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Everything posted by Annabel

  1. I too have never found any documented statements regarding this chicken laying (or phantom laying behaviour) online at least - after many hours of searching. It does feel that this is a deliberate and dare I say it 'thought out' act of fooling and it is great to see others coming forward with similar experiences. Esp what Beantree wrote. That is very clever. Yes I had noticed that when they finally got introduced properly that the younger, lower down ones had more to gain so really fought to not be stuck at the bottom. I do love chickens and their social lives!
  2. Mine is not with a cockerel, however her very bossy second in command often looks to rule the roost but a careful eye will see that it is the older hen that was top hen (when she was feisty and laying) and is still top hen now (though more of a silent top hen)- only pecking the bossy second in command very rarely (to which second in command will drop right down). Top hen gets best shouts on food etc. Recently introduced some new rescue ex-caged hens and as they did not know the pecking order, they mistook bossy second in command to be the top hen as she was sizing up to them, heckles out etc and only then did the real top hen start to become properly aggressive towards the second in command by pecking hard at her feet every time she tried to take on the new comers. I meant to say- the second in command acts a bit like a cockerel! That was the point!
  3. Have you experienced a hen continuing to use the nesting box? And what are your thoughts Cat tails on the possible reason?
  4. It is very interesting isn't it. I do think they may be pretending to keep their status as I'm guessing in the wild perhaps those that didn't raise chicks by producing fertile eggs may have been considered as little use and attacked? So it looks like it isn't necessarily the top hen but also those lower down - anyone not wanting to be found out as barren!
  5. Following on from a previous post where I explained that my top hen stopped laying (being old) and after a few days of realising her daily egg was not coming, decided to forever after take a trip to the nesting box and sit there for an adequate 'egg laying period' and then re-emerge... Beantree stated that her chicken (also old and a top hen did the same). So, is it possible that these hens try to hold onto the top spot when elderly, by pretending that they still lay to avoid cascading down the ranks? Has anyone else out there got a top hen that has resumed sittin in the nesting box day after day following first an absence of visits when her egg laying stopped? Be really interesting to see.....
  6. That is interesting Beantree- could well be a yolk release or the hormone. The thing which makes me suspicious is the wait of not laying (during which time she did not visit the nest box) and then almost as if she realised there were no eggs coming - she resumed sitting in the nesting box. How interesting also, that your top hen is doing similar. I wonder if there are any other top hens out there that have ceased laying, that now go about the phantom lay!
  7. Hi everyone, One of our ex caged hens who used to lay every single day without fail, stopped laying around 3 months ago. When she stopped laying, for a few days she just hung around the other chickens as normal. Then after 4 or 5 days she started taking trips up to the nesting box, sitting there for around 30 mins or so (her usual lay period) and then would return downstairs. This continued every day. Now, this hen is top of the pecking order but has a really brutish second in command who definately respects her (this ex-caged hen is treated like elephant matriarchs)... so I'm wondering- are these visits because after 2.5 years of daily laying the habbit is still there, or do you think it is to maintain her status?
  8. Thank you Beantree - I will keep a close eye on it and see if we need to sort it out.
  9. Thanks Cat tails - yes it is weird. I've never seen this sort of thing before on the face either but given how uniform they are on the legs it would make sense if they are spurs trimmed.
  10. We rescued some ex-caged hens yesterday afternoon and noticed one of them has these weird lumps on her face and both legs (at the exact same position)- they look like a emerging 5th toe. anyone seen anything like this?
  11. Yes you are right, they can’t fly. so I sent a photo and video to the breeder who believed the grey one is male and white one female. low and behold, the white one started crowing this morning. real shame as we now will return them to him (heart broken kids) for rehoming (and I assume two new ones) and I have a terrible feeling he won’t manage it and they’ll be killed. yesterday when we thought just the grey one was male, I was going to try and regime as a breeding pair but no chance of that now. I suppose they have lived longer than they would have done if the breeder had noticed sooner.
  12. Yeah I know they are so hard to sex - and I have heard you just wait to see if an egg appears or if they crow. Doing a bit of searching online got me a little worried as they have quite a few tell tell tales indicating they could be male (started to get suspicious with all the chest bumping, rising to full height in the mornings and trying to each asert authority on the other before settling down to eat alongside each other happily). hmmmm - we shall see. The breeder we bought them from had around 50 silkies and bred and sold chickens as his business (he was certain all his chickens were female)- probably should expect him to be a bit of an expert but this behaviour does seem cockerel like and then we have the streamers developing at the back of the head. oh well - let's wait an see what the next few months brings!!
