At County vets we deal with everything from sparrows to swans! Keeping birds as pets can be quite a commitment especially when it comes to some of the parrot species which can live for up to 70 years! Birds require specialist care and we would advise anyone thinking of buying a feathered friend to do their research. Good diet and husbandry practice are very important to prevent health and behavioural issues.
There has been a real upsurge in the keeping of backyard chickens which has also been encouraged by the increased popularity of rescuing ex-battery hens by the British Hen Welfare Trust. You don't need a license to keep poultry but if you keep more than 50 you need to register with the local DEFRA office. The average life span of chickens in 8-10 years (but many rescue ex-battery hens are several years old when rescued).
During the summer when the daylight is long a chicken can lay up to 7 eggs a week (but most don't, and again ex-battery hens have often drastically reduced).
A standard diet is pellets, mash or meal with a source of grit to provide a grinding surface to break then down, and help with the extra calcium for egg laying. Pecking at grass is good, if that gets a little short or messy then hanging greens in the pen can help.
Poultry can carry several diseases which are transmissable to humans through eggs or through their faeces so hygiene is very important during and after handling them.
We also work with a number of local gamekeepers providing them with advice, diagnostics, preventative medicine and health and welfare consultations.