I wonder if you can help me please – I’ve three bantam chicks, living with their mother and two other hens in an Eglu. We leave out chick crumbs for the chicks and layers’ pellets and maize for the hens, but the hens seem to be rather partial to the chick crumbs, and it’s difficult to separate the feed.  Is it safe to eat the eggs that our hens are laying when they’re eating chick crumbs or should we disregard them?Steven Kingston, via email

It all depends on whether there is a coccidiostat in the chick crumbs. This is a chemical to help control the disease coccidiosis as it allows the birds to build up their own immunity. If it says on the label of the feed bag that there is a coccidiostat included, then don’t eat the eggs if the laying hens are eating the chick crumbs. To separate the chick food from the adult food, place an old wire freezer basket or something similar over the food bowl so that the chicks can get through but the adults can’t. If the chicks are older and bigger, devise some other arrangement (the lamb creep principle) to keep the adults away from the chick food. If the chick crumbs don’t have a coccidiostat in, then it’s fine to eat the eggs, but a rather expensive way of producing them! VR

Victoria Roberts BVSC MRCVSEmail the Vet’s forum at: vetsforum.csh@archant.co.uk

Disclaimer: The information and advice in this column is given in good faith. However, as the animals in question have not been examined by the author, no liability in respect of diagnosis or application of any treatments is accepted either by the author or by Country Smallholding

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