Can Chickens Taste?

can chickens taste

If you keep chickens you will know that they have likes and dislikes, and some are just plain fussy when it comes to food choices. So, it may surprise you to learn that a hen’s ability to taste is actually quite poor.

The chicken’s tongue is small and tough and they have far fewer taste buds than we do – probably less than 500, compared to our 9000! Also, the chickens taste buds are situated at the back of the tongue so they are committed to swallow before they get any sensation for taste. 

The chicken’s brain has developed over time for sight and sound, so it is unlikely that they can smell much either.  But, what they can do, is learn. It is likely that they have learnt what is good and what isn’t, and they have a great ability for selecting healthy plants and bugs over those that may be toxic or difficult to eat. 

Research on chickens taste, likes and dislikes is scarce, but anyone who knows chickens knows they have foods they love, and foods they hate, even if science can’t fully explain this yet.

Looking for some tasty products for your chickens? Check out our poultry range here

Poultry Red Mite

poultry red mite

What are red mites?

Poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) are blood feeding parasites that live in your coop. They come out at night for a blood meal from your hens. Red mite are notoriously difficult to eradicate because, not only do they reproduce in 7-9 days, but they can survive without a blood meal for several months!

Red mites will feed from any bird and can be brought into your flock by wild birds, or another carrier like a dog or squirrel. They don’t feed from mammals but they may hitch a ride! During the day they live in the cracks and crevices of your coop, and once your hens have gone to roost they come out to feed. Their short life cycle means that their population grows rapidly. If left untreated your hens will stop laying, become anaemic and may even die.  

Wooden coops offer more hiding places, particularly if they have a felt roof. It is really important to do a thorough check every week.

How to Eradicate Red Mite

To eradicate poultry red mite, it is essential is to treat as soon as you notice any clusters. Repeat treatment every 3 – 4 days. Just a few days delay can allow the population to explode. 

We recommend our Coop Clear Powder to sprinkle under the bedding and in the nest boxes every time you clean out your coop during the summer months. Then, use the Coop Clear liquid in a spray to directly target any clusters and to really get into the corners and joins within your coop.  Coop Clear contains a patented di-sulphide extract from garlic which bugs hate. By making their environment unpleasant it will slow their reproductive rate and reduce numbers. Coop Clear is completely natural so there is no risk to hens or humans. The spray can be used even while the hens are in the coop.  Buy the bundle here.

Delicious Dandelions!

dandelions

Did you know that dandelions are packed with nutrients? They should probably be considered a super food rather than a weed!

Dandelion leaves contain more vitamins than many fruits and vegetables and are a great source of antioxidants. The root contains inulin, a type of soluble fibre with is great for digestive health. 

Dandelions have anti-inflammatory properties, help control blood sugar, support healthy joints and a healthy liver. Traditionally, they were referred to as ‘the pee herb’ as they act as a natural diuretic. With their great mineral profile some consider them a natural electrolyte too. 

Dandelions can be fed fresh or dried to your horses, dogs and chickens. For raw-fed dogs, add a few fresh dandelion leaves to their meal. If your chickens don’t have access to grass, put some dandelion leaves in a bird feeder for them to peck at. Horses also benefit from a few handfuls, especially if they are on restricted grazing. Dandelion leaves will help add natural nutrients and variety to their diet. 

Glucosamine Sulphate Vs Glucosamine HCl… and why you need to check the labels!

glucosamine sulphate, glucosamine for horses, joint supplement for horses

Glucosamine is probably the most important ingredient of any joint supplement. It is found naturally in cartilage, and has an important role to play in cushioning the joints. As the body ages, wear and tear to the joints increases to the point where the body can no longer make enough glucosamine of its own to prevent damage. This is when a supplement comes in – providing glucosamine in the diet ensures a readily available supply for maintaining healthy joints despite increased age or workload.

In most equine supplements, the glucosamine has been extracted from the shells of crustaceans. There is also a man-made vegetarian source, but this is not common place. Glucosamine does not exist as a pure glucosamine molecule – a bit like sodium,  You can’t feed pure sodium, it is only ever in the form of sodium chloride (common salt). With glucosamine, there are two common forms – glucosamine hydrochloride (glucosamine HCl) & glucosamine sulphate. (there is a third that you may come across – N-acetyl glucosamine but it works slightly differently in the body) 

So, is there a difference?

The key difference between these two forms of glucosamine is purity. They cannot be compared like for like –

Glucosamine HCl contains about 99% glucosamine

Glucosamine Sulphate has to be stabilised with a salt (usually potassium chloride) and only contains about 74% actual glucosamine.

So, if your supplement contains ‘10,000mg of glucosamine’

If the source is glucosamine HCl, you are getting 9900mg pure glucosamine, 

BUT

If the source is glucosamine sulphate your horse is only getting 7400mg of glucosamine, which is as big difference. You have to feed 35% more of the supplement to get the same specification!

Check your labels!

