Whilst visiting friends, they asked for some advice on their flock. Their coop had contracted red mite in a very bad way – and the housing was covered, but despite all attempts, the little blighters kept coming back.
We had a quick look and promptly offered to give the chooks a holiday at Merrybower, on clean ground and in clean houses. Seeing nothing else to give us great alarm, we knew it was highly unlikely the red mites would be on the birds during daylight hours whilst outside, so we wouldn’t be transferring any to our gaff.
On arrival, we put six, including Colin the cock, in a spare Eglu Cube, and seven in a spare Green Frog Designs Livestock Ark, which we used for chicks last year. We started them on a seven day course of Flubenvet, which was given ready-mixed in Marriage’s Farmyard Layers Pellets with integrated Flubenvet. Whilst they were caged in their runs, this would ensure they got a good worming dose. Noticing a bird with runnyish poos, we also gave them a three day course of Tylan Soluble antibiotic – 0.5g for every litre of water, mixed fresh every 24 hours. Noticing some also had scaly leg mite, we also dropped a spot of Ivermectin on the back of the neck of all of them, and will repeat that in three weeks’ time.
We think the big difference was the food. It’s possible that they’d been put off eating the food in their old coop because of the mite association, but for whatever reason, they tucked into the Marriage’s pellets like there was no tomorrow! They’re also going through the moult, which is a tough time for any bird. To help them along with that they had our special mix of mashed potato, live yoghurt, cod liver oil and poultry spice. It stinks, but boy do they love it! And the difference a few days later is amazing – they’re more relaxed and look much perkier, despite still looking rather bedraggled with their old feathers still intact.
For any regulars reading this, Colin the cock is actually one of our boys bred last year, so he’s returned home! We haven’t mentioned this, but Red, his brother that we kept, was killed by a fox this spring. It was an upsetting thing for us all, made worse in that he was the last in the bloodline of our flock. But with Colin here we might be able to ‘borrow’ him for another brood next year, if all goes well. We still don’t know Colin as well as we knew Red, who was very gentle, but none of us have been pecked by Colin, even when handling him and his ladies for scaly leg mite, so it looks promising so far.