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 lead 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 when time allows.

It’s fair to say that it has been a difficult time for everyone with the pandemic, but I hope we will see some degree of normality returning to our lives going forwards. We have welcomed many newcomers to backyard poultry keeping during the pandemic, so I hope this website can be part of inspiring these people with our hobby.

Summer is officially here, and with the longer days, our birds are laying well, and the breeding season is well underway. I have youngsters in every house and run I have available at the moment! 

The summer brings with it a few new challenges. Broody hens that won’t quit, red mite infestation in chicken coops and predators like foxes feeding their young at this time of year and may try to take our birds. I have gathered some articles that might be useful over the summer months that you might need below.

Tim Daniels poultrykeeper

Summer
in Focus

After the delights of hatching chicks through the spring, the work of rearing these youngsters starts to consume more and more time. Every available coop and run is pressed into service! So I like to power down the incubator for a few weeks and take a pause, looking at what we have and revisiting my goals.

There are several things to do and look out for; here are my bookmarks for the summer. 

Raising Goslings

Summer Bookmarks:

I have introduced a new Cream Legbar bloodline this year and look forward to seeing the resulting chicks from the two breeding pens when they get their adult plumage. I also hatched a small batch of Cuckoo Marans and Abacot Ranger ducks. It’s a busy time for everyone who has young poultry to look after!

Setting up Omlet Chicken Netting.
A temporary run for yet a few more of my youngsters!

I have tested the ChickenGuard automatic chicken coop door over the last year and have been so impressed that I recently upgraded all of my chicken houses to use the same unit just for peace of mind!

You can see it in action in my ChickenGuard Automatic Chicken Door article. 

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

I am still testing some incubators for a review next spring, it has turned into quite a large project that has taken over most of my garage!

There are a few new articles in the pipeline too, so be sure to come back again soon 🙂

Summer focus

Quail
Keeping Quail

Beginners Guide to Keeping Quail

Quail can be very productive, so they are ideal for people with small back gardens, unsuitable for chickens. This guide answers questions you may have about starting to keep quail.

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.

Red Mite
External Problems

The Ultimate Guide to Red Mite

This in-depth guide will tell you everything you need to know about red mite, how to identify them and more importantly, how to control them.

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.

Releasing Domestic Ducks
Keeping Ducks

Releasing Domestic Ducks into the Wild

Zoe Brodie-James investigates the ethics and law of releasing domestic ducks into the wild on the local pond and finds some sad and sometimes illegal scenarios that go on there.

Summer jobs...

Get a Worm Count by Post

Poultry worms increase in numbers during warmer weather, especially if the weather is wet. If you didn't send off for a worm count in the spring, now is a good time!

Sell Surplus Eggs

If you have surplus eggs, you can sell them at the gate to passers-by but be careful how you do this because there are some rules to follow.

Learn How to Sex Chicks

If you hatched chicks during the spring, you might be wondering how to determine cockerels from pullets. There are some signs you can look for in your youngsters.

Plan Holiday Cover

It’s important to make sure your chickens are properly cared for when you are away from home, even if it’s only for a couple of nights. Plan your holiday cover now.

Beware of Foxes Feeding Young

Foxes are feeding young during the summer months. As cubs grow, they start learning to hunt and are often out during the day, so be careful with free-range poultry.

Check for Red Mite

During warm weather, red mites start to multiply. Feeding off your chickens at night, they hide in cracks and crevices during the day. Make weekly checks of your coop.

Hatching and raising poultry

Hatching eggs with a broody hen

Hatching Eggs with a Broody Hen

A step-by-step guide to hatching eggs with a broody hen. Selecting the right breed and setting up a broody coop for her to incubate fertile eggs.

Feeding Chicks

Feeding Chicks

Feeding chicks when there is no broody hen to take care of them and what you can feed in an emergency if you run out of chick crumbs.

Caring for a broody hen

Broody Hen Care

How to care for a broody hen raising chicks. Tips for rearing chicks with a broody hen and providing broody hen care.

Raising-Ducklings

Raising Ducklings: A Complete Guide

Raising ducklings at home is relatively straightforward. They are more tolerant to disease and with the right equipment, are easier to brood than chicks; however,

Sexing Chicks

Sexing Chicks: How to Sex Chicks

A popular question from people incubating and hatching eggs is how to sex chicks? – how can you tell if they are male or female? Sexing chicks while young isn’t easy, but as they start to grow, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for.

How to Stop a Broody Hen

How to Stop a Broody Hen

How to break a broody hen? A hen may go broody and decide she wants to hatch some eggs out herself. Here’s how to stop a broody hen.

How to Care for Wild Baby Ducks

How to Care for Wild Baby Ducks

Note: This article on how to care for wild baby ducks pertains to wild Mallard ducklings only. Domestic breeds of duck require different types of

Candling Eggs

Candling Eggs

What will you see candling eggs? Pictures and videos of candling chicken eggs at 7 & 14 days of incubation and a useful air sac development chart.

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.

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