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what to look for when picking birds?

Discussion in 'Poultry Breeders' started by emzybabe, Jul 26, 2009.


  1. emzybabe

    emzybabe PetForums VIP

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    In the near future when I move house, I would like to get a few ducks and chickens.

    I went to the sussex county show this year as I do every year, and saw a couple of different people selling poultry, some of these birds looked very mucky and bald in places. I wondered if the baldness was just feathers coming through? also some were very smelly

    I have very little knowledge of poultry and just wondered if any of you could give me some pointers on what to look for when picking birds? and what age is best to get them?

    Many thanks Emz
     
  2. emzybabe

    emzybabe PetForums VIP

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    also has any one rescued battery hens?
     
  3. annianni

    annianni PetForums Junior

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    Hi Emzybabe
    Chickens and ducks - you are soooo going to enjoy them.
    My advice (having had both for many years) is;
    You can get "rescued" battery chickens and ducks.
    Go to Battery Hen Welfare Trust who will point you to your nearest local Rescue to have a look.
    Don't be put off by how they look - feathers grow back and they will reward you 100 times over!
    If you want to go for pure breeds and / or buy locally do be careful....you are right to worry if they do not seem in good condition - use your gut feeling and trust it.
    Having said that there are lots of reputable people with birds to sell.
    If you have a local free range egg seller (side of the road type thing) go and talk to them and ask advice - they often know of birds for sale or even have some themselves.
    Ask the age of the birds and if they are laying, if you want eggs.
    You may have a poultry market in the Plymouth area. I have got lots of my chickens from ours in Hereford, and gone with my gut feelings about them - never had a problem apart from a couple of Hoodlum runner ducks who had to go!!
    Good luck, and start small, despite the temptation to have lots, and you will love it and get many happy hours of fun!
     
  4. emzybabe

    emzybabe PetForums VIP

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    thanks thats really helpful :)
     
  5. AnnC

    AnnC PetForums Member

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    It depends on the breed you're wanting, if you're just wanting a few hens to roam around the garden and lay a few eggs, then ex-bats are ideal. Don't expect miracle straight away with them, they'll need a fair amount of time [a few months] to find out what being a free range hen is all about and then they'll love it.

    It's also very rewarding, taking in a scraggy wreck and see it fill out into a happy, confident chicken thats out in all weathers. Watching a hen thats a year or so old take its first dust bath and see the pleasure on its face is such a huge reward. On the downside, sadly a few don't make the transition and may die from shock at such a big sudden change in their lives when health wise they are at their lowest ebb anyway.


    If on the other hand you're wanting traditional rare breeds, then think firstly about breed, they all have very different characteristics, size, large fowl or bantam. Also bear in mind that certain breeds L/F are other breeds bantam size. Once you've decided on this, search around in varying places for people who breed poultry in a resaonable close distance [remember if you go for an unusual breed you'll have to travel further to find it]

    Contact the breed clubs secretary for information on breeders near you or buy a poultry related magazine which has a section for breeders to advertise.

    Don't be put off if the breeder won't allow you to visit their premises, this is a self protection strategy against the increasing numbers of poultry thefts.

    If you are not happy with the state of the poultry, then simply walk away, otherwise you could end up in a situation where you are paying out for expensive treatments or have a dead bird on your hands.

    If the bird looks lively, takes an interest in whats happening around it, then thats a fair indication of a helthy fowl. Go and see a few poultry shows for one thing it will give you an ide of breeds and for another, you'll see healthy poultry.

    As for smell, theres only one reason why poultry smell bad, thats poor conditions and possibly over crowding, if so avoid, poor hygiene over crowding leads to sickness in poultry.

    As for ducks, well pretty much the same applies. I would suggest you join a dedicated poultry forum, no offense intended on this excellent forum and its good members, but it covers a wide range of animals and a poultry forum specialises in poultry with some having sections on water fowl too.

    Katie Thears book, starting with ducks was invaluable to myself and my husband when we first started with ducks, written in clear understandable English.

    Heres some useful links for you -
    Domestic waterfowl Club
    The Poultry Club of Great Britain: Breeds

    Sorry to go on, hope it helps Ann
     
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