Keeping chickens is easy and fun, but how do you cope when something goes wrong?
The naughty dog from next door gets loose and before you know it your chickens have been chased, possibly killed, but worse still, badly maimed in the attack.
It is a horrible thought, but domestic dogs - not usually your own - and foxes are the most common demise of domestic poultry.
First you have to ascertain just how bad the attack was. Is it plain obvious that the chicken won’t survive and needs to be put out of its misery? Are there injuries that are treatable - bearing in mind that canine attacks often involve difficult to spot puncture wounds? Even if there appears to be no outward damage, keep a close eye on the birds for a few days, and take very seriously any birds slowing up or off their food. There may be a fatal slow burn infection to deal with.
Taking a hen to the vet is one option, but vet costs build up and when your chicken cost under £15 to start with, an expensive bill can just put you off hens in the garden for life, much better to take responsibility and learn how to deal with terminal disasters in a quick, efficient, humane and all importantly, legal manner.
Once you have mastered the technique of humanely euthanising a bird, considered an everyday rural skill just a few generations ago, this opens up the possibility of keeping table birds too. Learn Poultry Dispatch and Dressing skills at the hands of experienced poultry keepers Pammy and Ritchie Riggs; here’s what Angie had to say:
I would just like to say that I had the most marvellous time on my course. Pammy and Ritchie were completely fantastic. I was totally dreading the dispatch section! But I needn't have with Ritchie’s gentle manner and well thought out delivery it was beyond my expectations. I am so glad I went and it has helped me immensely with my planning. I just can't thank them enough!
Visit www.providencefarm.co.uk and go to the Courses and Training Events for Dispatch and Dressing Courses.