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chocolatedog

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Everything posted by chocolatedog

  1. Hi - an update. I called my vet and he gave me a prescription of Ivermectin drops to be used once a week for the next 3 weeks, so hopefully that should help to sort the girls out. I have to bin all the eggs though (I'm already binning a lot of soft ones from Pepper and Spice!) for the next 3 weeks plus the following 10 days after the last treatment. So that's roughly a month's worth of eggs. Oh well, I shall just have to avoid recipes needing eggs - I really wouldn't like to have to buy from the supermarket!!
  2. Hi - wonder if folk can help. I'm pretty sure my girls have got lice. I thought initially Pepper was going through a moult - all her frilly knickers plus tummy feathers as I couldn't see any lice eggs on her (but then she's lost all those feathers so presumably the eggs fell off too?) Her remaining feathers on her tummy are really manky as if she's got them all clagged up with mud or similar from mud-bathing. Anyway I caught Ginger yesterday, although her plumage has looked OK so far (but yesterday her vent feathers looked slightly soiled) and bingo! Lice eggs round her vent feathers. So at least I now know I'm dealing with lice. Question is, what's the most effective way of dealing with them? Diatom? Barrier Louse Powder? Frontline? Johnson's Anti-Mite Spray? And are they all safe to use on bare areas of skin or do I have to avoid those areas and just treat the feathered areas? I'd read about something being an irritant and obviously don't want to irritate Pepper's bare skin........ Oh well, I suppose I couldn't have hoped to avoid critters for ever! I've probably been very lucky so far! (Oh yes, Pepper has also been laying a lot of softies over the past 6 weeks but I put that down to the long daylight hours as she did similar last summer too..... but I think I might have read that these too could be due to lice?) Sorry I haven't been here for ages - BTW my toddler loves the girls - he goes up to let them out of the run for me, and loves stroking Ginger when she squats for him - he's actually extremely gentle! So I'm very glad I kept the girls after my concerns of last year..... BTW I have checked for mites in the eglu - under the roosting bars and droppings tray/nesting box etc. and can find no traces of blood whatsoever - I regularly dust with Barrier Red Mite Powder but will this kill off any lice in the eglu etc? Obviously it won't kill what's on the girls themselves......
  3. Hi - an update...... It seems my girls might have been taking a bit of a holiday (or were sulking at me leaving them in the run while I went away for a week.......) as for the past 2 days they have produced an egg each - OK, so Pepper's are looking a slightly odd shape and very peely-wally, Ginger laid one in the run which was thinnish, and therefore cracked when one of them stood on it, and she also laid a softee in the poo tray, but Spice, bless her, has come up trumps with 2 beautiful eggs. This after Oh, I don't expect then to come back into full lay, but I think they sneaked a peek through the window when I was trawling the net looking for a couple of new girls and decided to think again about whether they really did want to retire or whether they would soldier on for a bit longer....
  4. Well after things having gone very smoothly for ages, I've now got 3 girls who have only produced 3 eggs in 5 days. They've all just turned 2 recently so I'm wondering if that is why. Does anyone know how long Bovans Nera/Rhode Star and Speckled Star chickens lay for? Or am I really looking at sporadic from now on? I was away on holiday and they were confined to their run for a week, with my neighbour spoiling them every day with kitchen s"Ooops, word censored!"s to keep them happy, but since I got back on Tuesday and allowed them out in the garden again, egg production has been very low. I've hunted high and low in the garden to see if they've found another nest - Ginger did that to me last summer - but so far, I've found nothing....... Is it time to introduce the next generation??? And how many small-medium hybrids would anyone else contemplate keeping in a Mark III eglu? My girls all look healthy and bright enough so maybe it is an age thing. Any advice?
  5. Hi - I'm not sure if this has been asked before or not, but is it safe to eat soft shelled eggs or would you just pop them in the bin? I just wasn't sure if there would be any contamination of the egg without its usual hard exterior to protect it.......
  6. Shame Aviaries4u is so far south of us - I like their designs and am really coveting the large eglu run at the bottom left (I think it is) of their gallery page........ being able to walk in and out would be great!!! We currently have an extended eglu run which is murder to clean out as I have to stretch with a rake from each end. I can't easily move the run to clean it by myself as the skirt is weighed down with heavy stones all the way round and we've also laid planking round as a kickboard to keep the hemcore in......so roll on the day I get a walk-in run!!!!
