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Annabel

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About Annabel

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    Chicken Eggspert

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    Eglu Cube Mk1
    Eglu Go
    Walk In Run

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  1. Thank you - we now have given the first haircut! Let's see if that helps!
  2. Funnily enough I was having this conversation with my daughter yesterday as both of us noticed that one of them (the fluffier one) seems to peck to the side of meal worms and only really gets them by chance so we wondered if she had vision problems. I will do this as my first job today. She is very figetty when held - any tips for holding her sill enough to have fluff cut around the eyes? She used to squat immediately on me so much as entering the coop and was the easiest to catch - now it's a case of running her into a corner and even then she'll try and fly up the wall. I have also noticed a change in her behaviour recently - almost a bit cocky... I walk the big girls down the garden to their free-range part of the garden (meal worms in hand)... they all come with me, literally underfoot but she now hangs back at the top end of the garden and watches me feeding the others and lock them in - she prefers to free range the whole garden which I have to let her do as she also has started not coming to the call for corn etc which everyone else does too. This has all come with her recent rise to the top!
  3. That's a really good idea and would save some hassle at night time. I did wonder if the silkies are just still a bit too young. I gave them quite a few weeks in the Go with the run so the other chickens could see them and go right up to their run from theirs and now we are free ranging, I let the silkies free range all day but secure the larger ones with a netted area and the silkies go right up to their netted run to see the others - so introductions have been slow and protracted because of their age and size but I think as they will still also be some way off laying, maybe they need some more time to mature. I think I may also carry the CLB round the garden more as I don't like the fact she doesn't squat for me (her rise to power only came after our cockerel chose her as his favourite and some of the older chickens dies- before that she was the bottom of the pecking order; I do think those who have been bottom, fight hard to hold on to top spots).
  4. Does anyone have Silkies that will choose to go up to roost for the night? We have two silkies that are approx 12/13 weeks old. When they were younger they were housed in a Go and would put themselves to bed at night. They have been moved into the MK1 and walk-in run for the last 3 weeks with the other chickens (this was positioned right opposite the Go so they have seen the other chickens going up to roost for weeks)- but they choose to sleep behind the wheels of the MK1 and won't go up. There is a bit a bullying going on (my cream legbar is picking on them a fair bit but this appears to be her usual pecking order stuff). I'm wondering if they are choosing not to go up because they don't want to be up with her. Each night I'm having to pick them up and carry them into the house. Once in there, they sleep together peacefully but in the morning the other chickens all come down but the silkies stay up in the house. I've put a lower 'starter' perch down under the MK1 ladder to give them a step up and they could easily make it if they wanted. Getting a bit fed up of crawling under the original MK1 run that joins the walk in to fetch them with a torch! The cream legbar chases them a little and will peck them as they pass (as she has done with all newbies and those that are not so new but below her- and in fact will barely squat for me) - but one of the silkies in particular will squak an alarm call if the cream legbar so much as heads in her direction so I'm wondering if this chicken is the problem. The other 3 large fowl will happily share a run with them but when the cream legbar joins the run, the silkies will hide and stay there until she leaves. I don't really want to remove the silkies and have to reintroduce as they are now accepted by the other 3. I wonder if I should try bringing the cream legbar down a peg or two. Any advice??
  5. There will be some fooling around on April Fool's Day!
  6. wow 2 days to go! My chooks will be over the moon to say the least!!! The egg quality has really gone down hill around 1 week after they were locked in. Yolks were about the same colour as super market eggs - a pale yellow, not their usual almost orangey colour! I look forward to a decent pached egg very soon!
  7. This has felt like an eternity. I too am finding it frustrating that the information seems to be very sparce and feel like we are being kept in the dark. It's nice to have an idea of a date to work towards as that seems more achievable and keeps up morale, rather than the bleak endless future without updates or announcements - especially when our chickens have endured a long lockdown and many of whom are used to daily free ranging. Fingers crossed fro April! I have to say though - my spring bulbs have actually made it up this year without being decapitated!
