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GillC last won the day on April 5 2021

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Chicken Eggspert

Chicken Eggspert (2/19)



  1. Cordelia has improved over the day - I think the worst is past! She is pottering with the other girls, pecking stuff off the floor and generally looking much happier. She is even holding her tail up (previously she was always 'tail down' whether standing or sitting, looking hunched and unhappy). I think she's got through it. Thanks for all the kind words and advice (which I've followed). To summarise Saturday - arrival at about 4:30pm. Seemed relaxed and happy. Sunday - wouldn't leave the nest box. I moved her by hand into the run, but later when I checked she'd not moved and was being pecked. Sunday late morning - moved her to another eglu on her own where she mostly sat hunched unless I went in and scattered seeds, then she'd scratch about in a desultory way. Gave her water periodically using a syringe. Sunday night - Spend the night alone in her eglu. Monday morning - still lethargic. I was very worried so brought her into the house in a cardboard box. Bought some layers mash from the farm shop, but they didn't stock Poultry Power (replacement for Nutri-drops). I put mash, corn, porridge and water in with her, none of which she seemed interested in. Continued giving her water with a syringe. Monday evening - really worried. Gave her the past best-before date nettex Nutri-drops. She immediately seemed to perk up and showed some interest in the corn in her box. After an hour or so, I put her in the eglu with the other two to sleep. Tuesday morning - the other two left the eglu but she said in roosting. I took her out and gave her water and Nutri-drops. I put her back in the coop and she went out of her own accord and scratched around with the others. Tuesday - checked her periodically during the day. Gave her water. If I put her out in the run she would scratch for a bit. All three tended to go back in the eglu as it was bitterly cold, windy and, at points, snowing! Tuesday evening - more water and another dose of Nutri-drops and bed for the night in the eglu with the others. Wednesday morning - water and Nutri-drops and popped her at the end of the run. She and the other two scratched around. I gave them corn and sweet corn. They seemed happy. Wednesday afternoon - checked them again. They all seem very happy. Enjoying treats and drinking from the old fashioned drinker. I'm sure I saw Cordelia eating some layers mash I'd put on the ground to encourage her. 3 days is the minimum Nutri-drop dosage, so as this is day 3 I plan to stop. Fingers crossed that disaster has been averted! Left to right - Cordelia (silkie), Buffy (silkie) and Willow (wyandotte).
  2. They are soooo beautiful and nice natured, but yes, the foot feathers are a pain. I've never regretted getting them despite the work because they are so friendly. My three newbies seem to be settling in. I can entice them out of the eglu with seeds and sweetcorn. Cordelia seems to be a little perkier. She is pecking the ground with the others, and I've seen all three of them near the drinker (the old fashioned type rather than the glug). I definitely saw her fill her beak with layers mash that I'd put on the ground, and she seems to enjoy seeds and just pecking the earth. They seem to be more active if I am sitting there talking to them, so I'm spending a lot of time in my 'chicken trousers' (a very scruffy and baggy pair of M&S jeggings) and two or three fleeces sat on a gardening stool talking to them as they potter about. I was planning to do this anyway to get them good and socialised, I just didn't anticipate that the temperatures would be so cold that I'd wake up to snow on the ground and their water would be freezing over overnight! Still, forecast is that it should warm up a little today. I'm not 100% confident that Cordelia is out of the woods yet, but I plan to stop syringing her water and nutri drops (she has had 3 days and they do seem to have perked her up) and just keep going out and talking to them to encourage her to eat. The others have stopped pecking her, which was a bad sign on day 1. Amazing how keenly they sense any weakness in the flock, and how quickly they move to eliminate it. They can obviously sense that she is on the mend.
