Welcome to Poultry Keeper

A hobby website for backyard poultry enthusiasts

Tim Daniels poultrykeeperHello and welcome to our hobby website, run by a small group of enthusiasts and led by me, Tim Daniels, from my smallholding in the Black Mountains, Herefordshire, UK.

Poultry Keeper is 13 years old, and our aim has always been quite simply to provide the best source of information available anywhere online for backyard poultry enthusiasts. We constantly update and improve 500+ articles and guides, plus add new material monthly.

Since the pandemic, we have welcomed many newcomers to backyard poultry keeping. If this is you, then I hope we can help and inspire you with this fantastic hobby! I hope you will bookmark our website for future use.

Now that autumn is here, we have shorter days, and our focus starts to move to a different set of tasks, many in preparation for winter. 

 I have gathered some articles that might be useful over the autumn months that you might need below.

Autumn
in Focus

Our hens slow down or stop laying at this time of year as they go into their annual moult. This will last for most of the autumn and the best layers moult hard and fast, looking very bare in places without their feathers!

We provide them with a high-quality feed that gives them enough protein and a top-up of nutrients with Apple Cider Vinegar in their water and Verm-X pellets mixed with their feed.

Hen Moulting
Ruffled feathers! One of our Australorp hens moulting.

Autumn Bookmarks:

During the autumn and winter, bedding needs to be changed more regularly to keep it dry. One trick I find really helps us here is to use BioDri sprinkled in the coop before adding clean bedding. This is also very good for killing bacteria and worm eggs too. 

One of the challenges of keeping birds safe during the darker months is being home in time for dusk to lock up. The ChickenGuard automatic chicken coop door saves me a lot of worries if I’m not home in time to lock up. I reviewed it in my ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Door article. 

Chicken Guard Closing Door at Night
Make sure your birds are locked up at night!

Show Season is Coming!

We will be at the Federation Championship Show and the BWA Championship show with our photo booth, capturing winners and rare breeds. If you’re going, please drop by to say hello!

Autumn focus

Chickens Moulting
Keeping Chickens

Chickens Moulting: Symptoms, Diet & Care

Chickens moulting their plumage in autumn can be stressful, so we need to provide the correct moulting chickens diet and take care of their needs at this time.

Foxes and Chickens
Poultry Predators

Foxes: Poultry Predator #1?

Mr Fox has to be every poultry keeper’s number one enemy. Sadly, many people have lost their chickens or other poultry to a fox. When it happens, it can be devastating.

Chicken Guard Automatic Chicken Door
Keeping Chickens

ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Door

The ChickenGuard is one of the latest automatic chicken door opener/closers. In this Equipment Focus, I test the Chicken Guard Premium model on one of my chicken coop doors.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Chickens
Keeping Chickens

Apple Cider Vinegar For Chickens

I have been giving Apple Cider Vinegar to my chickens for many years, and combined with good husbandry, I have seen a positive difference in my flock’s health.

How to Get Rid of Rats
Poultry Predators

How to Get Rid of Rats

How to Get Rid Of Rats As a poultry keeper, sooner or later, you will need to know how to get rid of rats. A

Autumn jobs...

Ensure Birds are Locked Up at Dusk

There is more risk of foxes coming under the cover of darkness and when food is scarce. Consider an auto door closer like the ChickenGuard to lock up your birds at dusk if you can't always be there to do it.

Continue Red Mite Treatment Until Colder Weather

Although we think of red mites as a summer problem, they will still infest a coop if the weather is mild during thee autumn. Make weekly checks of your coop.

Plan for Winter & Anticipate a Bird Flu Housing Order

It’s easier to do some jobs, such as maintaining housing and inspecting pens before the cold weather. It is also a good idea to anticipate a housing order if bird flu returns this winter.

Bring Show Chickens Indoors & Consider Lighting

Bring chickens for the winter shows indoors and so as to avoid bad weather and damage to feathers and consider show cage training and extra lighting to keep them in good shape.

Get a Postal Worm Egg Count Kit

Autumn is the time to worm chickens IF they need it. You can use a postal worm egg count to check if they need a chemical wormer. It can also provide reassurance that herbal treatments are working.

Take Precautions Against Rats

Rats need three things: Food, shelter and water. We often unintentionally provide them with all three, making our backyard attractive for rats over the winter. It's better to take simple precautions now than to deal with an infestation later!

Useful articles for the autumn months

Worm Egg Count For Chickens

Worm Egg Count Kit for Chickens

If you don’t want to use a wormer indiscriminately or need reassurance that a herbal product is working, then a Worm Egg Count Kit could be the answer!

