kill in­fec­tion and I also use eucalyptus if any of the girls are hav­ing a steam in­hala­tion.


Hens are lac­tose in­tol­er­ant so dairy should be avoided, but many of the hens I have come with crop is­sues, which re­cur through­out their re­tire­ment. I have found a lit­tle live yo­ghurt, as well as be­ing ex­cel­lent af­ter a course of an­tibi­otics or af­ter sour crop, is also a very good preven­ta­tive. I give my 13 girls a small (150g) pot be­tween them once a week and it seems to have kept crop is­sues at bay. https://www.yeo­val­ley.co.uk/


I must con­fess to a touch of snob­bery here but I do love Ma­son Cash prod­ucts; some­thing that started with some very old but beau­ti­ful mix­ing bowls I in­her­ited from my grand­mother. Af­ter try­ing many other chicken feed­ers and drinkers which clogged or leaked re­spec­tively, I tried a cou­ple of Ma­son Cash dog bowls I found in the lo­cal farm shop. They are heavy enough to not be knocked over and you can buy var­i­ous sizes de­pend­ing on the size and amount of your hens. The only draw­back is that the food bowls need to be un­der cover should it rain but I find that a small price to pay for some­thing both beau­ti­ful and prac­ti­cal in my girls’ gar­den! http://www.ma­son­cash­pets.co.uk/prod­ucts.html.


We try to be as eco-friendly as we can and Ecover wash­ing up liq­uid is eas­ily avail­able, rel­a­tively cheap and the lemon and aloe vera one is ve­gan. Ob­vi­ously it is good for wash­ing up the lovely Ma­son Cash bowls but also, it is gen­tle enough to use in the hens’ baths. Hav­ing lost a hen to fly strike a few years ago, my clean knicker ob­ses­sion knows no bounds and the girls are of­ten hoiked in for a bath, just in case a small smudge turns into some­thing worse. With no harsh chem­i­cals I am happy to use this on my girls’ del­i­cate skin. http://uk.ecover.com/en/


Where would I be with­out diatom pow­der! It is poofed in the coop, on the bed­ding, on the girls, in the dust­bath and even, I un­der­stand al­though have never tried, can be used in the feed to help keep worms at bay. It is made from ground up tiny fos­sils and is a fine pow­der. Bi­olink Diatom Pow­der from Flyte so Fancy comes in 1.25 and 2.kg tubs, the larger lasts me months. Used all the time it helps keep the dreaded red mite and lice away. To­tally nat­u­ral, it is safe to use, and luck­ily has no smell as I also tend to end up wear­ing co­pi­ous amounts of it! http://www.fly­te­so­fancy.co.uk/


I wanted to in­clude some won­der­ful or­ganic, GM-free feed here but my girls are so com­mon they refuse to eat any­thing but the cheap­est mash from the lo­cal farm shop. So in­stead I am championing the hum­ble corn on the cob. Their treat of choice, they en­joy it best cut in half, the corn shaved off the cob so they can en­joy hoover­ing up the ker­nels be­fore a leisurely peck at the cobs. We tried grow­ing it one year, and pro­duced about three cobs from 70 plants so we now buy it in with our weekly shop!

TOP LEFT: Es­sen­tial oils TOP RIGHT: Yeo Val­ley or­ganic live yo­ghurt LEFT: Easichick bed­ding ABOVE: A Ma­son Cash bowl

ABOVE & INSET: Arkus coops tick all the boxes

Corn on the cob

Diatom pow­der

Ecover wash­ing up liq­uid

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