After a spike in chook purchases during COVID-19, a new free program allows owners to learn the essentials about the health of their feathered friends.
COVID-19 has seen a spike in the Australian ownership of backyard chicken, with one store recording sales of chickens had risen by 300 per cent.
Many first-time chicken owners may be unaware of the unique elements that are essential to care for a healthy happy hen. The transition into spring presents the perfect opportunity for both long-time and newbie chook owners to learn the needs of their feathered friends.
During winter, many chickens lay fewer or no eggs; but as Australia moves into the warmer weather of spring, egg production begins to speed up. At this important milestone, health check-ups become vital to ensuring chooks have the best chance at thriving in the egg-laying season.
Bree Avery, General Manager Nutrition and Technical at Barastoc, grew up as a chook owner on her family’s farm and understands first-hand how easy it can be to miss the signs of ill health.
“Chickens are very stoic and shy when it comes to showing their health issues, which means that if you don’t know what to look for, you can often miss the signs until it is too late,” Ms Avery said.
“Chickens can very easily develop nutritional imbalances, such as calcium deficiency, but these can be easy to avoid if you have the right know-how and nutritional support.”
Barastoc have today launched the hengineering degree, a free online resource that allows new chicken owners to learn critical information about chook welfare and provides a helpful refresh for long-time owners.
Each of the four modules of the hengineering degree lasts one week and covers the essentials for ensuring the health of chickens. The modules are ‘physical and nutritional’, ‘enrichment and behaviour’, ‘environment and accommodation’ and ‘all about the egg’.
Barastoc believes all backyard chicken owners can become Barastoc accredited ‘hengineers’.
“The program has been designed to give chook owners all the tools they need to tackle spring flush, into egg laying season and beyond.” Ms Avery said.
“It’s great to see that people have taken such an interest in chooks during COVID-19, and now we want to share our knowledge so that every chook can get the care they deserve. At Barastoc we’re all about ‘putting the chicken before the egg’, and it’s very encouraging to see so many Australians are also looking at hen health as a priority.”
Participants who complete all four modules will receive an official hengineering degree and will go in the draw to win one of ten prize packs of Barastoc products.
“Anyone can own a chicken, but it takes a qualified hengineer to understand these clever creatures,” said Ms Avery.
To sign up for the Barastoc hengineering degree, visit the Barastoc website at http://barastocpoultry.com.au/hengineering.