Neil Armitage (519)

I am an experienced poultry keeper who has been raising chickens for over 20 years in challenging conditions in Yorkshire, UK. I am passionate about helping people learn about and enjoy the benefits of keeping chickens. I love raising chickens because they are such friendly and productive animals, providing me with fresh eggs, meat, and fertiliser, and they are a lot of fun to watch.

A broody hen on a nest but can you persuade hens to go broody.

Can you make a hen go broody?

A Silkie hen enjoying her time in the dust bath.

Do Silkie chickens need a dust bath?

A snake eating an egg in the nest

15 ways to keep snakes out of the chicken coop.

Should you put food and water in the chicken coop?

This is definitely a happy chicken. How can the keeper tell whether their flock is happy and in good health.

How do you know if your chickens are happy?

A pop hole in a home built chicken coop

Chicken coop doors and pop holes

A nest full of eggs from my light Sussex bantams

Are bantam chickens good egg layers.

Chicken coops can be too big or small and both have their problems.

Can a coop be too big or too small

A happy broody hen settled on her nest.

Are bantams broody?

A young chickens looking for food in fresh pasture.

What do chickens eat naturally?

Hens do like water but will drown easily.

Can and should chickens swim?

A mother hen with a large brood of chicks.

How many chicks can a chicken look after.

Chickens free ranging on fresh pasture.

How to provide fresh greens for chickens in winter.

Silkies do roost and it is important for all chickens to be able to perch.

Do Silkie chickens roost? And how high should they be.

A whole flock of chickens sleeping in the nest box.

11 reasons chickens sleep in nest boxes and how to stop it.

What should you avoid when breeding or buying Silkies.

Faults in Silkies.

I test 4 of the current range of automatic coop door openers .

A review of automatic chicken coop door openers with 4 on test.

Washing a bathing Silkies  so as they look nice for they show.

How to wash and bath a Silkie.

Older hens have some special needs but are very useful to have around.

Dealing with older hens or biddies.

A showgirl Silkie perching

What is a Showgirl Silkie?

A close up of a silkie chickens feet showing some of the problems they have.

Looking after a Silkies feet. Common problems and treatment.

Silkie chickens are some of the slowest growing  chickens

How fast do Silkie chickens grow

A lost chickens peering out from under branches.

Lost chickens

Show chickens are impressive but how do you breed better stock

Improving your show stock of chickens

Mother hens are very good at looking after their young but lack the equipment to nurse.

Do chickens breastfeed or nurse their young?

Two Silkie chickens in the snow.

Silkies in the ice, cold and wet of winter

A well bred Silkie hen.

Breeding Silkies and Showgirls

What happens if you breed bantams and large fowl chickens together.

Breeding bantam and large fowl chickens together

A tray of Silkie eggs showing the colour

Silkie eggs

Telling the boys from the girls is very difficult with silkies.

Sexing Silkie chickens

Bantams never seem to be sold sexed.

Why are bantams only sold as straight run

Bantams can be good egg producers as well.

Why keep bantam chickens

A selection of different types of bantams

Types and varieties of bantam chickens

Two different sizes and colours of Silkie chicken.

Types and sizes of Silkie chickens

Silkie cockerels are generally a pleasure to have around.

The Silkie cockerel

A selection of eggs from my bantam chickens.

Bantam chicken eggs

A beautiful white Silkie at a poultry show.

Silkies for showing and how to prepare for judging.

A sick Silkie chicken with an eye infection.

Silkie problems and diseases

Silkie chickens and parasites

A pair of Silkie chickens eating.

Feeding Silkies and what to give as treats

A free range chicken out on grass.

Should I free range my chickens and bantams?

How much is too much to pay for silkies.

Where to get Silkies and how much to pay for them.

The breed standard of perfection for the Silkie chicken.

Silkie breed standard.

A silkie chicken plucked and ready for cooking.

Keeping silkies for meat

A family of Silkie chickens.

Incubating and hatching Silkie eggs

A Silkie chicken from the history books.

History and origin of the Silkie chicken

Silkies need a little extra care.

Care of Silkie chickens

One of my Silkie cross chickens I use for hatching chicks.

Broody Silkie chickens

Organic feed is more expensive but better for your chickens.

Organic chicken feed and do you need it

What is the best thing to put on the floor of a chicken run.

What is the best floor materials for a chicken run?

Should you give your chickens extra light and how to do it.

Artificial light for chickens

Good fences are a necessity for chickens.

How high do fences need to be for chickens?

Bantams will dig up your garden, ruin your lawn and dust bathe in your flower beds just like all other chickens.

Will bantams ruin my garden?

When well looked after bantams live a long time.

How long do bantam chickens live

Do bantams need smaller coops than large fowl.

Bantam chicken coops and housing

A bantam wyandotte in the snow.

Bantams and winter

Feeding chickens easy if you follow a few simple yarmulkes

Chicken feeding mistakes

Chickens can get lonely, feel depressed and be sad.

Do chickens get sad, lonely or depressed?

Breeding bantam chickens is a little different to breeding large fowl

Breeding chickens and bantams

Should you get large fowl or bantam chickens.

Should I get large fowl chickens or bantams

Large chickens and bantams can be kept together quite easily if a few rules are followed.

Keeping bantams and large fowl chickens together

Most people get Silkie chickens to be pets.

Silkie chickens as pets

This si my pet cat. he is no threat to any of my chickens but some cats are a problem.

Bantams and cats

Bantams are smaller than other chickens and need to be kept inside for longer before they are let out to free range.

When can bantams go outside?

Bantam chickens are a lot smaller and quieter than large fowl.

Are bantam chickens quieter?

A splash rose-comb bantam chicken in a show cage

Bantam chicken keeping

This is one of my Barnevelder cockerels resting on the grass in front of a row of trees.

Should you have trees in the chicken run and which ones are the best.

A bucket of fresh eggs collected from my hens. All chickens are seasonal  layers to some extent.

Seasonal chickens vs Year round layers

3 white orpington hens and a cockerel on pasture in my garden

Orpington chickens as pets

A young buff coloured orpington chicken, sometimes called a grower.

Breeding Orpington chickens

A close up of a buff orpington showing the characteristics in detail.

Orpington characteristics

Egg shell thickness and strength and how to measure it.

Thickness and strength of eggshells and why it matters.

All the eggs from all birds currently kept as poultry.

Poultry eggs FAQ. Everything you ever wanted to know about eggs.

Chickens forage instinctively, it is not a learned behaviour.

All the chicken behaviours, and which are instinctive or learned.

The mobile air cell in this egg is clearly visible.

Detached, saddled or tremulous air cells and what to do about them.

An egg clearly showing the air sack in the round end.

Air cells in eggs. Where to find them and what are they for.

The floating egg method of testing the freshness of eggs with the results.

How to test eggs for freshness. 4 methods with the results.

A chicken behind bars

The laws and regulations of chicken and poultry keeping.

Terms and conditions.

A chickens having a poop.

Diarrhoea in chickens. What causes it and how to deal with it.