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Everything posted by Columbian

  1. Thank you for posting this, ellasflock. This is indeed good news. How would we know if we are in a high risk area? Does this mean an area where there has been an outbreak? Apologies for the questions. I’ll give the girls the good news in the morning.
  2. Oh dear, that is not good news, Patricia W. I will have to re-think the size of the run and positioning. This could mean having them shut in for longer than they are free-range; not what I wanted for the chicken. As some of the poultry I see unconfined are visible from the road I’m surprised that the LA hasn’t been on the case already.
  3. I do get a bit wild when I see so many flocks of chicken running around in gardens when mine are confined and not enjoying the experience. Keeping them in makes a lot more work as well. The good thing one can say about the craters, Mullethunter, is that the ground will be well fertilised when you do re-seed. Mine dig really deep holes in their run and I often wonder if they are making a Great Escape bid. Keeping their bedding dry is a challenge with all this wet weather. Let’s hope that the restrictions are lifted soon.
  4. Oh dear, Beantree; how worrying for you. I’d just been thinking about the status of the Avian Flu here but hadn’t looked to see if there are any updates in the UK. I was so hoping that it was getting less of a threat but your news seems to negate that, particularly with the laid-back approach in your area. Good luck.
  5. Mine haven’t, thus far, made too much mess, although I do pick them up when they get onto the raised flower beds and start hooking things out. When we got them the herbaceous border was a jungle and they didn’t penetrate past the front plants; I swept the soil back from the path on a daily basis. I understand that bantams are less destructive. The patio gets a bit of mess on it and the lawn is quite large so it doesn’t show much. It will be interesting to see what damage they do when they are let back out. I can imagine that the vegetable beds will need netting. I miss seeing them running around as they are so funny to watch.
  6. Oh no. When the days get longer it will be harder on the chicken to be kept confined. Let’s hope that it’s over by February; I think I can tolerate the thought for that long but will struggle for longer. Whatever.
  7. Mine are showing always looking to come out of their run and one has become a bully. They have enough room but they are used to free-ranging. My feather-pecker is in a small part of the run shut off from the rest and has been there since the 18th December when she reverted to her bad behaviour. Maybe a long period of enforced separation will do the trick where nothing else has. I don’t like keeping them in as they obviously get stressed; they are also a lot more work. As it is the law I will comply, although I notice that quite a few people are not doing so. I echo your sentiments, Annabel.
  8. Thank you, that’s interesting. Two went through the moult and grew white feathers but this one is definitely cream. It is not from the litter in the run. I understood that the chicken were hatched at the beginning of the year so I’m not sure that they would change feather colour at this young age; or would they? Or have I been sold birds which are older than stated? Anyway, with the cold weather at least she is getting most of her feathers back. The dynamics are interesting as, since the feather-pecker and bully has been removed, the pecking order has changed around. Sadly the one at the bottom who was getting pecked most is still picked on by the others. Sometimes the second-in-command stands at the top of the steps and stops her from going to bed at night. For how long do you think that I might exclude the ‘naughty’ one? She is in a part of the run shut off from the rest but able to see them and be next to them but separated by wire mesh. Her part of the run is not very large but I hope is sufficient as it is 2m x 1m x 1m high (difficult to access). The other three are in a run 3m x 2m x 2m with a Go up tunnel added. I was thinking of keeping the pecker apart for the whole time that we have to keep them confined because of bird flu but perhaps this isn’t very kind. I really don’t want to reintroduce her too early and have the feather pulling start again. I’ve tried blinkers (they work but she starts again the minute they are removed) and a bumpa bit, which had the same effect. I isolated her in a dog crate for 4 days and she started again when let out. This is my last try before re-homing. One gets so fond of them as they are such characters.
