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About GillC

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    Chicken Eggspert
  1. I’ve a lovely Omlet WIR - 3m by 2m which I have recently relocated onto a brick-paved patio. The patio slopes toward a drain at the end. When it rains, the water runs into the WIR and makes the bedding all wet. I poop-pick daily or two-daily, but nevertheless some gets left and that dissolves into slurry. I’ve tried putting roof flashing along the foot of the side and front of the WIR, and I’ve bought some sandbags which inflate when water touches them and put these on top of the flashing. However the run is still wet after rain. The flashing sticks down well, but where the grout is between the bricks, the water still seeps its way underneath and into the run. I think what I’ve done is making a difference. The wet zone is now only 20 - 30 cm deep. But I wonder if anybody else has this problem or could suggest something else I could try. I have another eglu with tunnel set up in on grass and a third eglu with an open run on dirt so the birds can dust bathe or just have a change of scene, but this WIR is their main home and winter accommodation as it means I get no problems with rodents as the birds aren’t on earth for long enough to attract them. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Gill
  2. I have used a galvanized bin in the garage, but mice were able to crawl in under the loose fitting lid - I could tell by the mice poop. I've now bought a purple plastic bin with a lid that clips on tightly having read review comments that said it was ideal for feed. My main worry is that mice will find it and chew through it, but I'll have to wait and see.
  3. Many thanks fir the replies. Lots to think about. Reassuring to hear about the hen with the fetish. Somehow reassuring as I can see how that might happen. Maud is happy being picked up too, and I have a cat who hisses at bare feet, but is fine if you have slippers or shoes on. Also, being quite old she could have an underlying medical issue, but until I see some mor obvious symptoms I won’t put her through the disruption of a visit to the vet who is 30 mins away. Maybe things will improve in summer.
  4. This is not exactly an ailment, as Maud seems well in herself, but I wonder if anybody has experienced anything similar and could advise what to do. Maud has always been gentle and very people-friendly. She would follow me round the garden and come when called. For the past 6 months, she has become very aggressive with me. When I put my hand out to pick up a grub to fill it, she targets bare skin and pecks me hard, leaving little triangular bleeding bits. I have taken to wearing gauntlets. I take treats and corn and hand feed them to the chickens. I also pick her up and gently stroke her comb and wattles while speaking nicely to her. The other day she was jumping up to attack the sleeve of my fleece (I had pulled the sleeves down to cover my hands), so I got some corn treats and hand fed them and she seemed a little less aggressive after that. Today I went down and decided to start with some corn treats by hand. Despite my hand being full of corn, Maude deliberately targeted my thumb and fastened her beak around it. Because she had such a large bit of thumb in her beak, she didn't break the skin but her bite is quite strong! I continued hand-feeding her and the others, but this didn't seem to stop the aggressive tendency. I provide different sorts of treats - hentastic hanging treats, hentastic floor mounted treats (obviously not too much). Maud lives in an eglu in a 3m by 2m WIR with 2 bantam silkies. It has wood chippings on the floor. It has an eglu perching bar, a chicken swing and a piece of sleeper for them to climb on. I also have a cube with 3 bantam booted sabelpoots in it. I've tried to think of what has changed. Two main things are different: 1. Vera the Wyandotte died about 6 months ago. Maud's aggressive behaviour started about then. I wonder whether despite the difference in their size, Vera was top chicken. Now she is gone, could Maud be trying to exert dominance (over me????). Vera was a chicken with attitude. 2. Due to increasing Fox risks, I am no longer leaving them out in the fenced in run when I am not in the garden. I used to leave them out if I was in the house, but I feel it is too dangerous to risk a fox attack as I'd not be able to get outside quick enough. This means that although they have a lovely big WIR, they get far less time digging up the garden than they used to. 3. Old age - could Maud just be feeling grumpy because she is older than any other chicken I've owned. She is pushing 7 years old. I've tried run-enrichment. I've tried treats and consistent attention from me. I will be able to let them out more as spring approaches, but this time of year it is too cold and gets dark too early. Would it be worth putting my two little flocks of 3 together? Would this maybe give Maud a more balanced environment. They do run outside together without too much trouble. Lulu, the little white bantam silkie, is the most aggressive with the little sabelpoots, but I'm sure they'll all get over it eventually. At the moment, the sabelpoots are in the cube with a 1.5m run, the others are in the big WIR. Advice and thoughts from others who have any similar experiences would be very welcome. Gill
  5. How time flies! When I started this thread back in 2010, I was relatively new to chicken keeping. Since then, 7 years and two house moves later, I'm still addicted. When I wrote my first post I had 7 hens and two eglus. I was blogging about chickens, and also posted pictures on my FB page. A friend from work saw the photos of my eglus and asked me if I wanted another. He had a lovely red rablu, but his childrens' guinea pigs had died relatively quickly and he wanted rid of it. Another eglu.......more chickens. Then another friend had a fox attack that did away with her last chicken....she had a pink eglu cube with WIR and wanted to give up chicken keeping. Always room for more I went to fetch it. When I got to her house, she also had a green rablu that was gathering cobwebs in a corner of her garden. Confident now in how easy it was to convert a rablu into an eglu (thanks to the omlet conversion kit) I happily accepted the rablu as well. I started stacking eglu WIR panels behind the garage. It was like I had become an eglu alchoholic. I now have 7/8 hens at any one time. They have their main eglus and runs, holiday eglus and runs in different parts of the garden where they go so that I can give their main home a good clean, and a hospital eglu just in case. Bliss!
