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  1. I am receiving my first POL hens in a fortnight (and am very excited 🤗). I'm starting very simply with two standard Gingernut Rangers (although the supplier calls them Cotswold Goldlines) in an Eglu Classic with a 3 m run. I'd have liked to have gone for more but my husband is urging caution until we are [he is] convinced this is for us. I am obviously going to get some of the pellets they are used to, to settle them in. But I'd like advice on what is a good brand of feed to use in the long term? I'd ideally like organic, but also would like an easy supply (so not having to pay expensive delivery charges and/or take delivery of huge bags!). Also, I am a little overwhelmed regarding feed supplements (seaweed? garlic granules?) and water supplements (tonic? probiotic powder? garlic? AVC?) Can anyone recommend a supplements regime that is going to help the hens stay healthy and happy without over complicating things for a newbie! Finally, would anyone advise Bokashi Bran? It sounds like a good idea. And how much to use? Thank you in advance
  2. Can anybody tell me whether a chicken can get enough nutrition from free-ranging alone? Mine free-range 24 hours per day. I'm asking because, like so many on here, I'm currently having a running battle with rats in their feed. As mentioned here: I am using a Feed-o-Matic to keep the rats out. For a short period the feed I needed went down. Then it went back to normal. I assumed that this was because the chickens were working up to laying again until I found nine rats in a row, like men on bar stools in a pub, enjoying a meal from the feeder; and this morning there were five rats shut inside it. The only solution I have is to raise the feeder off the ground so that the rats cannot reach it, but that has to be high - greater than 80 cm I've read, as rats can jump - and even experimenting with low heights has shown that the chickens can't work out that they need to jump up to get to the feeder. So, I'm wondering if they get enough nutrition from free-ranging to keep them going until me and the rats have finished our battle, or whether anybody has any other ideas (that doesn’t involve killing the rats). Cheers.

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