Welcome to Poultry Keeper

Tim Daniels

Welcome to our hobby site. Created over the last 7 years, we have over 600 articles from numerous contributors and many useful resources for the hobbyist interested in keeping chickens, ducks, geese, quail, Guinea fowl or turkeys. Whether you are a beginner or have been keeping backyard chickens all of your life, you will find something of interest here! Don’t forget you can subscribe (see right!) to receive a digest of new articles at the end of each month by email (sorry, due to my workload and a shortage of new articles, the digest is on hold for now).

Bird Flu update

With the beginning of the migration season, there have been a number of outbreaks of H5N8 or Bird Flu across Europe. We all have a responsibility to prevent our birds from becoming sick and to stop or at least limit the spread of this devastating disease.

A prevention zone has been imposed across the UK for 30 days and guidance has been published (which, is very clear and easy to understand). This means that by law we must take certain measures:

Poultry keepers in England, Scotland and Wales are now required to keep chickens, hens, ducks and turkeys housed indoors where practicable, or keep them separate from wild birds. For farmed geese, gamebirds and other captive birds where housing is less practicable, keepers must take steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

In particular, you must:

  • always practice good biosecurity.
  • keep a close watch on your birds – monitor them frequently.
  • review and assess the risk of disease to your birds with your vet.
  • plan how you will manage any free-range birds when there is a need to protect them from wild birds.
  •  feed and water birds indoors, where possible, to reduce mixing between your birds and wild birds.”

As I travel around the countryside with my day job, I see many birds still out in gardens and fields. If you are one of those people, take a look at this Google Map at the spread of H5N8 and think about the consequences carefully…

The biggest opposition people have in keeping their birds inside is their welfare, but if there is an outbreak ‘locally’, hundreds of thousands of birds could be killed.

A covered run is a good option to prevent access by wild birds. If you want a really fast solution, these walk in runs from Omlet look great. They also have an anti-dig ‘skirt’ to stop foxes. A roof cover is required because it stops droppings from wild birds from entering.

I wish you all seasons greetings and let’s hope 2017 will see bird flu on the decline wherever you are in the world.

Tim Daniels.

Winter 2016

Here are some article suggestions for the winter. You can also Tweet to @poultrykeeper and use the hashtag #pktips for seasonal poultry tips!

New to Keeping Chickens?

If you are new to the wonderful (and productive) hobby of keeping backyard chickens or just thinking about getting started then you have certainly come to the right place!

Here are some suggestions for the newcomer:

Click here for more article suggestions to help beginners.

Keeping Ducks & Geese

Toulouse Goose headIf you’re thinking of adding some domestic waterfowl to the back garden or allotment, then you may find our sections on keeping ducks and keeping geese useful.

Contrary to popular belief, domestic ducks and geese do not need a pond (they only spend 10% of their time on water) so a plastic tub refilled daily is sufficient for them to be content.

Geese are useful for keeping grass short and alerting you to unwanted visitors but ducks really are the ultimate environmental slug control on any vegetable patch!

Here is a taster of what we have in our sections on ducks and geese:

Poultry Breeds

Domestic poultry breeds come from a standard that tell us how a breed should look. In the UK we have the British Poultry Standards and the British Waterfowl Standards. There are other standards around the World though – the European Standard, American Standard of Perfection and Australian Poultry Standard.

If you are considering which breed to keep, want to learn more about the breeds or just browse through some photos then our breed pages should help:

Chicken BreedsChicken BreedsDuck BreedsDuck BreedsGoose BreedsGoose Breeds

Faverolles Chicken Head

Poultry For Sale

Our database of poultry for sale lists over 300 breeders in the UK and Ireland. A map also helps you to locate breeders nearby.

Entry to our breeders database is free so if you breed and sell poultry on a small-scale, you can be included.

Poultry Shows

If you’d like to meet some like-minded people and pick up some tips whilst seeing some of the best birds in town, then there’s no better place to go than a poultry show. Here are the latest show reports and photos we have received. If you have a show report, results or a few photos then please get in touch with me.

Visit our Poultry Show section for more information on showing poultry and don’t forget our Poultry Events Calendar for forthcoming shows and other events.

Poultry Diseases & Disorders

Sadly poultry do get ill from time to time, so in our poultry diseases and disorders section we have a number of articles to help you learn about potential problems you might face and have included a large sub-section on a very common problem: red mite.

Here are a few popular articles from our poultry medication, health supplements and poultry diseases sections:

If your birds fall ill, I would recommend you contact a vet that specialises in poultry. Our Poultry Vets Database (UK and Ireland) is a good starting point to find one in your area.

Omlet Chicken Fence