Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Don't like the menu!

I worm the Girls 3 times a year.

Until last year, I used the "grape" method.  I had some super-accurate jewellery scales, and weighed out the required dose of Flubenvet for all my Girls for a week. Then I would cut up grapes, dip them in the measured  Flubenvet, and individually hand feed each Girl.  Florence, who is an enormous Australorp, had extra to take into account her extra weight.

It was harder on the allotment, as there were more Girls and they were much less used to being handled. It wasn't hard giving them the grapes,  it was hard to make sure each chook got only one dusted grape, and to keep track of who had had it and who hadn't.  Doing it as a 2 person job made it easier.

It was easy to buy a tub (which had enough for hundreds of hens, and a long sell by date) and then share it with other hen-owning friends.    Suddenly, it became illegal to do that.  It was supplying a restricted product, and was banned.

It's now much more difficult to get the original strength of Flubenvet. Instead, a weaker (and therefore more required) dose is available, which definitely needs to be mixed with pellets to ensure a good dose.  It comes in small measures, and works out much more expensive to buy enough for all my Girls than the original strength.

Mixing with pellets is a slow and painful process.  You have to start with a very small quantity of pellets, and mix in the powder. When you are sure it is properly mixed, you add more pellets and mix and mix. And more.  And again.  And again, until you have mixed in the right amount of pellets for the number of hens for the amount of powder.  And it doesn't stick of its own accord, you need to add a bit of oil or something.    Te-dee-us.

One of the feed companies, Marriages, started doing pellets with Flubenvet already mixed in. What a great idea,  why hadn't smeone thought of it before?!  I tried them once last year.  Normal feed is replaced entirely with these pellets, for 7 days.  This ensures that each hen gets exactly the right amount of Flubenvet for her weight.

I don't normally feed Marriages, and none of the chickens appreciated the diet change.On the Allotment,  hardly any seemed to get eaten.  I loved the idea, but it really didn't seem to work for me.

My tub of Flubenvet is now past its use-by date.  It's time to worm, so I searched for a replacement. I did find somewhere that sold the stronger stuff and, because of my Allotment hens, I would have been able to purchase it.   I decided, however, to give the Marriages one more go.

I ordered direct from Marriages. The shipping (courier, next day) made it quite expensive  but, considering it also gave me a sack of feed equating to a week's worth of feed for everyone, it worked out at a reasonable price overall.  It's also more convenient than hand feeding grapes and, of course, it ensures a much more accurate dose.

I've started this morning with the Garden Girls.    They don't appreciate the change of menu.   I'm going to leave them in the Run for longer than normal today,  and I'm going to cut back on treats for the next 7 days.   I will, however, let them free range.

I weighed out 2.5kg of feed and spread it between the two feeders.   2.5kg is between 3 and 5 days feed for my 5 Girls (at between 150g and 100g per hen per day).  I'll top it up in a few days.

I hope the Girls learn to eat it. 

It seems such a convenient way to worm.

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