  3. They are, or were, my little babies. They are dutch sabelpoots - two lemon and one porcelain. I got them aged 6 weeks and 8 weeks respectively and they really bonded with me. I can pick them up with one hand and feed them treats in my arms. They are so affectionate. The porcelain sabelpoot is bottom of the pecking order and when they are having treats, will leave the treats to come over to me to be picked up and cuddled. They are such a lovely breed, but I promised myself I wouldn't get anything with such long foot feathers, hence my return to bantam wyantotte and silkies (OK, they have a few foot feathers, but nothing like the Sabelpoots). No matter how often I poop pick (most days) they still manage to paddle in it and get huge lumps stuck on their toes. I have regular hen foot-washing sessions for the Sabelpoots where I sit with them with their feet in a bucket of warm water for about 10 minutes, gently massaging the grot around their toes until it dissolves/gently comes away. You have to be so careful of their little toes. Good thing they are so placid. They seem to realise that I'm trying to help them. Do you have the same issue? Any tips on avoid the foot washing sessions? I do feel like I'm obsessing a bit about the new hens, but I've never had any stressed hen problems before, and I've been keeping chickens since 2007. At least with all these Covid restrictions, I'm around 100% of the time! Thanks, that is a good idea. I like to handle my chickens as much as possible as I think it really socialises them. Also enables me to keep tabs on their health. I don't think she weighs more than 500g if that, so it will be a kitchen scales job. I'll be keeping that quiet from the rest of the family
  4. Thanks. I just gave Cordelia some more nutri-drops and more water which seem to perk her up. I'd placed her in the run with the other two and they were all happily pecking away at some corn. Suddenly a very high wind blew up - my other five bantams started to freak out in their WIR. The newbies seemed to take it in their stride (I think the cover is protecting them well enough) from the wind. Now it is snowing quite heavily!!!!! Would you believe it. I went to shut them in for the night thinking they'd have gone to bed, but no! They spend all day in the eglu then when it is snowing, they decide now is the time to come out and peck around. Hopefully having dinner before roosting for the night. I'm beginning to believe Cordelia might recover, though she does feel rather thin. Fingers crossed
  5. I've put one part clear/part opaque tunnel cover positioned normally. I added a triangular sunshade for good measure and over the top, I've strapped my old torn part clear/part opaque tunnel cover (see photo). Looks a bit scruffy but it seems to be keeping the wind out. It is just bitterly cold. I enclose a picture of my newbies in their eglu and of my existing flock huddled in their WIR.
  6. This morning, all three seemed to stay in the eglu after I opened it. I left them a while, then came back and encouraged the other two out. It is exceedingly cold here, and my other flock are all huddled in a sunny spot in the WIR so I perfectly understand if the newbies prefer the warmth of the eglu. The wind whistles up the slope below the eglu and though I've put several layers of protective covers on the run, the temp is still darn cold. Cordelia didn't seem to want to come out at all, but looked otherwise Ok so I gave her another dose of nutri-drops and water. As far as I can see she has remained sitting in the eglu. I put some treat seeds in the eglu and she definitely pecked at that. I've wedged a small tub of the layers mash behind the roosting bars where it can't fall over but where she can feed on it if she feels like it. Just checking on her regularly now and hoping she'll perk up. The other two seem fine, though I've not seen them eating anything other than the treats I've scattered for them. I've left a trail camera out so I can replay and check what they've been doing. Fingers crossed!
  7. Gosh, it sounds like you've done everything you can. Rats will stay around if they have a food source, and their numbers will adjust accordingly. More food, more rats. You have obviously removed food sources from your property. Do your neighbours have compost heaps, bird feeders etc? Is there anywhere else the rats could be feeding? Shooting with an air rifle sounds quite theraputic. My Data used to shoot crows (I think). They grew to recognise whether or not he had his air rifle and would hang around mocking him when he came out without it, but fly away fast if they saw it in his hands.