  9. We have four Columbian Wyandotte bantams, and very pretty they are too. One has been moulting and her feathers are coming back cream rather than white, has anyone else had this happen. I bought them earlier in the year at 8 months and they were the same clutch. Unfortunately one was/is a feather-pecker and nothing has cured her. At the moment, because they are all confined, the naughty one is in a separate part of the run and will remain there until they can be let out to free range again, or until the weather turns really, really cold and she would be better with the others overnight rather than a cat carrier with insulation taped around it. I’ve rambled...my question was really about the cream-coloured feathers. Wishing all a Happy and Healthy 2021.
  10. Definitely don’t allow lemon curd, or any curd, to boil - you will have lemon scrambled eggs. I remember judging with my mother and there was actually a scrambled egg/lemon jar submitted to the class; we didn’t try it. My/my mother’s recipe uses whole eggs but I know that some recipes use egg yolks only. I love lemon curd but it needs a lot of butter and I have to make this as my husband is lactose intolerant and I cannot buy lactose free butter. Mmm, I’m just thinking about lemon curd; yum.
  11. They’re impressive tunnels, Mullethunter. We’ve been beavering away at extending our Omlet WIR slightly which on sloping ground is difficult especially if we wish to maintain security; almost finished.
  12. I’ve been making this for over 50 years and find that recipients prefer it to Christmas Cake. Boiled fruit cake is stickier and a different texture to a rich fruit cake. This is my late mother’s recipe: 3 cups of mixed dried fruit 1 cup sugar 1 cup water 6oz margarine or butter (or a mix of both) 2 beaten eggs, large 2 cups self-raising flour 1 tablespoon ground almonds 1 dessertspoon marmalade 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice. Good pinch of salt (about 1/3 teaspoon but adjust to taste) Put fruit, water, sugar and fat into a saucepan and heat gently until simmering; simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then stir in beaten eggs and flour, spices, marmalade and ground almonds. I prefer to use Demerara sugar but granulated or soft brown is fine. Any fruits and nuts can be added to the mix, e.g. pecan nuts, dried apricots, dried dates, Brazil nuts, glacé cherries, etc. Makes one 8” round tin. Bake in a slow oven 140degs. I don’t have a timing but an 8” tin may well take 2hrs. It is a matter of judgement and ones oven. I’ve cooked this so often that it’s second nature so forget the ins and outs. The big thing about cooking any fruit cake or cake which is in the oven for longer than an hour is to protect the cake from scorching on the outside. Forget all those things about bits of brown paper - double line the cake tin (I use cake tin liners), wrap corrugated cardboard around the tin (mine have been cooked so often that they stay in shape); place a sheet or two of corrugated cardboard under the tin on a baking tray and, once the cake starts to colour, cover with a sheet of corrugated cardboard. Take care not to set it alight in the oven; I have never done so but assume that it can happen. If once cooked you think that the cake needs a little more colour then uncover it to allow it to brown a little more. You will find that the cake is an even colour all the way through and does not have those awful burnt currants that I so hate. (As my mother used to judge cookery classes we were always offered Christmas cake during The Season when visiting; the number of cups of tea we had to down in order to swallow the dark, dry outside of the cake with burnt currants - yuk.). Sometimes the cake will dip slightly in the middle but this does not affect the taste and can be hidden under piles of fruit and nuts coated in apricot jam. I do this for cakes which are given as presents and they look lovely. A small amount of the cake mixture can be microwaved to make an instant pudding. Happy baking. I only work in Imperial as my scales use lbs and ounces and my tins are in inches so you may need to convert the weights, etc.
  13. Sadly I already have an issue with feather-pecking and they free-range all day. My question was how can one confine chicken that are not used to being confined which causes welfare issues? Does the welfare come first or not? My WIR is big enough for the bantams but not big enough to keep them from getting bored. They don’t eat cabbage or play with toys, what they like is running full pelt up and down the garden, pecking grass and scratching the soil. When we first got them they had to stay in the run for more than a week and they were going up and down the wire constantly desperate to get out. So, must they be locked in the run even if it causes distress to the birds and exacerbates the feather-pecking problem?
