Sud­den change in feed up­set egg pro­duc­tion

Country Smallholding - - Forum Vet's -

QI am get­ting rather wor­ried about my 11 hens who I bought ear­lier this sum­mer at point of lay. They were do­ing re­ally well up un­til we went away for a week — we were get­ting be­tween six and nine eggs a day. Dur­ing the week our neigh­bours man­aged to give them three weeks’ worth of mixed corn in about four days and con­se­quently they didn’t eat their lay­ers’ pel­lets. They were even given scraps, such as pasta in­stead. Since we re­turned just over a week ago, we have had be­tween one and three eggs a day, usu­ally two. The hens seem healthy enough, very bright and busy, al­though some of them do have a snuf­fle. I haven’t treated them for worms or mites yet: could that be the rea­son? I usu­ally let them out at 7.30am and they have gone to bed by dusk. I re­ally hope that you can shed some light on this.

VIC­TO­RIA ROBERTS SAYS:

Any sud­den change in feed is bound to up­set egg pro­duc­tion. The ad­vice is al­ways to change feed grad­u­ally over a pe­riod of days if it is nec­es­sary to change it. The en­su­ing stress of sud­den change is likely to pre­dis­pose the birds to any pathogens, hence the snuf­fles. Try ap­ple cider vine­gar at the higher dose rate of 50ml:500ml to boost their im­mune sys­tems. If they are still snuf­fling af­ter two weeks of this, ask your vet for Ty­lan Sol­u­ble and treat them all for five days. It is a good idea to use worm (Fluben­vet) and mite (Di­atoma­ceous earth in the hut all year round) treat­ment in any case be­fore the win­ter so that the hens stay in good con­di­tion to lay through the short days. It is also a good idea to leave ex­plicit writ­ten in­struc­tions for any­one look­ing af­ter any live­stock, even if they seem to know about chick­ens, as no one can pos­si­bly re­mem­ber all the quirks our stock has.

Chick­ens should not be fed pasta or any scraps

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