Andy Marshall, respected poultry breeder and highly acclaimed exhibitor, is a big fan of easichick bedding for his birds.
Andy has been using easichick for four now and says he reaps many benefits from its bio secure and dust free properties.
“Unlike wood shavings easichick doesn’t absorb water, which means it’s easier to keep dry in our damp winters it maintains its friability,” said Andy. Dry damp friable floor litter is very important especially in winter for happy and healthy hens.
“I remove any wet or compacted areas and fork over the rest to ensure the birds have dry litter to scratch about in and dust bath, unless the litter has got really wet I rarely clean out a whole pen during the winter. I just top up each week then I fork the bedding over. This does result in deep beds and the birds just love it,” he added.
Because poultry originally hail from a warm dry climate, British winters and spring can be challenging for them due to the shorter days and damp, humid weather. It is therefore vital, according to Andy, that poultry keepers are vigilant to ensure their birds are kept fit, happy and healthy.
Andy has a number of top tips for hen keepers preparing for the forthcoming winter and luckily for easichick he has shared some of them below:
• Spend as much time as possible observing your birds in their pens – this will help you understand if any are feeling under the weather or not being themselves so you can treat them quickly and accordingly, wet and muddy runs can be major source of problems
• Ensure the facilities you provide your birds are well ventilated not too draughty, has good quality, dry litter and provides space for their natural behaviour
• Don’t over feed your birds, this only encourages vermin to visit your pens for the leftover food
• Think of ways to enhance your birds’ environment so that they have things to do. This might include objects of interest to keep your flock entertained such as fresh green food (not wilted) is excellent, also hanging up a clear plastic bottle with marbles or pebbles in will keep them interested.
Andy is a successful exhibitor of heritage breeds of poultry he is a regular judge at the National Poultry Show and the Federation Poultry Show which both take place in December. Andy also writes regularly in Practical Poultry and The RBST The Ark. He is a popular speaker for clubs and runs bespoke courses at his farm in Devon.