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About Annabel

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    Chicken Eggspert

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  1. Hi everyone, One of my ex-caged hens has not really grown any feathers on her bald patches since we got her back in Feb. She particularly has a large bald patch on her back which is looking a bit red as she wonders out free range most of the day. She loves to sunbathe with the other chickens (plenty of shade available through garden and in run) - so she isn't trying to stay out of the sun. Should I be applying suncream or a spray? If so, a human one is all I have to hand - will that be ok? Also has anyone else had experience with ex-caged hens taking this long to re-feather? She lays every day (the others stopped laying and grew almost completely new set of feathers) but she has only covered her bare bottom with the white fluffy feathers and nothing of the top feathers to be seen! Despite her appearance (smaller size and smaller eggs) she is top chicken!
  2. All hens now well and back to their dust bathing selves! What a strange turn of events - but at least with a positive turnaround!
  3. That is great thank you as I have just been looking- some of my chickens are from Domestic Fowl Trust near Stratford Upon Avon and they were lovely to visit but are almost out of stock with everything they sell - weird times in Lockdown! Thank you Beantree. I have been contacting breeders that have hens for sale - not many old enough to be sexed yet but I'm sure we will get out new additions and be sure to post pictures of the newcomers!
  4. Thank you for all of your advice and input. I've decided to cancel my order and not hatch - very hard decision as I was so looking forward to it and as I am shielding, am in lockdown for a very long time so had plenty of time to turn the eggs, look after the chicks and so on- but the cockerels are the deal breaker for me. I can't kill them or send them off to be dispatched so I guess for us, we will go to a breeder and pick girls old enough to be sexed. Thank you for helping me make this decision. x
  5. Hi, Thank you for your advice. I do have housing on order with the incubator, electric hen, chick feeders, sterilisation for the eggs etc- I looked into what I needed and placed an order for them altogether. I have a friend who is a farmer's daughter and she also advised advertising the chicks now to test response if I insist upon rehoming them (she has explained the necessity of dispatching males in all categories of animals to me and has had to do it with calves, lambs etc). I have also had long discussions with the children about the males saying I would try to rehome them but I can't guarantee I would be able to and so they may end up being killed as we can't keep them. They are ok with this as desperate for the experience. Thank you Dogmother for the offer of practical help. I think if I ended up with cockerels I wouldn't be able to part with them if I knew they wouldn't live. I think I'll have to think really hard on this today...
  6. I am awaiting an incubator from Brinsea (which after ordering it on 15th and having 3 dispatch dates cancelled, I believe is being dispatched tomorrow). I have always wanted to hatch eggs (ever since it was done in my primary school) and my two primary school aged daughters are really excited to see the whole process and add them to our small flock. However, I have been up until 1a.m many nights reading about what people do with the cockerels... I am someone that would find it very difficult to kill a male chick and would do everything I could to rehome it- has anyone had experience with this, is there next to no chance of success? I have picked silkies for the children as they currently have only one chicken that likes to be held and so she gets far more attention than she probably would like and all of our chickens are large fowl so I thought silkies with their friendly nature, fluffy appearance (I know about the rain problem!) and small size would be perfect. I am also hoping for a Marsbar to add green eggs to our egg basket. So another question is - whether you think this is reasonable: 1) buying 2 silkie eggs and 2 Marsbar eggs (through the post) or whether my chance of ending up with a loan chick may be quite high and so perhaps: 2) 4 silkie eggs and 2 Marsbars might be better? and finally my last thought was to try: 3) 6 silkie eggs and 3 Marsbars in the hope that I might be able to take the hens I want from the hatched and then rehome any roosters with hens to help them find homes (obviously I understand they could all be roosters but as soon as I have one rooster I have a similar problem in terms of hunting down a home as I would with a couple of roosters so I am hoping there may be spare hens to go with them). It's just something I have always, always wanted to do but I am unable to send the cockerels to their death (I save flies from the pond and that sort of thing), and I also just think cockerels are such magnificent looking birds. Help.... Also do you find that spare hens can be sold quite easily (or given away free) when we aren't official breeders but just a family who would like to fulfil our hatching adventure? We are in Oxfordshire so hoping that might help.