  7. Unfortunately, much as my toddler loves the girls, they won't let him get anywhere near them! Ginger will let me cuddle her, and when the other 2 escape the netting and I have to corner them to pick them up to put them back in, I try to get them used to being stroked and handled, but they all run a mile when junior approaches. Although having said that, I did manage to corner Pepper with junior at my side, and he was very gentle when he stroked her feathers, but they're still not really as used to him as they are to me........
  8. I feel for you - I'm lucky with my neighbours, but I agree with the other post - what about bird noise, bin men, cars leaving to go to work, etc etc etc ????? I'm sure there are a lot of things that make more noise than chickens........
  9. I shut the eglu door every night even in summer, but it's mainly so that the girls don't make a nuisance of themselves if they get up early and make a noise, as I wouldn't want to upset the neighbours. (They're very close to the neighbours on the back road.....and a long way from our house so we wouldn't hear if they were making a noise or not, but I've always shut the door just to make sure.)
  10. Hi there......recently I've noticed that Ginger (Rhode Star about 16 months old maybe) has lost some of the feathers round her neck area. I thought it was probably just a moult as she seems to be behaving pretty normally - ie escaping from the netting area, scratching and eating as normal etc. The only other thing wrong with her is that her eggs over the past week have all been a funny shape - all slightly elongated and straighter rather than being the classic egg shape with the slightly fatter end.......I haven't noticed anything else though. (Except that this morning's egg had a slight 'crease' in it at one point.) Will the eggs still be safe to eat? Should I be worried? Are the eggs and the slight moult linked? The other girls seem to be fine - no moult (although they've both got bare breasts as they've both been broody over the past couple of months!) and normal shaped eggs.
  11. I have to admit I've lapsed slightly since junior arrived - I used to be far more regular about cleaning out the poo tray and scrubbing the roosting bars, and I cleaned out the eglu religiously every 4 weeks, but now my free time is far more restricted - most of my free time is after junior has gone to bed and I can't exactly clean out the eglu after it's gone dark outside! Unfortunately hubby has had a lot of foreign business trips which have covered the weekends so I've got no-one else to watch junior while I do the chicken jobs..... At least they're now back out and enjoying the garden so are in the run much less these days in any case. We're still planning to build a much bigger walk-in run, but hubby's trips are delaying construction work!!!! One of these days...... *dreams* .......
  12. Spice has been broody twice in 6 months - and yes, yours sounds like she is behaving like Spice did. It's almost imperceptible at first but you soon get to know about it! Spice gets very aggressive when I collect the eggs from under her and when I turf her out she struts round the garden "bok-bokking" as loudly as she can to let the whole neighbourhood know how cruel I am!!! She also puffs herself up to a huge size when on the nest, and plucks her breast feathers out - so another sign is lots of feathers lying around! To try to snap her out of it, I dunked her in a bucket of cold water every day and shut the eglu (fortunately I managed to find all Ginger's eggs - she found herself a nice little spot under a bush and laid there every day....never found Pepper's though they're probably still out there!! )
  13. I have just recently installed the netting too - and my girls are getting out - I'm not sure how as I haven't caught them at it but my neighbour said she was in the garden and heard a great fluttering of wings, looked over the fence and saw one of mine out of the sectioned-off area which means she flew right over the netting at a point nowhere near the eglu I think......their wings have never been clipped - will that definitely put a stop to it? Or can they fly over even with clipped wings? Sorry - just seen that yours have clipped wings and they still do it....hmmmmm I may also try that pea netting stuff, although it'll be difficult to install as the omlet netting sections off an area around our apple tree.........
  14. Oh well, Omlet netting has arrived and is installed.....and I've had 3 breakouts already!! 2 by Pepper and 1 by Ginger....... So I'll have to keep a watch on them tomorrow to see if I can work out just where they're escaping......ho hum.......I put it up in a hurry just to let them get out and about as they've been confined for nearly 4 weeks now, so tomorrow I'll have to start looking more seriously at a more ideal positioning of every section of the 25 metres.....
  15. Very cute today - junior and I took some halved grapes up the garden to feed the girls through the mesh - I'm not sure who ended up eating more grapes - junior or the girls! And he even tried to offer a few through the mesh himself......awwww! I'm glad they're back.....the Omlet netting should be arriving on Monday or Tuesday so they'll be allowed out again.....looking forward to seeing them out in the garden again, albeit a smaller area this time.....
