Welcome to Poultry Keeper
A hobby website for backyard poultry enthusiasts
Hello 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 14 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. 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are a few jobs to consider in autumn as well as some planning to prepare you and your birds for winter.
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
Useful articles for the autumn months
Most Poultry Shows are regulated by The Poultry Club of Great Britain in the UK. Shows are run under Poultry Club Rules, and the Breed
Light For Chickens Hens kept under natural daylight hours will lay the majority of their eggs during the spring and summer months. As the days
For easier management over the winter months, I keep my cockerels together. This is how I make the introductions without having too many feathers flying!
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!
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.
Laurence has a lot of exhibiting show chickens and judging them, right up to the National level. This article provides some excellent tips for showing
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!
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:
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
What are the best laying hens for eggs – Hybrids or pure-breeds? Anne looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the two and makes some
The ultimate guide to chicken houses, exploring features you will need to keep your chickens happy, healthy and safe from predators in their coop.
Although a chicken’s needs are fairly basic, getting the right kit can make life so much easier for the owner.
Jeremy Hobson looks at some ways of building chicken runs to give your chickens space yet still keeping them free from danger.
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.
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:
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.
This article provides information about feeding ducks: specifically domestic ducks. That is, pet ducks kept in gardens or smallholdings.
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’!
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.
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.
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.