  6. 14th August update: No further signs of the red nasties. Checked both eglus (cube temporarily retired) using a magnifying glass on every spec in the DE in case it was a red mite. None detected. Certainly a wake up call, shattering the complacency built up over 10 years of mite free chicken keeping. I do think the cube is more difficult to check for mites, but when I bring it back into use, I'll be much more aware. Reading many blogs about red mite, I was really worried about transferring it into the house, but that doesn't seem to have happened. Phew! My chicken store cupboard now looks like a store room for WMRMD weapons of mass red mite destruction.
  7. Thanks dogmother. Yes when I read the ingredients of red mite powder it is just diatomaceous earth! Oh well, at least I have a shaker for my DE. I'll get some buzz busters. How often do you recommend dosing with ivermectin? It certainly seems to do the trick.
  8. Thanks to everyone for your support and advice. I think I'm nearly out of the mitey wood, so to speak. I first spotted the mite infestation in the cube on Friday 22nd July. It is now 29th July and I think I have them under control. I have the four hens from the original infested cube rehoused in a red eglu with a big WIR. I used ivermectin on the four hens that I relocated to the red eglu in case any mites transferred across with them and treated the eglu with poultry shield and diatomaceous earth. I've been checking and cleaning it daily and have seen no sign of red mite. Having ordered tons of red-mite products, I've started dusing with red mite powder in the hope that that is even more effective than diatomaceous earth, but I've ordered more earth too. I've been adding DE to the areas the hens dustbathe in as well. I'm withdrawing eggs, but these hens are older and not laying much at all (I've only had to withdraw one egg so far). I have not used ivermectin on the three bantam sablepoots in the pink eglu as they are laying almost daily. Also, they didn't have mites, and though I think I introduced a few from the cube by accident, I've cleaned their eglu with poultry shield, jet washed it and dusted with DE and am not seeing any signs of infestation. I did see one mite today in the poop tray, but I'm still cleaning every one or two days, so with luck I've broken the lifecycle and will eventually eliminate them. I have dismantled the pink cub, treated with poultry shield and jetwashed it. I have reassembled it loosley and retreated with poultry shield. I plan to disassemble it again and retreat with total mite kill concentrate before putting back together in November (winter) and moving hens back in. My fears of having introduced mites to the house and/or cat seem to have been unfounded. I think I was picking up the odd mite on my arm in the early days as I was cleaning things that had mites on them. There are obviously going to be some mites around in the environment, but I think the ivermectin is a great solution - without a food supply the mites should eventually die out or move onto some birds. I think the design of the eglu cube provides more nooks and crannys for mites to hid in than the original eglu. That is a shame, but it is a lovely big hen house, so when I do bring it back into operation, I will include a total dismantle as part of my cleaning routine - maybe every couple of weeks. I never want to have such a creepy infestation again!
  9. Advice website: I used http://poultrykeeper.com for advice. In particular this page https://poultrykeeper.com/red-mite/how-to-kill-red-mites/ and this blog post https://poultrykeeper.com/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-red-mite/ which described step by step how to clean and this page https://poultrykeeper.com/red-mite/control-products/ lists the top 8 products, many of which I now have The blog post makes no mention of jetwashing first spreading the mites into the environment. Though somebody does mention it in the comments. Tim Daniels, the author, posted a very reassuring response in the comments http://disq.us/p/tqi4uw which I've cut and pasted below. I wish I'd read this before I spread the mites to my small eglu
  10. Thanks Beantree - re: jetwashing - I had already treated the cube several times with Poultry Sheild which I thought should have killed all the mites I could see, but I wanted to be absolutely sure I had got in all the nooks and crannies so also jetwashed. I had read that jetwashing was recommended so I thought this would finish them off - not set me up for a potential re-infestation! I live in a cottage and don't really have a drain, so I jetwashed on a large thick sheet of polythene on the lawn. As an interesting aside - I left the sheet out to dry on one of the hottest days and the heat turned most of the grass underneath brown. Dead lawn AND potentially mites.... Re: Cat - Thanks for the tip - but I wasn't being very clear. I would never use anything on the cat that hadn't been prescribed by the vet. The cat has his own prescribed supply of prinovox which is supposed to treat fleas, ear mites, notoedric mange (whatever that is) and prevent heartworm disease, infection with gastrointestinal nematodes and flea allergy dermatitis. He's back to the vet on monday for a checkup, so I'll ask if the prinovox will help protect against other types of mite. Now I have mites in the environment, I'm not sure what to do with the wood chippings I swept up that were underneath the cube. I guessed that there would be mites in the wood chip, but I'm not sure what to do with it. Currently it is in a metal wheelbarrow. It looks fairly inert, but I imagine there are loads of the little blighters hiding in there. I have a wooden set of steps that I pretty much ruined by jetwashing, so that will have to go in the bin and the chooks will have to jump up the short plastic ladder when they eventually go back in winter. My hope is that if I can treat the chooks with ivermectin so the mites can't feed on them, that the mites will eventually die off sometime over winter (their 8 months without food). BTW - if they can bite cats or humans, does that enable them to survive in the same numbers as they do with chickens? The odd ones I have seen (and I just squished one now on my arm in the living room so that isn't good) are grey and not blood filled.