If in doubt, check your labels! By feed law, the manufacturer has to declare which source of glucosamine is being used in their product. But only last week, we found a joint supplement for horses being marketed as a premium product (at a premium price) and claiming to have one of the highest specifications of glucosamine on the market. They claim that this product provides 15000mg of glucosamine per 50g dose, BUT, when you look at the label it declares 298g glucosamine SULPHATE per kilo. 298g/kilo does work out as virtually 15,000mg per day, but as they use glucosamine sulphate your horse is actually only getting 11,100 mg per day!…

Hemp Oil Vs CBD Oil. Are CBD and Hemp Oil the Same?

hemp oil, CBD, hemp seed oil, hemp vs cod

Are CBD and Hemp oil the same thing?

Everyone is talking about Hemp and CBD. The UK industry has gone from nothing to worth over £300 million in just a couple of years. This is because claims suggest that CBD can relieve pain, anxiety, depression, seizures and more…

BUT, are CBD and Hemp the same thing?

CBD comes from the hemp plant but it is not the same thing as hemp oil.

CBD and Hemp seed oil both come from industrial hemp. This is the hemp grown legally and not marijuana.  Hemp Seed oil, as it’s name suggests, comes from cold pressing of the hemp seeds, and is a vegetable oil similar to linseed oil. CBD, however, is extracted mainly from the flowers and also the leaves. It is often mixed with a vegetable oil carrier (which could be hemp seed oil,  or coconut, olive etc) which is why it is often referred to as ‘CBD Oil’ 

Crucially, hemp seeds DO NOT contain CBD. 

Humans vs Animals

CBD is readily available from health food stores in the UK and can be sold as a food supplement. You will also see many CBD companies now sponsoring human athletes promoting it as a way of improving performance and increasing focus.

But, for animals, CBD is illegal without a Veterinary Prescription. In  2018, the Veterinary Directorate categorized CBD as an animal medicine. This is mainly in order to safeguard animals from the lack of regulation in the industry. CBD is also a banned substance, so while the cross country runners may be using it to improve their performance, the cross country jumping event horse could end up with a positive dope test. 

In the last few weeks, the British Equestrian Trade Association has differentiated between the higher risk hemp fibre (commonly used for bedding) and feed products from hemp seeds.  Hemp seeds do not contain CBD, so they are permitted for use in horse feeds.

To Conclude:

CBD cannot be fed to any animals unless prescribed by a Vet

CBD is a banned substance under FEI rules

Hemp Seed Oil & Hemp Seed Meal do not contain CBD

If purchasing CBD for your own use it is very much ‘buyer beware’. The lack of regulation and huge potential for profit has created some very unscrupulous companies – surveys have found that up to 62% of CBD products do not contain the amount of CBD specified on the label – some may have none at all! 

If hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD why should you feed it?

Hemp seed oil is highly nutritious. Unlike any other vegetable oils it provides the perfect balance of Omega 3:6. It is naturally rich in anti-oxidant vitamin E. It provides both SDA and GLA (neither are found in linseed) and the Omega 3 is in a readily digestible form (unlike the Omega 3 in linseed which must be converted by the body before it can be utilized).  There are many environmental benefits from growing Hemp over any other seed oil, and it is also very palatable.  

We recommend Hemp Seed Oil for all animals, for supporting healthy skin and joints and for providing extra healthy omega oils.  It is also a great source of non-heating energy for horses and may even have a calming effect.  Learn More

Read more about our Pure Devon Hemp Seed Oil here

Does your horse keep losing shoes?

my horse keeps losing his shoes

As if you didn’t have enough to cope with, now the constant wet and mud means your horse keeps losing his shoes! 

Sometimes it seems like the mud literally just sucks the shoes off, but it isn’t all down to the mud – the health of your horse’s hooves is the overriding factor.

The horse’s hoof is designed to hold a small amount of water to keep it strong, resilient and elastic to the forces of hard ground. BUT, when the hoof becomes saturated (imagine a sponge) the hoof wall will lose its structural integrity. The cells will become swollen and thus the whole hoof will start to lose its shape and it’s strength.  Research has shown that the hoof is weakest when saturated.  Excess moisture will disrupt the keratin molecules, and the bonds that hold them together. They swell, and lose their strength, making it much easier for a shoe to work lose. Also the constant wet allows bacteria and fungi to enter via the nail holes, weakening the hoof further and loosening the tightness of the nail. 

Although we can’t do much about the mud, we can make our horse’s hooves more resilient to the wet. Feeding nutrients specifically to help strengthen the hoof wall, such as Hoof Hero,  will help to protect the hooves against the wet. Ensuring that the keratin and hoof wall is in its optimum condition will help to ensure it can withstand the contstant wet and mud of winter.

Unfortunately it is not as simple as just brining your horse in. If he is out in the day and in and night, the constant wetting, then drying, swelling then contracting will also cause shoes to loosen!  

If your horse is prone to losing his shoes, feeding a supplement such as Hoof Hero can make a real difference. 