  7. No she laid a hard shelled egg... but this morning my other ex-caged hen didn't lay (very unusual for her) and then repeated the behaviour of Bess from yesterday - standing by herself in the shade. Walking slowly. Just wanting to be by herself, not too interested in food. Then a few hours later she snapped out of it and was back to normal. I've thrown all the food out and washed out the containers and replenished as it seems like a tummy upset. Bizzare. I also checked the coop for red mite (nothing I could see), no red marks on white kitchen towel and had all been cleaned out very recently. It is weird. I'm wondering if tomorrow the third ex-caged hen will be off colour!
  8. Hi, Amazingly she is back to her normal self ruling the roost! She came charging out of the run, eating well, looking inquisitive and moving around wonderfully. I am so delighted as yesterday I was talking to my young daughter explaining that she was unwell and so may not live long if she doesn't perk up so I am so happy I don't have to break her heart (and mine)! Hopefully this continues....
  9. I have tentative good news! After the checking of her crop she seems to have perked up a lot. She was walking around the garden a little more (rather than lying down or standing on one leg in the corner), is no longer shaking her head and actually fought some of the other chickens off the cat food which really surprised me. She also went for the porridge (with water) and had a fair bit of that. Felt her crop again and still a lot less full than the others but less 'floppy'. I've cleaned out the coup to make sure she feels very happy in there tonight and hopefully she will come out in the morning perky! Really pleased and hopeful with the turnaround. Thank you for your help (and I now know how to check a chicken's crop!)
  10. Thank you - I have got wet cat food actually to help her grow her feathers back so I'll whip her up some of that - she also likes porridge so may cook some. Thank you
  11. This is my first time feeling her crop (or any chicken's) so I wasn't quite sure what it should feel like, so I compared with the other 2 chickens rescued with her of the same breed. The two healthy ones crop felt full, plump but could be indented with gently pushing. Bess' felt much less full and I could indent it much more easily as it felt softer. I haven't felt her belly as I didn't want to stress her out so will try that later once she has had time to recover from me.
  12. ok thank you - she does seem miserable. All the other chickens are now lying next to her in the shade which I thought was very loyal of them. I'll give her a good look over.
  13. She is drinking a little and walking around occasionally but very slowly.
  14. This is Bess- a rescued ex-caged hen believed to be 15months and rescued in Feb. This morning she was absolutely fine, first to run out of the coop, first to grab a tasty treat and running round the garden with the others in hot pursuit (and she had laid early this morning). By midday I went out calling them - everyone came but her which is highly unusual (she is the top chicken). I found her hunched up in the corner by the conservatory in the shade on her own. She did not run to me. My daughter offered her meal worms by hand as she had missed the treat but she declined. She has been stood on one leg (apparently falling asleep) and occasionally shaking her head (as a dog would with an irritated ear). A few hours later we fed the chickens some treats, she walked up to where we were slowly and pecked some of them but then stood on one leg and hunched herself (as they do when cold). We’ve put water by her but only just now as many sources around the garden for water right now as emptying the paddling pool. anyone have any ideas as to what can cause a sudden deterioration like this (she’s laid everyday for at least the last two months, but she is the only hen out of the rescued ones to not grow her feathers back). I know these rescued hens have short life spans but can I do anything like a chicken tonic to give her a chance or anything for the pain and if this is her time, do you know roughly how long she will be suffering for? thank you
  15. Wow she does look a lot like Alice - even my daughter saw Camilla and said 'It's Alice! But why is her comb so big?'. She is gorgeous. Alice is very light footed and doesn't knock anything down so that's one difference although she is only 8 months now so maybe that will come with age! Thank you for sharing such a cute photo! Love her!

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