Chicken Bedding

What is the Best Chicken Bedding Material?

I rate some of the chicken coop bedding I have used, from wood shavings and straw to shredded paper and cardboard, and even some of the specialist poultry bedding like Easichick and Auboise.

Domestic poultry breeds follow a standard that tells us how they should look. In the UK, we have the British Poultry Standards and the British Waterfowl Standards. I have spent the last 10 years visiting poultry shows with other photographers, photographing some of the best examples of the breeds, as well as researching their origins.

There are other standards worldwide: the European Poultry Standard, the American Standard of Perfection and the Australian Poultry Standard. In fact, in different parts of the world, the same breed can have subtle differences, names, or colour varieties. I have highlighted many of these on individual breed pages.

If you are considering which breed to keep, then the breed pages should help you!

Chicken Breeds Thumbnail

Chicken Breeds

Photographs of all 93 standard chicken breeds with many breed profiles.
Goose Breeds Thumbnail

Goose Breeds

Photos & breed profiles for all domestic Geese in the standard.
Duck Breeds Thumbnail

Duck Breeds

Photos & breed profiles for every domestic duck in the poultry standard.

If you are a newcomer to the wonderful (and productive) hobby of poultry keeping or just wondering about what you need to get started, then you have come to the right place!

Here are some suggestions for the newcomer from the Chickens Category to help you get started:

Feeding Chickens
Keeping Chickens

Feeding Chickens

Domesticated chickens, especially modern hybrids, are fantastic egg layers; however, this performance increases nutritional demands, so how we feed our chickens has never been so

Omlet Chicken House
Keeping Chickens

The Ultimate Guide to Chicken Houses

The ultimate guide to chicken houses, exploring features you will need to keep your chickens happy, healthy and safe from predators in their coop.

Looking After Chickens
Keeping Chickens

Looking After Chickens in Ten Easy Steps

Looking after chickens is relatively easy, but like all animals, they still need care and consideration. Follow these ten steps to looking after chickens, and

Keeping Ducks
& Geese

Smallholders keep waterfowl for eggs, occasionally for meat, to mop up bugs in the garden, and for exhibiting.

Can You Keep Chickens and Ducks Together

Favourite Articles:

geese feeding
White Chinese Goose
Environmentally friendly lawn mowers & honkin' good burglar alarms!

Thinking of adding some domestic waterfowl to your allotment or back garden? You may find our articles on keeping ducks and geese useful.

Contrary to popular belief, domestic ducks and geese do not need a pond, and a plastic tub refilled daily is enough for them to be content.

Most will enjoy a bath but spend the rest of the day dabbling in the grass and looking for insects. They are the greatest at environmental slug control on any vegetable patch.

As a bonus, many ducks will lay good numbers of large eggs that are particularly good for cake making.

On the other hand, Geese will require plenty of grass and are useful as environmentally friendly lawnmowers! As well as keeping grass short, they will alert you to unwanted visitors.

Why not take a dabble in our sections on ducks and geese? I’ve included a few reading suggestions for you below:

White Indian Runner Duck
Keeping Ducks
Keeping Ducks

Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Ducks

Keeping a few domestic ducks in the garden is growing in popularity. In this beginner’s guide to keeping ducks, I will cover all the basics you’ll need to consider before getting ducks. 

Feeding Ducks
Keeping Ducks

Feeding Domestic Ducks

This article provides information about feeding ducks: specifically domestic ducks. That is, pet ducks kept in gardens or smallholdings.

Imprinting in ducks
Incubating, Hatching & Brooding Ducks

Stop Following Me! Imprinting in Ducks & Geese

Ducklings and Goslings will follow the first moving object they find after hatching. They treat it as their mother. So even if it’s a large man with a big hairy beard, he becomes ‘mum’!

Beginners Guide To Keeping Geese
Keeping Geese

The Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Geese

This beginners guide to keeping geese will take you, step by step, through the basics of keeping geese, whether you are wondering whether geese are the right choice for you or if you have already purchased your geese and want to learn more.

Introducing New Geese
Keeping Geese

Introducing New Geese to Your Flock

If you acquire one or more new geese, you may want to add them to an existing flock. Introducing new geese can be tricky at times. They are intelligent birds and often form strong family bonds that need to be respected when making introductions.

Hatching Goslings with a Broody Goose
Incubation and Hatching Geese

Hatching Goslings with a Broody Goose

One of the easiest ways to incubate and hatch goose eggs can be to leave it up to a broody goose. Not all breeds are good mothers. Heavier breeds can be quite clumsy and better at breaking eggs than sitting on them, but many lighter breeds will sit the term, hatching and raising their young.