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Clare Taylor

I keep a dozen pure breed bantams in my garden, and also present chicken keeping courses for Cotswold Chickens in my spare time. My extensive experience in keeping chickens has shown me that good nutrition is essential for both their health and the quality of the eggs which they lay (which means that it impacts on our own health too).

I use Lifeguard Tonic in my hens’ water most of the year round, but especially through the winter and in times of stress, like when they are moulting.

I have noticed a significant improvement in their health and egg laying since using it, in fact this is a definite improvement on the previous tonic that I gave them. Their new feathers come through much quicker and are glossier; their combs are perkier and redder. I also find that the quality of the eggs is better, with deeper coloured, richer yolks and less soft shells. Even my oldest lady, who is 5 now, and has semi-retired from laying, is gracing us with perfect eggs every now and then since being on the tonic. Lifeguard seems to have had a beneficial effect on their tums too, with less ‘poo problems’ and firmer droppings, which is no mean feat considering what some of them like to eat!

I reckon that ‘The Laydees’ need some help through the freezing and dark winter months, so, being a firm believer in ‘getting out what you put in’ where hens are concerned, I make up some warm mash on very cold nights, adding a few treats like sweet corn, raisins, garlic powder and cod liver oil; I always stir in a spot of Lifeguard too. Like all pure breeds, they take the winter off laying eggs and give themselves a rest, so need all those extra nutrients to re-feather and start producing eggs again in January.

I find it very easy to use and just pop a teaspoonful in each of the litre drinkers. It doesn’t stain either, which is a problem that I found with another tonic. I like the fact that I can find it easily through local feed stockists and that it comes in several sizes so that people with smaller flocks can use up it before the use by date.

I present chicken keeping courses up to advanced level and always recommend Lifeguard Tonic as being the best that I have used, and consider it a ‘must’ for ex-battery hens in helping them to recover and re-grow their feathers after being re-homed.

“My daughter and I live in a terraced Victorian house close to the centre of Banbury in Oxfordshire, we don't have much land, just a long, thin garden, so the dozen pure breed bantams I have are just perfect. They complete our menagerie of 1 lurcher, 2 bunnies, 2 cats... oh, and a few thousand worms in the wormery. I always wanted to keep my own hens; my Italian grandfather kept chickens and rabbits for food and the idea of growing my own eggs appealed to me. My daughter is 11 now, and loves the chickens too - she is a real authority on poultry keeping and helps out on my courses.”