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About hilda-and-evadne

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    All Knowing Superchicken

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  1. Try putting a large plastic football in the laying area at night? The other thing I read somewhere: if the roosting bars are not higher than the laying area, the hens will sleep in the laying area.
  2. Thank you. Mine is a new run, and no - there is no square piece of mesh ... I have put slabs on the floor of the run, and I am pilling up stones all around the run on top of the "skirt". I'll insert a long bit of wood, too, in the way you suggest, but can't do that yet. Ah, yes, the tray clip - must check that. Having lost my first two hens - years ago (the two hens after which my ID on this forum is named) - to a very inventive fox, I don't want to experience that again!
  3. Sorry if this is a FAQ but I have tried to find the answer. I have set up a new Omlet run (attached to an Eglu Classic) for the first time (last time I was keeping hens I built a walk-in run) but the door of the run seems very insecure. What do other people do to stop the fox simply lifting the pin or forcing the door open? Thank you, in advance, for any advice.
  4. Alternatively, bricks. The floor of my WIR is laid - herringbone style - with house bricks, done on purpose to make it harder for rats as well as foxes to burrow in. Bricks are warm in winter and cool in summer.
  5. Fenton Blue? http://www.fentonpoultry.co.uk/fenton_blue.htm
  6. I am sorry your cockerel died so soon and despite all your care. I have two cuckoo marans cockerels I have to rehome; I'd be happy to give you one or both. They are both hatched (last summer) from eggs that were laid in the Orkneys, then raised here on organic feed, and are strong and alert and healthy and used to being handled.
  7. What she said. Beat me by three minutes - I was about to post the exact same URL ...
  8. In case it helps anyone else, I am adding a note about what seems to be working. Food is going through the chick, so there isn't a blockage (tumour, whatever). 1. Live yogurt, 30ml by syringe first thing and last thing every day - so that anything that stays overlong in her crop doesn't go sour - and 30ml water. Massaging her crop for a minute or so after that. [Edited to add: 10ml at a time, not 30ml all at once! Too much risk of it going into her airway, because she is so small, if I gave her 30ml at once.] 2. Emptying her crop first thing if there was anything in it (there was on the first day but not on the second day). 3. First day: keeping her separate from the other chicks, I took away the feeder for a morning and then gave it back to her for the rest of the day, even though she then gorged herself. Massaged her crop a few times. 4. Second day, morning: gave her the feeder for an hour, took away for an hour (to give her time to absorb what was in her crop), gave it back to her for an hour. Massaged her crop. 5. Second day, afternoon: put her back with the others because I was worried that they might start to treat her as not of their flock. Took her out a few times to massage her crop. And for two nights she has slept in the cat carrier, next to the cage in which the other chicks spend the night. Other things that might or not be relevant. * removing stress (she is the smallest, and the two cockerel chicks keep knocking her over as they race about), especially at night; * removing competition for food, on the first 1.5 days (in case she had formed an association between food and not being able to get at enough of it because of the other, larger chicks). This chick has a lot more growing to do, and I am hoping that if I go on doing this her pendulous crop will come to be much smaller relative to the size of her body.
  9. I recently hatched four cuckoo marans chicks, two boys and two girls. The smallest, a female, has developed pendulous crop. At first I thought it was sour crop but now, on day two, it looks more likely to be pendulous crop. She is alert and eating well. I am reluctant to put her on water only for 48 hours - which seems to be the usual treatment - because she is so young and has no fat to live off but I have separated her from the others - she was getting knocked over a lot by the boys as they rushed around the cage - and drained her crop enough twice a day to take off some of the weight and to make room to give her about 30mls yoghurt and 30mls water with a syringe. I am also massaging her crop every few hours. I'd welcome any advice anyone may have. I read on the web that pendulous crop tends to be a hereditary condition but I wasn't planning to breed from her anyway. Thank you.
  10. I set six cuckoo marans eggs in this new Brinsea incubator a couple of hours ago and then left the room to go and make supper. Came back into the room where the incubator is, just in time to hear the automatic turning mechanism start and see the eggs ... not turning ... just shuffling sideways. Has anyone else had this problem and found a workaround, please? At worst, I can of course hand-turn them for the next 21 days. But it is more than annoying if this expensive bit of kit doesn't work properly. Thanks. Rachel
  11. I've had one of those e-mails about bees being at risk of starvation and suggesting that bee-keepers open their hives to check that the frames with stores on are where the bees can find them. This was when the day-time temperature was -2 degrees C here. My bees have fondant which they don't seem to be eating very quickly, I have seen a few flying on warmer days not long ago, and maybe it will turn out that I have lost a lot but I am certain that if I opened the hive I would fatally chill any bees that are left. I am resigned to having to buy in a new nucleus, if the bees haven't survived. I know that I have done everything that it was possible to do to enable them to survive the winter; if it hasn't worked, if the winter has been too long or there have been too many long cold periods, I will just have to accept that. But I'd feel REALLY bad if there was a viable number of bees when I opened the hive - if I followed DEFRA's advice - but as a result of opening the hive they all then died. Edited to add: if the daytime temperature in the next few days rises to something like 9 degrees C or so, I might risk it to see if I should move any frames, but not otherwise.
  12. Roll on 2013. The second POL hen bought from Surbiton Poultry in early September died today. She had been well-grown and bright-eyed and alert and beautiful, laid her first egg on 21 December, and was integrated with the older hens. On Sunday she had an impacted crop. I massaged it and when I set her down by the garden pond she drank a lot. Then I gave her olive oil via a syringe and massaged some more. That seemed to shift the impacted food, her comb reddened again, but she didn't bounce back. Last night she appeared to have symptoms of sour crop so I gave her some probiotic yoghurt. This morning I drained her crop, and the liquid was pinkish and included grain that she ate on Saturday. (I am not certain that the liquid was pink due to blood, as I seem to remember that dead yeast is pinkish.) I then gave her water and a bit more olive oil. She was alert although not inclined to move around. I put her in the spare eglu to rest while I walked the dog. When I got back and went out with some sweetcorn and tuna to tempt her to eat, she was dead. So in 2012 that's two lots of hatching eggs that failed (12 altogether, the second lot due to a malfunctioning incubator), and two new hens that have died within four months, after all the expense and work of integrating them. About a hundred quid's worth - hatching eggs and hens - not counting feed. I don't know how significant it is but I am now back to three Wernlas girls - one that I got nearly four years ago as a POL hen, and two that I hatched (together with a cockerell) from 6 eggs from Wernlas - none of whom has yet had a days's illness in their lives. Sorry, just had to sound off. It is dispiriting when nothing you do makes any difference. Am going to put cider vinegar in the hens' water, now, though. Don't want any more losses.
  13. Thank you. Not sufficient funds to pay for a post mortem, although it would have been interesting in a grisly sort of way.

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