  14. To add...I have read the government guidelines and there appears to be a conflict between poultry welfare and confining chicken; if chicken are confined they may indulge in feather-pecking and aggressive behaviour leading to cannibalism - how can one confine chicken if this may happen? I have just confined a feather-pecker to try and break the habit and locking up free-rangers will not help this problem. Is someone able to interpret the restrictions, please? Should all chicken be shut in a run with a roof even if this may cause welfare issues, even can abolish? I am confused.
  15. I’m in the New Forest and have 4 bantams free-ranging on an acre or so; do they have to be confined to a run now? Having not kept poultry for over 30 years I’m a bit hazy on this. The run is covered on the roof but has gaps in the sides. The chicken would not take kindly to being shut in the run all day, every day.
  16. My late father had an old aluminium egg cup with a large size at one end and a smaller one at t’other; it was great for bantam eggs. We couldn’t find any egg cups for our bantam eggs so bought some modelling clay and made a couple. As the clay air-dries it has to be sealed afterwards to stop it absorbing water and going soft again - pva is good and can be mixed with acrylic paint. When my kiln is up and running again I may make some ‘proper’ ones.
  17. Thank you for your responses; hinging the back panel sounds good as does a long-handled rake. We shall see. Does anyone else feel that this could have been designed better for easier cleaning? Everything else seems ok, although the waterproof covers and bungees drip water all around the edge of the run and make it very wet underfoot; I’m a little uncertain of the safety of the door catch as it seems easy to not click it fully shut and it would only take a couple of scrabbles to turn the knob. Otherwise, the set-up is really good and the GO very practical. Stay safe.
  18. Does anyone else’s chicken eat corrugated cardboard? Ours make a beeline for empty boxes and rip them to shreds; can’t be very nutritional.
  19. Thank you for your reply, Cat tails. Do you climb in? How do you reach from the back of the UP stand to the tunnel? I am unable to bend much and certainly could not climb inside nor go down on my knees; surely there must be something I’m missing for easy access as other things are well-designed. There I was thinking that the UP would make life easier with a bad back. Maybe I’ll have to make a panel removable to reach in. Am I the only one with disabilities/advancing age?
  20. Thank you, Beantree. They free range and only spend about an hour in their WIR in the morning before being let out so I cannot think that it is boredom. (We have a 1/2 acre garden and several acres of land attached into which they can run.). We put a bumpa bit on the new feather-pecker but she didn’t seem to know how to eat so after a couple of days had to take it off; I’ve just seen her nibble the feathers of two others and so we will have to do something, perhaps the blinkers would be better. The chicken are starting to get a little nervous of me as we are seemingly always putting attachments on them.
  21. I am about to install an UP to my GO and WIR; how does one access the space underneath the GO? I am not flexible enough to bed double; is there an access hatch? Thank you.
  22. Hello all. The drafted feather-pecking problem has started again. We have 4 Columbian Wyandotte bantams, all sisters, and when they came to us (8 months old) one was feather-pecking the others, they all had bald heads and one had a bare neck. We put blinkers on the feather-pecker, which had to be replaced once as as soon as we removed them after 2 weeks she started again immediately. After the next 2-week stint she seemed to stop for several weeks but then started again on the most-pecked chicken. She is now wearing a bumpa bit and we will see how we go. However, today we noticed that one of the others is now feather-pecking the pecker - can’t believe it. (Why does the one being pecked just stand there and let it happen?). This will mean another bumpa bit. My question is, why is this happening and will it go through all the chicken. They have good quality feed and free range during the day; they are let into their WIR at first light and I let them out at about 8 a.m. Should I increase the protein? About every week they have a boiled egg and sunflower seeds every day. They have a treat of mixed corn during the day and twice a week mealworms. Now and again they have tinned sardines. It is many decades since I left the farm where we had chicken but I cannot remember this problem. Any help is appreciated. (I’ve obviously looked at many sites online about this.) Thank you. Stay safe.

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