  13. Ok so I bought these two Silkies as hens and I’m starting to really worry they might be cockerels- what does everyone else think? They are 17 weeks and do a bit of chest bumping in the morning but I know this can be common for hens. Not great photos I’m afraid as they hide from the big ones. The grey one has had a haircut recently so she/he could see- around the eyes.
  14. She was last wormed 2 months ago with Flubenvet so isn't due yet and nothing in the poo to imply worms (or any of the others). yes i haven't seen any egg shell around so I think she may still have that. She's come out of the nesting box (no results there) and gone to actively join the others so that is a good sign. I'm wondering what type of horrors I will find in the nesting box tomorrow! She had some nutridrops today so hopefully that will pick her up a bit!
  15. I’ve cleaned her up now and the bed bit just sort of dissolved. The cream bit hanging from her bottom looked like membrane and the ‘egg’ mess she had laid in the nesting box looked mostly like egg white, so I think that weird pop she did (above) was the yolk. She’s eaten and drink and then taken herself off to the nesting box again - it looks like she’s trying to lay with tail up and alert but no luck still after 4 hours or so. also I’ve noticed her crop has no feathers on- this was concealed by the breast feathers on top but when parted her crop has very red skin and is featherless- anyone experienced that?
  16. Thank you Cat tails - I didn't think it looked like it was still attached but I don't know how painful it would be or stressful for me to start cleaning her up but I think that's a good idea.
  17. My chicken (ex caged) is 2 years 9m and has taken herself off to the nesting box and isolating herself. Generally lethargic yesterday evening. This morning she didn’t come down from the nesting box (very unusual). I found the leftovers of an egg in the nesting box with what looks like the membrane hanging from her vent. I got her down to eat and drink where she then did a horrific pop that looks like egg mix and has this red patch - is this prolapse?
  18. That's exactly what I did with my MK1 run and walk in run and keeping that door has been a lifesaver for introducing new hens (even in Avian Flu lockdown, it was nice to keep them cooped up in the MK1 run and then let them into the walk in later on in the day -rather than giving them all the space at once as it added a bit of excitement to a very boring time). Your setup and hens look lovely.
  19. Well, Blossom had her hair cut and we now realise she has quite big eyes! She still pecks at random places trying to eat the meal worms in the grass but I know she must be able to see better. Unfortunately, the going up to bed problem is on going. And they love to snuggle up at the end of the 3m cube run- so I'm scrambling 3m and trying to flick them out with a plank of wood from behind the wheels so I can get a hold of them and shoving them through the door. I decided yesterday to not pick them up and bring them down in the morning. I thought if I left them up there, they would eventually get so hungry they'd come down. Nope. By 1p.m I fetched them from the nesting box and put them down. It's such a shame as the cream legbar is a bit of a bully - I'll give them that, but she's not full on nasty yet they seem real scaredy cats. I now have the routine of carrying them down in the mornings, where they then free range all day. I remove the big ladies to a cordoned off section of the garden for their free ranging time - during which time the silkies dart home for food and drink and then they all get locked in together in the afternoon back at home (silkies just hide behind the dust bath until the big ones go to bed, then come out and eat, and finally they settle down to sleep behind the wheels under the house). aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
  20. I really like this Soapdragon - I think it would be lovely to see a bit of personality on gravestones showing the person that is under them. Perhaps more people would take a wonder and visit these deceased if it was a more interesting walk. The village I live in has the grave of a blacksmith and his gravestone is famous 'locally' anyway and it reads: My sledge and hammer lies declin'dMy bellows too have lost their windMy fire's extinct my coals decay'dAnd in my dust my vice is laidMy days are spent my glass is runMy nails are drove my work is done And I just love this. Thought Pince Philip's funeral was marvellous, with a real touch of his personality. I've decided I'm going to plan my own (hopefully many years from now) and fingers crossed I don't get hit by a bus, so I have the chance to get it done and make my final mark!
  21. Thank you - we now have given the first haircut! Let's see if that helps!
  22. 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!
  23. 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).
  24. 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??

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