Saturday, June 06, 2009

Preparing for the new flock

I've spent the last few days getting a couple of our mobile sheds ready for the new flock of point of lay pullets which will arrive towards the end of this month. Some of the nest boxes need to be fixed up but everything should be right within a day or so.
We buy-in the birds at 15 or 16 weeks old and normally they start laying within a couple of weeks. Occasionally we have raised our birds from day old, but the workload is a bit much with everything else we have to do and there is no cost saving.
The biggest single problem is vaccinations. Many of the vaccines are only available in large doses - 3000 or 4000. And if you are only vaccinating 300 birds the rest of the vaccine is wasted because you have to throw it away.

We have found that the Isa Brown pullets raised by Mark Plowman are just as good as the pullets we raised ourselves in the past and it's much easier to get them by sending an email or picking up the phone!

It's essential that the birds are not de-beaked and are raised in the open once they are fully feathered and don't need heat.