Welcome to Poultry Boarding Holidays at Merrybower Homestead, near Derby in South Derbyshire

Here at Merrybower Homestead your chickens will be camping on fresh grass, on their very own plot. They are surrounded by the South Derbyshire countryside, not far from Derby, and have stunning views of the green fields surrounding us. They will have their own fox-proof run to pootle around in, with their attached coop moved on to fresh grass within their plot as befits the number of chickens camping in it. Layers pellets will be provided – it’s what we feed our ladies – unless you would like to bring your own food. Water and grit will also be provided – we’ll add a dash of cider vinegar to the water unless you ask otherwise – it’ll give their tummies a holiday too! No doubt they’ll also get a helping of “Special Mash” on a weekend if they’re around long enough. In the late afternoon we’ll give them their night-time portions of corn, to give their crops something to munch on whilst they snooze, and any eggs they lay we’ll put aside for your return as a welcome home pressie, unless you ask us not to.

Poultry Boarding

Our Coops

For hygiene and security reasons we use plastic coops (Omlet Eglu Go, Go Up and Cube) for chicken boarding, all runs have an anti-dig skirt and are a doddle to clean, and keep clean, between visits.

Cleanliness

After each visit the houses are cleaned and disinfected with Barrier V1 Insecticidal organic disinfectant, ready for newly arriving guests. The droppings trays are filled with pine wood shavings, and the nest boxes lined with either the same or barley straw – softer and warmer than wheat straw. We sprinkle diatomaceous earth over the wood shavings, which all sits under perches so your ladies’ bottoms won’t come into contact with it. The coops are cleaned out at least once a week, again depending on the state your ladies make. The coops are also moved on to fresh grass as and when needed – usually daily.

Security

The holiday homes are kept separate to our own flocks, in a different part of the smallholding. Your ladies won’t free range, partly for inter-flock hygiene reasons, and also because they are much safer in their own coop and run. We will let them out on to the fresh grass first thing in the morning and put them to bed once they’ve decided it’s time – we know they just can’t be rushed to bed!

Prices

We have a minimum stay of 3 nights.

Each part day is charged at a full day’s rate. We require a 25% deposit when you drop your hens off, we accept cash or direct bank payment.

Omlet Eglu Go – £5 per day (suitable for 2 large hens, 3 medium hens or 4 bantams
Omlet Eglu Go Up! – £5 per day (suitable for 2 large hens, 3 medium hens or 4 bantams)
Omlet Cube – £6.50 to £9.50 – dependent on how many birds per day (suitable for 4 large hens, 6 medium hens or 8 bantams)

Drop Off & Pickup

When dropping off your chooks, please bring them in a suitable container – either a cardboard box with breathing holes or pet carrier – and we can keep that here for you whilst you’re away. As a guide, a suitable container is one in which a hen can stand up, turn around and sit back down in, and has ventilation on at least two sides, but also in the ceiling. Chickens can’t sweat and will soon overheat in a covered box.

Dropping off times can be arranged when you book, or nearer the collection date if easier. Assuming you left your carriers with us, if you give us a call before you’re leaving to pick them up, we can have them ready and sat in their boxes for when you arrive.

If you aren’t likely to make the agreed time for dropping off or picking up, please call in advance to make sure someone is around to help you out once you do arrive.

Health

Please do check your pets very carefully before bringing them for their boarding holiday – we are very sorry but out of consideration for all the chickens and ducks to come after them, and our own, we can’t accept poorly birds due to the possibility of cross-contamination. We ask that you treat your chickens with a mite powder and both chickens and ducks with a wormer before their holiday. If you have any particular issues with any of your ladies, please do visit a vet first, to save disappointment on the day if we have to turn them away. Typical problems are respiratory issues, gasping for air, runny noses, lice, mites and signs of scaly leg mite. To save you some hassle, we can worm your animals for you whilst you’re away. It’s a seven day course of Flubenvet given via layers pellets, but if their stay is shorter, we can give you the remainder of the medicated feed to take home with you. A bag suitable for 10 birds will cost £15, this is the smallest quantity we can provide as it would be bought in especially for you.

If one of your ladies becomes ill whilst staying at Merrybower Homestead, we will take her to our vets just two miles away, unless you have specifically asked us not to or you have given us your preferred vet’s details within a 10-mile radius. All vet’s bills will be added to our costs, but we will attempt to keep you informed before doing anything, unless it’s an emergency. If we discover a bird has something that may be contagious whilst staying with us, we reserve the right to consult a vet and/or treat them ourselves and charge accordingly.

Weird Stuff (It Happens!)

If you are delayed and can’t make it back for the agreed time to pick your ladies up, we’ll do our best to keep them comfy, although they may need to change coops if theirs is already booked. If, for some bizarre reason, we never hear from you again, after seven days we will assume you’ve had enough of chicken keeping and we will become their new human slaves!

For availability and to book, please call us on 07941 905796 or email info@merrybower.co.uk

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