  8. Spoke to the breeder this morning. She suggested nutri-drops. Thought porridge would be a good idea and said they've been on crumb. I headed out to the farm shop - couldn't find any nutri-drops, but got some layers mash. Cordelia is currently in a box by a tilt open door to keep her cool with water, layers pellets, layers crumb and porridge and scattered corn treats. She has stood up a bit and I've been giving her water. Eventually at about 4pm I cracked. Having looked up the ingredients in the past best-before date nutri drops I have, I decided to give her some. Needless to say she did not like the taste. I washed it down with some water and waited to see. She did seem to perk up. She pecked at the seeds and definitely had some of the mash. There was also a dent in the porridge and I could swear she was licking her lips, if she had any. She isn't moving around all that much but I was very encouraged by this little rally. I'm thinking of popping her back in the eglu with Buffy and Willow overnight, once they've gone to bed. I'll see how she is in the morning and if she still looks peaky I can bring her back inside, but at least she will have been with other chickens for 12 hours. The breeder offered to have her back, but I've grown very fond of her having spent so much time just sitting and watching her. I'm determined to see her through this. Well, at least its kept me interested over the bank holiday
  9. Not yet, that’s a good idea. I’ve just moved her inside into the warm (it is snowing). She was in a run next to the WIR with my existing chickens. I’m going to see if I can get her to eat come porridge. Tonight If she seems OK, I may pop her in to sleep with the other two. In the morning, if she doesn’t get up, I could bring her in again, if she does get up and move around, she will be with her girlfriends and hopefully will be on the mend.
  10. Several years down the line, I just discovered the answer by accident. I use aubiose bedding, and last time I did a big clean I upended the bag and inadvertently dumped more in than I usually do. When it rained, the bedding was so thick that the top layers stayed nice and dry. I’ve obviously been to stingy with the bedding!
  11. Just reread this thread. Maud recovered and became friendly again, living to a grand old age of 7 yrs 9 months before she died quite suddenly. I’ve still no idea why she went through the mean phase.
  12. Thanks Beantree and Mullethunter for these helpful words. I’ve opened up the two eglus this morning. Buddy and Willow seem fine, though slow to emerge from the eglu. I’ve just left them to it. Cordelia is sat in her nest box. There is a bitter wind blowing so I’ve left her there (while I have breakfast). I will get a big box and bring her inside I think. I spent most of yesterday outside watching her and she did seem to enjoy scratching the earth and seemed to eat teeny stuff and corn. Spurned the layers pellets! I may try to make her a mash to encourage her to eat. Does anybody know how much water a bantam should drink?
  13. Yesterday I collected three lovely new bantams - two silkies and a wyandotte. My other 5 happy healthy bantams are now aged 6 and 7 and have stopped laying and I haven't had a chicken live beyond 7 yrs 9 months, so I don't expect this lovely flock to continue for ever. My three newbies were a bit hot and stressed after the car journey. The buff silkie (Buffy) worried me a bit as she just kept sitting down, but I thought I'd leave them to recover. The other two, a cuckoo silkie and red pencilled wyandotte seemed happy enough pottering around and pecking at the ground. They have their own eglu and tunnel and I will only introduce them to the others in the WIR when they are well settled. This morning, the grey silky wouldn't leave the nest box and when I encouraged her out, she just sat on the ground lethargically. I put a trails cam out to check what they were doing during the morning, and I have footage of the other two, particularly the new top hen, pecking her. They obviously sense something is not quite right. I worried that she might be dehydrated as I'd not seen her drink or eat anything, so I gave her 4ml of water using a little syringe and popped her on her own in a small enclosure with a green eglu. She did seem to perk up and started pecking the earth. I gave her seed treats and she seemed to eat some of them. I also threw layers pellets down, but I can't be sure if she had any or not. The water I gave her seemed to make a difference and she looked quite perky. I left her a couple of hours, then as she had started to sit down again, I picked her up, gave her some time on my lap and another 3ml of water. She is sitting on the ground again. I think she is just stressed out. She has done a poo which looked absolutely fine. I've felt her body and her crop is quite empty. I got my Nutri-drops out of the cupboard only to discover that their best before date was July 2018! Obviously I've had no problems with my hens for some time. I ordered more from Amazon but they won't be delivered until 8th - 12th April. Should I risk giving her a dose of the out-of-date Nutri Drops? I've looked at the ingredients - Don't know what they are. Minerals and such like. Can they go off? Has anybody done this or am I just being really stupid to even think of it. If it is stress, will she just perk up tomorrow? She was fine when she arrived, but just seems really poorly now. Why did I collect chickens on an Easter weekend when everything is shut!!!! I attach a picture of her when she arrived (the cuckoo grey one), and another two of her sitting hunched as she is now. Has anybody else had this with a new hen? Do they recover?
  14. 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
  15. 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.

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