Does cold weather make your dog’s joints worse?

dog's joints, glucosamine for dogs

Many people complain that their arthritic joints flare up during cold and wet weather, so the same could be true for our dog’s joints.

There have been many studies looking at weather changes and arthritic pain but a connection between the two isn’t clear. Some scientists believe that it is a drop in barometric pressure, rather than the weather itself, that affects the joints. It could be that the lowering in pressure causes the tendons and ligaments to contract, or that colder temperatures cause the synovial fluid between the joints to thicken. It could also be that as humans (and often dogs) tend to be less active in cold wet weather, that the lack of exercise allows the joints to stiffen up and feel more painful. 

Whatever the reasons, many human arthritis sufferers claim that their joints feel worse in winter. We should be mindful that the same could apply to our dog’s joints. Maintaining regular exercise and allowing your dog to warm up gently before zooming around will help. 

Feeding a joint supplement like Bounce will also benefit your dog’s joints. Bounce contains MSM which is a natural anti-inflammatory and can therefore improve your dog’s comfort. It also contains Boswellia, along with glucosamine and chondroitin to support the cartilage and joint fluid. Bounce is a liquid supplement which you can add to your dog’s usual food. 

Win A Pair of Equestrian Jeans!

Win a pair of Georgian Dollar Jeans

A pair of Sieta Equestrian Jeans, worth £75 are up for grabs!

We are celebrating our 2nd Birthday by running a series of giveaways over on our social media pages. First up – a pair of gorgeous Georgian Dollar Equestrian Jeans:

Georgian Dollar was created by Amanda Dowie and they are based just down the road from us in Tavistock, Devon. Amanda was driven by a passion for quality, comfort and design. She wanted a pair of jeans that would look good on or off the horse, mucking out, hacking out or going out!

The Sieta Jean was born! They are made from the highest quality, softest denim offering supreme comfort in the saddle, but allowing the transition from the stable to the high street without compromising on style.

The jeans feature a discreet silicone grip and lycra ankle cuffs to reduce bulk whether in riding boots or country boots.

To Win a fabulous pair of Sieta Jeans, hop on over to our social media feeds. Every time you use the hashtag #georgiandollarjeans you will get another entry. Don’t forget to tell your friends!

Entries Close Sunday 13th October at 9pm.

Enter via our Facebook Page

Enter via Instagram

Enter via Facebook

Learn more at Georgian Dollar Jeans

Hemp Oil for Dogs, Is Hemp Oil good for Dogs?

hemp oil for dogs

There is a huge increase in demand for hemp oil, both for humans and animals. It is highly nutritious and environmentally friendly.

Hemp Oil for Dogs. 5 reasons why it is good…

  •  1. Hemp Oil contains GLA – Gamma linolenic acid – the body converts GLA into substances that reduce inflammation and cell growth. It is good for dogs with arthritis, poor skin and skin allergies plus older dogs. 
  • 2.  The right balance of Omega 3: 6. Hemp oil naturally provides the right balance of essential fatty acids. Many scientists believe that the balance between the fatty acids is equally as important as the actual amounts of them.  
  • 3. Hemp Oil contains both vitamins E & A. These are important antioxidants that support the immune system. The vitamin E within hemp oil also serves to protect the oil and prevent it from going rancid. 
  •  SDA – The rising star in the ‘omega 3 world’. SDA is easily converted to EPA in the body, and therefore offers many cellular benefits. (EPA is the major anti-inflammatory fatty acid) 
  • Clean, Raw & Environmentally friendly – Hemp plants are grown without chemicals and pesticides, so they produce a very clean and natural oil. The seeds are cold pressed. This preserves the delicate omega 3 oils which are sensitive to heat. Hemp plants are very environmentally friendly. They put more into the soil than they take out, the plants are great CO2 consumers and nothing goes to waste. None of the more common oils, such as linseed & fish have such credentials. 

There is little wonder why Pure Devon Hemp Oil is our best seller! 

Hemp Oil for Dogs:

For best results, just add a little hemp seed oil to your dog’s usual food on a daily basis.

You may also like: Hemp, one of nature’s super foods.

Dog Biscuits Recipe, Homemade dog treats

dog biscuits recipe. dog treats

Our Dog biscuits recipe is simple and easy to follow. A perfect activity to do with your children.
Here is our really simple recipe for paw-fect biscuits. 🐾

You will need:
1.  A large carrot, finely grated
2.  approx 60g of grated cheese
3.  300g of flour (we used ordinary wholemeal, but you could use buckwheat, rice flour etc if you want to make them gluten-free)
4.  35ml TOP Dog turmeric supplement
5.  35ml Pure Devon Hemp Oil
6.  1 free range egg (or 50ml of water) 

Knead everything together into a smooth dough. Roll out to approx 5mm thick and cut your shapes. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C (160 fan) for 10 – 15 minutes until they are crunchy. 

Our dog biscuits recipe is tried, tested and approved by Rosie!

Best stored in the fridge in an air-tight container.