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Everything posted by AyeAyeMagpie

  1. I picked up two lovely big branches when walking in the woods. They rest on the wooden frame of our walk in run and are secured with cable ties. We also have breeze blocks for them to hop onto, we dug them out of the garden (slowly but surely landscaping).
  2. I'm hoping you are able to help me fact-check a post that I came across on social media. It's been stated that consumer demand for large eggs is causing poultry farmers to force their chickens to lay bigger eggs, putting strain on the birds and resulting in blood smears on the egg shells. Does anyone have any factual information with which to support or dispute this claim? Any articles or reports on the subject in the public domain? I'm struggling to fact check it by myself.
  3. Give it a week and he'll be crowning himself chief chicken keeper!
  4. If you go for bare earth don't use a weed suppressing membrane on top, apparently it creates a smelly film of sludge, whereas woodchip straight onto bare earth allows poo etc to drain through. I got this tip from the Flyte So Fancy Ask Phil video when researching the same question before setting up my run. I have woodchip onto bare earth.
  5. Thank you! I really appreciate your opinions. I've since compared with pics of chicken lice eggs on Google and got a second opinion from the vet just now, looks like it's a simple case of treating all chickens until it's dealt with. I hope this thread proves useful for future chicken keepers with the same issue.
  6. Not that I've noticed and I've spent a lot of time with them this week, but it could be happening in the coop before I let them out. The flock dynamic seems settled. Could it also be moulting? But what about the fuzzy mounds at the base of some feathers - does that look fungal? I'm such a complete novice at this I really haven't a clue.
  7. Hello, hoping some more experienced chicken keepers will be able to advise on my chicken Rosie's vent. I've noticed that her bum feathers have been looking a bit unkempt and mucky over the last week so I brought her in this afternoon for a wash and to take a closer look. She's lost a lot of feathers on her bum and it just doesn't look quite right. Do you think this is a fungal infection? I don't really know what I'm looking at. And one of Rosie just for a giggle (it looks like I've plugged her in to charge up) ...
  8. My 6 chickens have a lovely big covered run which they spend most of their time in and then we let them free range for an hour or so when we're actively out in the garden with them. Over the Christmas holiday I've been able to let them free range more because I've been working on the garden and that has led me to relax off a bit. Now I'm letting them free range while I'm in the house and I look out the window frequently. I don't think I'll ever leave them to free range when I'm away from the house at work etc but I am beginning to relax off a bit. Was/is anyone else a bit anxious about their chickens free ranging as a new keeper? I'm hoping I will relax more. Our garden is a good size and secure with a 6ft fence all the way round but I'm still worried about my Cream Legbar flying out, even though I've clipped her wing.
  9. I am new here but have frequented other forums and it's the same all over. There's not so many people one them and the less active they are the less frequently regulars check in and so on it goes. I hope it's a trend that shifts. I've not found Facebook groups to be a good substitute for forums, you can't segment by topic or use search tools in the same way, I don't see the appeal.
  10. So, I'm still very new this keeping chickens thing but I'm pretty certain that it's unusual for chickens to come into lay at the darkest time of year. Just over a week ago one of my Marans and a Silkie started laying, having never done so before. I was expecting them to wait until the longer days started to kick in so I'm a bit surprised. My other Silkie, which was already laying but had gone quiet for a few weeks has started laying regularly again too. I've got about a dozen unexpected eggs in my kitchen now!
  11. Hello, just a quick question for those with wood chip in enclosed runs. How do you stop your chickens from scattering the wood chip through the mesh of the run? Every week I'm having to sweep it back up again, which is a hassle and will become impossible when we lay aggregate in that area of the garden in spring. I can't decide what the best method of keeping it in would be.
  12. An update from cleaning out the coop today: The Dengie Freshbed is the best bedding I've tried so far. It stays fresh and dry after a week of use. It's soft and generally just very pleasant. I think my chickens prefer it as well, as Charlotte has started laying again so maybe she was put off by the wood pellets in the nesting box. PS. So, so, sooo glad that I opted for an Eglu. Today was my first day of cleaning out the coop in torrential rain and I have to say it was pretty painless. Much easier than when I used to clean out wooden hutches when I kept rabbits.
  13. We've got a nice dynamic in the coop right now, they've settled in together well. I wouldn't want to risk messing that up. Weirdly, one of the Silkies has been acting broody the last 2 days yet she's never laid an egg before. Silly bird.
  14. Ha ha! I like your conclusion! My eldest daughter has suggested the same thing.
  15. I'm not sure of their precise age. They were sold as POL and estimated at being a few weeks off laying, and that was 31st August. They've visibly grown and matured since we've had them and most showing the squat behaviour that's associated with laying hens.
  16. I've only had my chickens since the beginning of September and of the 6 only two were laying but now they've stopped. We've not had any eggs for a couple of weeks even though they were laying well before. Also, the other 4 chickens are mature enough to start laying now. Is it just because of the time of year? Have your chickens stopped laying for the year now?
  17. Interesting to read different experiences. By chance I bought the Dengie Freshbed stuff today from a farmstore. It smells nice and yet doesn't aggravate my asthma (a big consideration for allergen triggered asthma) and feels soft. Looks like it'll last sges as well, so better value than the other beddingsI've tried. It's only day 1 so it's too early to pass judgement. I'll check tomorrow to see if any hens take an interest in eating it. The farmstore also stock a bedding made from rapeseed, which apparently some chicken keepers are using but I know nothing of its merits.
  18. Surely if the area your in is suffering a 'rat plague'then the responsible thing to do would be to do your bit to reduce the problem. Saying there's too many rats as a reason not to deal with the rats seems counterintuitive to me. If that's the prevailing attitude of the area you live it then it's not a wonder that there's a rat problem.
  19. Definitely get a professional to deal with it. We had them in the wall cavities of our first apartment (converted old church with uncapped pipes in the foundations). When i saw one on the bathroom mat, that was it for me. Our landlord didn't deal with it properly so we moved out, that was our solution! Fingers crossed you nip it in the bud quickly.
  20. Inspired by a tangent in another thread, what bedding do you use in the nest box and under the roosting bars? As mentioned elsewhere, I'm trying out different bedding materials and I'm interested in what more experienced chicken keepers use.
  21. It's just wood pellets. We're trying out different bedding materials to see what works bestfor us. Tried Carefresh pet bedding first (which was great but super expensive for the volume I used), now trying this and yet to pass judgement. Trying to get hold of hempbedding locally to give that a try next, I've heard good things but don't want to pay delivery from online orders.
  22. I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread of modifications that have been made to Eglus. I have the Mark 1 Cube and its previous owners retrofitted a partition to stop chickens sleeping in the next box. I'll take some picks and add later today. My own improvement to my cube has been to solve the issue of losing bedding down the big, gaping drainage hole in the nest box. I bought a set of silicon placemats off Amazon, they were really cheap. They were sold as a set of 4, I only needed one but I'm sure I'll put the others to good use elsewhere. The mat fits really neatly to the bottom of the nest box and acts like a seal over the hole. It's super easy to remove, clean and dry. It's also colour coordinated with the Cube so almost looks like it's part of the kit.
  23. Thank you, I think I'm more concerned about the risk of rats than foxes. My plan is to roll out a width of wire mesh an inch below ground level on the outside perimeter of the run before covering with weed suppressing membrane topped with pea shingle and stepping stone slabs. It's a work in progress but you're definitely motivating me to get it completed sooner rather than later.
  24. Do they do a version without bark? I've read that bark mulches down quickly so it won't last long. Can you get woodchip only?

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