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About Gallina

  • Birthday August 25

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Chatty Chicken

Chatty Chicken (7/19)



  1. All I do is empty the water containers after the hens have gone to bed and hang them back up empty. They haven't frozen solid at this point: that happens during the night. Then all I have to do in the morning is fill them up from a watering can, which is much easier, as there is not so much to carry down the garden. This may sound obvious, but I didn't think of it the first time I looked after hens during an icy spell.
  2. I have just had the city council pest control officer at my house as I am plagued with rats, and he said a rat could easily get through the mesh of the eglu/cube run. I have never quite believed this: what do other people think?
  3. I don't think that those square pieces of mesh necessarily get lost: they were a later modification, and people who bought early Mark 2s were not made aware that they should buy them, and wouldn't have known about them if they hadn't followed this forum. All later Mark 2s have them as standard. But these pieces are intended to stop foxes tunnelling into the run, which has happened, particularly on light or uneven soil. What I don't understand is how the fox then got into a closed Eglu. Did it gnaw through the small hole in the bottom? I have had rats do this, so I suppose it isn't impossible for a fox to do the same. It must have been an awful shock.
  4. This subject comes up again and again. Wouldn't it be a good idea if Omlet paid for proper legal advice and put it on their website? As long as you don't have a cockerel and keep the numbers down (fifty sounds a lot to me: I wouldn't be too thrilled myself at having that many next door!) you will get away with it. And make sure any rat problem is nipped in the bud. Even if you have a restrictive covenant which your neighbours have the power to enforce, they are unlikely to try: going to law is so expensive, and this is a very grey area.
  5. My Amber Star is not the most beautiful of my hens (the amber bits are very splodgy); but she is the most intelligent hen I have ever had.
  6. If you move the Eglu around regularly on grass, you are probably all right. But an Eglu left in one place on soil will almost certainly attract rats. They love being snug and warm underneath it, and then they will start gnawing the drainage hole. This has been my experience, anyway: it was solved by getting a Cube.
  7. It depends very much on your soil. I have light sandy soil and it is no problem at all having the run on it. If you have clay soil, it could get unpleasant. But the Eglu itself must go on slabs because of rats: they just love nesting under Eglus. They don't seem so interested in the run: they have never tried to dig under the skirt of mine. With light soil, it is particularly important to weigh the skirt down. Slabbing the whole area would be much easier for you, but I know that my hens would miss digging their craters, and they don't get out much.
  8. Mad cow disease was caused by feeding meat to animals which were vegetarian: it was very unnatural, and the meat was not properly cooked. Chickens are natural omnivores, and love meat more than anything. I draw the line at feeding them poultry, but I can't see any harm in feeding them other meat, as long as it is thoroughly cooked. I would rather see them eating this than live mice, frogs, and slugs. Layers' pellets are not natural: they are designed to make a hen lay far more eggs than is good for them. A natural diet for a hen would be a nice roast dinner, just like we have.
  9. Is anyone else's cube door partially jammed? I was terrified that my fat girls would not be able to get out of the gap this morning, but thankfully they managed it. I have not been well, and do not want to go out in the freezing weather to investigate fully. Is it likely there is some ice somewhere blocking the mechanism? If so, I will wait with my fingers crossed and hope my Cochin doesn't get any fatter.
  10. Someone asked in The Times yesterday how they can make their neighbour get rid of their three chickens: http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article6894208.ece You won't like the answer (and may not agree with it).
  11. The two cockerels I had last year always remained darlings to me: real softies, and willing to be cuddled at any time. But when the mating started in a confined space, it wasn't so nice for the girls, especially for one of them who was his special favourite. Think about purchasing a saddle in advance, just in case -- I wish I had. I had imagined they would continue to be mummies' boys, but they were scarily virile.
  12. It happens so rarely I wouldn't worry too much about it. But you certainly need to check on icy mornings that the water hasn't frozen. I use the run pin to test it, and any ice is usually so thin that the pin breaks it. It would become a problem if you go away during a very cold spell and the people looking after your hens don't think about the possibility of the water freezing, so this is something to emphasize. This advice probably doesn't apply to the frozen north. If I lived up there, I would solve the problem by having two water containers: I would put the clean one out each morning at the same time as bringing the frozen one in to dethaw.
  13. I would say don't keep your cockerel unless you have a large walk-in run. He will harass the girls too much otherwise. I was desperate to keep my gorgeous cockerel, but both he and the girls needed more space. If you do decide to keep him and you don't have a lot of space, make sure you get saddles for the girls well in advance. I found out too late just how necessary they are. On the positive side, cockerels are lovely, and the noise was tolerable.
  14. What about Beak House? Or you could call it Rhodes House, as in http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/AboutRH.htm
  15. More interesting hen research from the University of Oxford: http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2009/090807.html This how your hens know (without opening their eyes) that it is dawn, so time to get up and make a nuisance of themselves.

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