  11. Thanks Grandmashazzie, I've just read your thread in chickens. I didn't find the search function worked to well when I was looking for threads on red mites. Maybe its me. Anyway, I'd not thought of the ivermectin. I've just ordered some. I hope the mites don't get on my poor cat. He's just had a full dental, a tooth removed and they discovered leisions in his throat. Because of the blood, I took him in on thursday and they tested him and found he has hyperthyroid. Fortunately caught it very early (by luck) so he's still a portly 6kg, but he'd lost 10% of his body weight in 3 months so he's now on a twice daily treatment and all the tastey pouches he can eat. Yes, he was enormous at 6.8Kg. The last thing he needs now is red mites. I may be dusting him off too! I'm going to treat him with his usual flea treatment, Prinox, in the hope that that will keep him clear while I deal with the main problem. I read somewhere that mites don't like lavendar oil. I didn't have any lavendar oil, but I've had a shower and slathered myself in Bannatyne's massage oil. I'm so greasy now I imagine they'll slide off if any get near me
  12. Thanks, yes I thought I was immune too. I've only had the cube about a year, and I had to dismantle the entire thing, sides etc, to get at the red mites. I think there must just be more places for them to hide in a cube than in an eglu. I'll be dismantling fully on a regular basis when I eventually put it back into use.
  13. Found, to my horror, that I had red mite in my pink Omlet cube housing four hens. I had cube and a separate pink eglu with separate run and 3 bantams. I dusted hens in diatomaceous earth, moved them to a clean red eglu that I also treated with poultry shield (PS) & diatom earth. This eglu is at the other end of the garden. I also checked the pink eglu and it appeared clear but I cleaned it with PS and dusted with diatom earth. I dismantled the cube & sprayed with PS that appeared to kill the mites. By this time they were everywhere and I was creeped out so I went inside, changed, washed my clothes and showered. 3 days later I checked both eglus. There were about 10 dead mites in the diatomaceous earth in the poop tray of the pink eglu. I suspect I may have introduced them myself when I was dealing with the cube. The red eglu appeared clear. I cleaned and retreated both eglus with PS and diatomaceous earth. I jet washed the cube and left to dry. Next day I sprayed with poultry shield. Each time I checked, I would find a few more mites that I would kill. Meanwhile my bin was teeming with mites from the bedding I'd disposed of! Yeuch. So I covered it with poultry shield which seemed to do the trick. Ive been reassembling the cube bit by bit, spraying for mites as I go. I don't plan to put the hens back until November, but I would like it to be clear. I plan to use red mite concentrate on my birds, but have been using diatomaceous earth only so far. The four hens now in the red eglu are looking much better, nice red combs etc. However I'm sure that some of the mites will have moved across with them. As I sit here in the garden, I have the odd mite (grey) wander across my iPad or arm. I checked the deckchair and there were two under the canvas fabric. Has my jet washing spread the mites across my lawn? Is it normal to have some level of mites in the environment and can I keep on top of them by cleaning my hens assiduously every 3 days? I've read conflicting discussions. Can red mites live on me or on my cat? I've been washing my mite infested clothes, but can they survive water? Can they only lay eggs after a feed, and could they get a feed from me or my cat? When I catch them on my iPad, they are grey not red. Have I triggered some form of technologically adept red mite? Are they using my Twitter account to tweet their followers? I've had chickens for 10 years without red mite. This is such a shock, and though not squeamish, I'm feeling in need of some advice from those with more experience. Am I doing the right things? Is there anything else I should try? What about the red mite STOP drink supplement. Would it help? Yeuchy Yeuchy Yuck Yuck PS my four hens are now looking much better with good red combs.
  14. I want to take the plunge and have a big sturdy WIR built to house my cube and one or two eglus. I have ideas on what I'd like it to look like from looking at the WIR pictures on the Omlet forums. I have dreams of something with a pitched roof, strong fox proof sides, a skirt to prevent bedding from spelling out, full sized door for me, lift up panel for my cube and platforms for the eglus, and space for perches and playthings. I am not any good at DIY andso would need somebody to build me a WIR to my specifications. Has anybody used anyone in the Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire area tha they would recommend, or any advice?

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