Mould in bark can kill poul­try

Your Chickens - - Ask The Vet -

Q I use bark as a suc­cess­ful mulch in my gar­den and find it is eco­nom­i­cal. Can I use it for my hens as well?

A Vic­to­ria Roberts says: Bark is not rec­om­mended for hens since it har­bours mould, par­tic­u­larly the Aspergillus mould, which is likely to in­fect the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem of hens and can kill them. There are plenty of other sub­strates you can use as lit­ter, whether this is chopped straw, live­stock shav­ings, or — my favourite — Ea­sichick bed­ding (small pieces of wood) as it lasts longer than other lit­ter types, does not blow away or cap with fae­ces and hens don’t tend to eat it. Other sub­strates can be pea gravel or wood chips or re­cy­cled rub­ber, all of which will need a per­me­able mem­brane un­der­neath to dis­cour­age peren­nial weeds. If the hens have al­ready stripped the area of grass and if you have the space to do so by tem­po­rar­ily re-hous­ing them, re-seed the area, then place 2.5cm (1in) mesh over the top on a frame so that the hens can eat the grass and in­sects, but not scratch up the roots.

Bark is not rec­om­mended for hens

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