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About Roksteddie

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    Chicken Eggspert
  1. Too much grit?

    The pot is green and has never changed and I'd always believed they'd simply ignored it all this time. I guess I'll just relax and do a weekly topping up then. Thanks Dogmother!
  2. Too much grit?

    So I've always let my girls free range everyday so assumed they'd get all the grit they needed from foraging. Plus there is always grit left in the bottom of their grit pot so I haven't topped it up or replenished in months. I just happened to tip out the contents the other day and put in a fresh batch and the girls went crazy for it. So I topped it up 3 times and they still went crazy for it. I've topped it up everyday for the last few days and the reaction is always the same - a feeding frenzy. On closer inspection it looks like they're only targeting the shell fragments. So do they have a calcium deficiency? They're fed a good quality feed - Dodson and Horell's layers pellets, and the quality of their egg shells has never diminished. Should I continue topping up daily or are they just being 'greedy'?
  3. Foxes be gone! Effective deterrent?

    Has anyone ever used a fox control company? They look rather expensive and I wonder that even if we have our current 2 visitors taken care of, another 2 would return. These 2 are so persistent that I doubt anything would deter them really... guess I could try the urine thing tomorrow!
  4. We've had a war with foxes for a few weeks now. Evidence of them returning night after night, causing more and more damage. Then one day last week we heard Whitney screaming her head off and rushed out to see that 2 young foxes actually had Mariah! We scared them and they released Mariah, who stumbled over to us... a hell of a lot of feathers missing. Feathers everywhere! Miraculously she survived and all 3 are pretty much back to normal now. Anyway that night they came back about 6 times an hour and have wreaked havoc in our garden every night since. They have repeatedly destroyed the tarp covering the run, they poo on top of the coop and run (and anywhere else they please) EVERY NIGHT! They dig up plants and around the base of our pear tree EVERY NIGHT! Can someone please point me to the most effective, but chicken friendly fox deterrent ????!!!!!(I'd rather they were deceased but know this is not an option). I'm not overly worried about the girls - they seem to be very secure in their Go Up no matter how much they persist. It's just the constant mess and destruction that's driving me mad! On another note can anyone recommend a more robust run cover than clear tarp as I can't keep replacing it at this rate?!
  5. Feed affecting poo

    So my chickens have been on the same feed pretty much ever since I've had them. A few days ago I opened a new sack of the same food but their poo has been on the runny side ever since and a lot more on the paler side. There've been no issues in the past when I've opened new sacks. But even in the poo tray the difference is very evident. The girls seem their normal selves and are laying as normal? Is there any cause for concern?
  6. Bumpa bits - how long for?

    The bumpa bit did and still does extend beyond the beak, but the top beak of both girls has grown so that the distance between beak and bumpa bit has decreased noticeably. I think if left on indefinitely the beaks will continue to grow and eventually meet the bit. I will try and get a photo tomorrow (Saturday).
  7. Bumpa bits - how long for?

    Main culprit is still making attempts at feather picking in earnest and I've now witnessed her successfully pull out a few feathers! Should I move her to the next size up? The other culprit's beak has almost grown to a point where it will meet the end of the bumpa bit. Should she also be moved onto the next size up or should I now remove it altogether as she hasn't shown any signs of the habit in a while?
  8. Bumpa bits - how long for?

    Thanks for all your input on this!
  9. Bumpa bits - how long for?

    So it's been just over 2 weeks now and the main culprit still has the habit! Although she's not able to actually pluck any feathers, she keeps trying to. I fear it might be a while before she breaks the habit - if ever. Meanwhile both girls with the bits have top beaks which are getting noticeably longer. I guess that because the beaks are not coming into direct contact with the ground they're not being worn down in the usual manner. Might this become a problem in the near future?
  10. Bumpa bits - how long for?

    Well I think I managed to get in really quickly as neither of the victims is particularly bald in one specific area, more a general thinning in the rump and back feathers. I've seen the culprits still make attempts at feather pecking but I think these have been unsuccessful. I'm really hoping that I can break their habit as I'd like them to go back to being completely 'natural' as they're struggling to peck at certain foods that the only one without a bumpa bit can. It seems unfair that she can pick up mealworms and bits of corn while the others really struggle to. But other than that they seem totally unfazed.
  11. Very Loud clucking from a POL BLuebell

    When my Maran Cuivre came into lay I couldn't believe the sound she could make. It really rang around the neighbourhood and I worried someone would complain. We hoped she would settle down but she never has. Just like yours she starts the loud clucking some time before she's gone into lay an egg, during and a bit afterwards. And you can hear her from deep within the house so I can only imagine what it's like for neighbours who leave their bedroom windows open. I always feel a bit panicky and guilty when I'm at home to hear it as I'm reminded just how loud she is. Some days she's not very vocal for very long at all and sometimes it can be quite a while. I suspect that your girl will remain a loud one...
  12. Bumpa bits - how long for?

    Are there any issues with their beaks growing around them? It feels cruel that they can't pick up finer pieces of food etc And are they able to preen themselves properly?
  13. I finally got to the bottom of why 2 chickens had been losing feathers at such an alarming rate. 2 of them had developed a feather pecking habit so we've fitted them with bumpa bits. It feels awful to see them clearly unhappy with them at first but they soon get used to it. My question is: how long should they stay on for? I know that Omlet recommends a maximum of 2 weeks but I'm wondering if that really is long enough to break the habit? I've read that people have kept theirs on pretty much long-term, only replacing them once they've worn through. Other people seem to think that a month is a more realistic length of time. Does anyone have any first-hand experience of bumpa bits?
  14. Calcium deposits

    Well there's been no change. So I guess this is how they'll be long-term
  15. Over the last few weeks I've noticed that 2 of my girls, but one in particular has started losing a few feathers a day. Everyday there are newly dropped feathers in the run and around the garden. The 3rd girl doesn't seem to be affected. I've tried examining them all and can see new feather sheaths growing in place of the old ones on the worst affected girl. So I assumed that she was simply moulting. But it's the middle of summer and she's only about 9 months old - and I thought they didn't really moult until they were a year old.... looking at the skin I can't see any evidence of any nasties, I don't think. The 2nd girl doesn't have any new feathers coming in that I could see... however I did notice what I think was faint traces of 'dust'... the skin doesn't look broken, no actual mites/lice visible. They could be feather pecking but I haven't really witnessed any of this. So could they be moulting? Could this be early signs of nasties? And should I treat them anyway just to be sure? Slightly panicking here!!!!