  16. Hmmm - Ginger is the only one of our 3 girls who will let you pick her up and cuddle her. Hubby can catch Pepper (or used to be able to soon after they'd first arrived - I've never been able to catch her.....) and Spice (meant to be docile - yeah, right...) is the flightiest and I've only ever been able to handle her when she's been broody and I've had to lift her off the nest and deposit her outside the eglu.....and then she trots off round the garden bawking at the top of her voice telling the whole neighbourhood how cruel I am....!! the rest of the time, forget it! We had to herd her and Pepper into a net to catch them to take them to our friends when we went away on holiday....
  17. How do you all manage to keep the hemcore dry? Even with our run almost fully covered with omlet shades the rain still seems to get through (unless it's just all in the atmosphere) and get it all damp and dirty......or are all your photos taken when a new batch of hemcore has just been put down?!
  18. Well, the girls are back and so far I've just kept them in their extended omlet run to avoid having to clear up the garden/brush the paths every night, but I have actually ordered the omlet netting as people have recommended (and I thought the reviews sounded positive too) so that should be here early next week so the girls can get out and about - but not too far about! - in a netted-off area. When hubby gets back from business trip he and a friend will set about designing and building a bigger walk-in run for them which should also make going away on holiday that bit easier too.....I must say it's nice having them back - junior keeps toddling up the garden and gazing at them and waving hello and goodbye every time we go past! Cute!
  19. I was thinking of something along the lines of 12ft by 12ft.......would that be large enough? It would be shaded by our apple tree and on the side that has fewer apples. The difficulty with our garden is that we have our cars parked at the back so it's awkward to section off a part of it because of its layout, but a large pen might work....we went to visit them today - junior was really excited to see all the chickens (ours plus the several belonging to our friends) which makes me want them back but I just don't want to be unfair to them if they'd have a better life there instead.....(and probably, knowing the rate we get things done in this household (ie very slowly!) it'll be ages before we get a run built and the girls will be well settled there anyway!!!)
  20. Yup I'm in Central Scotland........do your girls stay in all the time?
  21. When we got our 3 girls, we had no kids, so were fine with all the free-ranging etc etc but since junior came along we're having to re-think. I'm not sure if they'll be happy in one sectioned off area of the garden when they've been used to having the whole garden, which is why I'm wondering whether re-homing them might be the kindest thing to do....unless you think they'd be happy enough either in a large run with a bench, perches, plenty of hemcore (or whatever if I can't get any more hemcore supplies....) to scratch around in plus greens etc in there to occupy them......or in a reduced garden area.......? Not sure how easy it will be to section off the areas...
  22. Hi - how many omleteers keep their girls permanently in the run with no free-ranging at all? The reason is that up till now our girls have pretty much had the run of the garden, but now junior is 16 months old and the weather is reasonable, I want to be able to let him play in the garden without fear of him sitting in something/walking through something, getting mess on his hands and transferring it to mouth etc etc . And what size run should I be thinking of building if I want to keep the 3 girls in permanently? I've looked at the chicken run inspiration sticky and there are some amazing des res chicken houses on there! But for those of you with those lovely runs, do your girls stay in there or still free-range? We've been made an offer by friends to buy our girls and keep them with their own happy free-range flock in a field - and I'm thinking this might be the kinder thing to do, especially as our friends have said we can have some of the eggs back free every week......oh what to do? I love my little girls and I miss their company but I want to do right for all concerned.......
  23. Do your girls live permanently in there or do they get out to free range? The reason I'm asking is that, sadly, we're faced with a major decision. We went on holiday recently, and the girls went to friends. Since we've come back I've actually found it quite relaxing not having to worry about my active and mobile 16 month old in the garden (what he's sat down in/trodden in/just put his hands in etc etc etc .) We now have to decide whether we take the girls back and restrict them permanently to their run (which might come as a shock to them as they've always free-ranged before now), or whether to build a much bigger run (and sacrifice a much larger part of the garden to their scratching feet) or whether to leave them where they are (in the company of several other chickens, free-ranging in a large field) - the folk who are looking after them have said they will buy them off us, and let us have a dozen free eggs every week.......but I miss them...... Things have changed though, since we first got them last August............
  24. No - he'd never heard of Auboise, but they do stock plenty of Easibed!! Which is why I was wondering about it........

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