  8. Just an update on this situation - after our cockerel was over treading his females and then really quite agressively attacking my young daughters and husband, flying at their backs and drawing blood through my daughter's tracksuit bottoms and pulling at their hair - we decided Pippin had to go. We were so lucky to find a local man who rescues chickens for the love of it who was happy to have him (not for the pot) and he now lives in a much much bigger run than I had for him, with around 70 hens to tread to his heart's content, sharing them with around 3 other cockerels. The man was so nice that he even said we could visit anytime. Luckily he is not breeding his chickens as I wouldn't want Pippins agressive personality to be passed on. After reading a lot about cockerels before my decision, I did find quite a few people commenting on Black Copper Marans cockerels being one of the most aggressive breeds they had (whilst the hens are sweet). Pippin was mixed BCM and Cream Legbar. So a happy ending for him and for us as now no one is scared to go in the coop and having chickens is enjoyable again! It was actually one of your sites you recommended that helped me find a home Patricia, so thank you for that!
  9. Yes I was thinking that they are only struggling as it is against their routine and expectations of a free-ranging lifestyle. I have also been thinking (rather selfishly) that it would be nice when the spring comes to not give them from sun rise to sun set to dig up all my flowers and poo all over the garden - so I may well stick to a few hours free ranging a day. I can't help but think this is a little cruel given I can offer them more and they love it so much but it may be being 'cruel to me kind' in the long run and inevitable later lockdown!
  10. That is an interesting approach. It seems sensible not to have a blanket approach though there is the stricter 3km cull zones. I guess your chickens get to enjoy their freedom and all is fine unless you have a local outbreak but even then you're not sure if your chickens would need to be affected. Yeah I didn't expect it to continue for so long. My cockerel is starting to be quite aggressive and I've read I should be picking him up but that is vey difficult as I try to get him as he is walking away but he turns on me and also side walks looking at me the whole time. It's a bit nerve racking going in the enclosure so I am thinking about rehoming him but hubby thinks we should wait until they are allowed to freerange to see if it is the confinement which is affecting his behaviour so I was hoping to be able to let them out soon - but guessing not! I moved all their perches and food containers yesterday to make things a little more interesting so let's see if that adds some excitement to an otherwise utterly boring Groundhog day!
  11. Thanks everyone. I think I read the last avian flu had chickens locked down for just 3 weeks? This appears to be a worse case. Mine, like Columbian, are used to free ranging every day so are really bored. I was planning on getting rid off all the wood chips in spring and refreshing so I may do that now. I've been trying all the old tricks like new perches, interesting slow release treats (anyone tried the Chicken Ball?)- throwing corn in the woodchips, they even have another grass run they get to go in an hour a day (which the grass is now destroyed) but it's hardly a day's entertainment. Feel so sorry for the chickens all round the country as they have no idea why they can't go out in the garden they can see through their cage. I know we're all in the same boat. Really difficult when you can't see an end in sight. On a positive note, at least my spring bulbs will get a chance to come up this year! I expect you won't be alone with bad behaviours coming through in this boring time. I have a young cockerel which reached sexual maturity in this chicken lockdown and he does not stop crowing (unless he is in the grass run when he is then almost silent as he is stimulated), I have a timid hen that's decided to bully another and an ex-caged hen who is looking thinner daily and the cockerel who has decided to mate goodness knows how many times because he is bored! I expect there will be many more stories to come from other chicken owners esp the ones with the free-ranging ladies now locked up in prison!
  12. Anyone got any idea how long this avian flu lockdown is likely to continue? My chickens are doing their nut!
  13. Good luck with your hatching - post pictures when they arrive! Hope they manage to stay warm this early on in the year!
  14. We got three back in Feb - and that is the first time I saw a pecking order sorted out (previous chickens I've had over the years came together with this already done between them) - anyway - it was so viscious! I had to look away - went on for 2 days until the baldest, skiniest one managed to rise to the top and all three had bleeding combs. God it was awful. They are really friendly though, mine scratch at the backdoor and walk in the kitchen if the door is open, mug me for food if I go in the garden - right characters!
  15. Yep, I am really starting to think this is a natural behaviour increased through boredom because the crowing is almost constant. But if I move things around in the run or do anything remotely interesting, he barely crows. There is the possibility of a charity rehoming hens in 2 weeks which I am on the waiting list for and that would certainly help with the boredom and the hen's unwanted attention - but good chance of cancellation due to the lockdown restrictions too!

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