Get the feed right


Farmgate - Credit: Archant

Advice from Lisa Mancell at Farmgate

Spring is upon us after a mixed bag of weather at the start of this year and now is the time for chicks, new lambs and new beginnings. However, avian flu still putting a slight dampener on things.

There are still restrictions in place in certain prevention zones, and these restrictions need to be adhered to so that we can tackle this threat. Poultry keepers are required to take various actions to protect their birds from the disease, which is being spread by wild birds.

DEFRA has full guidelines on its website, please refer to these if you have any concerns:

Taking care of your birds during this time is still important, as they will be cooped up for longer in the restricted areas and will need extra stimulation to alleviate boredom.

If you are in a high risk area, by law birds need to be housed or separated from wild birds. It is your responsibility to keep your birds comfortable during this time. Check them regularly, ensuring they have enough food and water and dry, fresh bedding. To reduce feather pecking add straw bales, perches, cabbages and scatter mixed corn or feed on the ground, which will encourage them to scratch.

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If you have got new chicks and young birds, they will also need to be kept separate and safe and ensure they are getting the correct feed for the early stage of their lives. In the coming weeks your birds will be ready to move onto a laying diet.

Feed choices

Farmgate Feeds has four products suitable for this age of birds:

Farmgate Layers Pellets & Mash are our two flagship diets within the Farmgate range, both containing limestone and oyster shell, so there is no additional requirement for these within the diet. We also have Farmgate Natural Layers Pellets (our organic offering) and Farmgate Super Omega Mash, a uniquely manufactured product containing LINTEC. All our diets are fully balanced and contain the same optimum levels of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D3 that are required for shell quality, bone strength, consistent yolk colouring along with ‘egg’cellent egg production and size!

Feed intake will vary according to season, housing standard and weather conditions and the breed of your birds. As a recommended guide, we suggest feeding 1kg / bird / week on an ad-lib basis. If you have free-range birds they will forage and root for greens, supplementing their diet. In addition you can give them mixed corn as a treat.

Getting a good balanced diet into your laying birds is vital in egg production. Mixed corn, greens and suchlike will not provide the correct nutrients and you could find yourself suffering from soft shells, pale yolks, inconsistent white or even a drop in egg production.

For more advice on feeding and the welfare of your birds please email me for a Poultry Care Pack: or call 08456 711206 or visit our website