A hen keeper for more than 20 years with a 300 strong flock on her Hampshire / Surrey smallholding, chicken expert Suzie Baldwin from Hollywater Hens offers her advice and September tips for keeping chickens:
We've been busy moving the coops nearer to the large barns and hedges that will provide shelter from the elements later in the autumn. The barn has been fllled with straw, which made for hours of fun for my children and chickens alike, while the sheds where the chicks were raised in spring and summer are now clear and disinfected; they will remain empty until we start hatching again next year.
With the nights beginning to draw in, it's also time to spruce up your run, if it is fixed. For bare ground that is prone to becoming water logged: after turning over the earth, removing any heavily soiled areas and spraying with Virkon -S disinfectant, add a good, deep layer of bark and some lengths of timber for your birds to perch on and explore. Place slabs around the outside of your fencing, as this not only gives you a path to walk on but helps prevent predators digging in. Similarly, check feed bins for signs of rodents, which maybe moving into more sheltered places - especially if corn and layers pellets are available - and remember to sweep up any spillages.