Healthy chick­ens

Kim Stod­dart takes a look at the more nat­u­rally-minded prod­ucts avail­able to buy for poul­try

Your Chickens - - Contents -

Nat­u­ral health prod­ucts

Ever since be­com­ing a small­holder (now nearly a decade ago), I have been keen to cre­ate as nat­u­ral a habi­tat and life­style as I can for my live­stock. This is much eas­ier to do for poul­try, espe­cially on a smaller scale where it’s fea­si­ble to plant ben­e­fi­cial herbs and fo­liage and to al­low free range graz­ing and for­ag­ing over­all. I even have soft fruit bushes grow­ing nearby so my chick­ens and ducks can help them­selves to a vitamin C-packed treat come the early sum­mer. It’s en­joy­able for them and hugely en­ter­tain­ing for us to watch as the chick­ens leap up in the air to try and reach the higher branches be­fore run­ning off with their prize, of­ten chased by an­other keen to get their beaks on the sweet re­ward. It’s all good whole­some fun and no doubt adds to the qual­ity of life and in­deed health and hap­pi­ness of the poul­try.

The im­por­tance of in­testi­nal and gut health is gain­ing a lot of me­dia at­ten­tion right now across the board, with some say­ing it’s the key to vi­tal­ity in hu­mans. It makes one think; why not in our live­stock too? When you also con­sider that overuse of an­tibi­otics and chem­i­cals in farm­ing has come un­der the spotlight in re­cent years in light of is­sues such as an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance, a more nat­u­ral ap­proach is se­ri­ously worth con­sid­er­ing, at the very least along­side your usual treat­ments.

Thank­fully, nowa­days there are a range of prod­ucts avail­able to buy which can fur­ther aid the well­be­ing of your flock, help­ing to pro­vide pro­tec­tion against com­mon pest prob­lems in an al­to­gether gen­tler way.

Here are just some of the best op­tions cur­rently avail­able:


This com­pany pro­duces 100% nat­u­ral sup­ple­ments which help main­tain in­testi­nal hy­giene. They have her­bal for­mu­la­tions for a wide range of an­i­mals and their prod­ucts for poul­try can be sprin­kled or ap­plied on top of lay­ers pel­lets or corn eas­ily at feed­ing time.

Rather than an im­me­di­ate purge, where prob­lems are blasted out the sys­tem at once, their prod­ucts work over a pe­riod of 21 days so it’s a lot kin­der on a bird’s gut and di­ges­tive sys­tem all round. When fed over a pe­riod of time it works to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment in the gut that is able to erad­i­cate and ex­pel any in­testi­nal chal­lenges, of­fer­ing nat­u­ral and daily pro­tec­tion. This means that the prod­uct is also safe to use on an­i­mals that are preg­nant, older stock, or an­i­mals in com­pe­ti­tion.

The com­pany says that their sup­ple­ments pro­vide con­tin­u­ous pro­tec­tion and that al­though you can’t pre­vent your hens from pick­ing up in­testi­nal chal­lenges, this will help stop them from set­tling and caus­ing dam­age.

Verm-X sells pel­lets and also a liq­uid so­lu­tion which can be mixed into feed. Ap­par­ently the

pel­lets are also pop­u­lar for adding into grapes and feed­ing di­rectly. In­gre­di­ents in­clude sea­weed meal, gar­lic, pep­per­mint, com­mon thyme, cleavers, net­tles and cayenne and a 250g tube of the pel­lets will last five birds (with a 2.5g daily dosage) over six months. For more in­for­ma­tion on your lo­cal stock­ist see https://verm-x. com


I use herbs at each and ev­ery op­por­tu­nity in the kitchen be­cause as well as be­ing a de­li­cious, flavour­some ad­di­tion to food, they are in­cred­i­bly good for you. Now, with Dobies spe­cially se­lected range of seeds, you can grow herbs with hen health specif­i­cally in mind.

Whether it’s al­low­ing your poul­try to pick at the fresh plants, or scat­ter­ing some fo­liage in their run, or nest­ing box (to help re­pel in­sects, par­a­sites and ro­dents), hav­ing some herbs freely avail­able pro­vides a lot of ben­e­fits.

The com­pany sells a range of herb col­lec­tions; from fen­nel, marigold and mar­jo­ram for egg pro­duc­tion to their In­sec­ti­cide Col­lec­tion of laven­der, cat­nip and mint. Their gen­eral health col­lec­tions in­clude nas­tur­tium, dill, rose­mary, pars­ley and sage.

The com­pany is also do­nat­ing £1 from each col­lec­tion sold to Bri­tish Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) and says that the herbs can be used in lots of ways. For more in­for­ma­tion see

When you con­sider that overuse of an­tibi­otics and chem­i­cals in farm­ing has come un­der the spotlight in re­cent years in light of is­sues such as an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance, a more nat­u­ral ap­proach is se­ri­ously worth con­sid­er­ing

ABOVE: Res­cue hens espe­cially can ben­e­fit from the op­por­tu­nity for some nat­u­ral for­ag­ing BELOW: Look­ing good

Thyme: a healthy in­gre­di­ent

Let’s have a game of Straw­berry Rugby!

Nas­tur­tiums are a nat­u­ral wormer for poul­try

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