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Salop Chuck

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Everything posted by Salop Chuck

  1. Another possibility could be that one of your hens attacked and killed a small bird like a sparrow then picked it up and ran away from the other hens and into the nest box to eat. I have had this experience myself with Connie, my Light Sussex - the blood around her face was a giveaway. Although I didn't actually witness this happening, the profuse and widespread splattering of bright red blood started on the ground where the sparrows come down to feed. I followed the trace of blood back to the nest box. No sparrow corpse to be found anywhere so she must have eaten it. I think it is the dinosaur instincts coming out. I examined all the hens and no injuries on any of them. This is only a surmise about what may have happened in your situation.
  2. Hi Redwing I watched Lottie (Buff Rock bantam) for a while after the event to see what the other hens in the flock did to her on seeing the blood on her but surprisingly none of them took a blind bit of notice even though they definitely saw the blood stains. Who knows what hens get up to when our backs are turned. Last Autumn, Connie (a Light Sussex), must have killed a sparrow that had come down to the ground to feed. There were blood spatters all over the patio covering quite a wide area. I even traced her tracks back to the coop were I discovered further blood stains. Not a trace of the sparrow anywhere so she must have eaten the entire bird . I never heard a thing. Dinosaur instincts showing themselves I think!
  3. A couple of days ago, something attracted my attention to the garden because all the wild bird flew away and my hens dived into the bushes. When I went out one of my buff rock bantams came out and seemed to have acquired blood stained feathers at the back of her neck and down her back. When I examined her there was no obvious injury and the skin had not been broken. I am a bit bemused by this since bullying by the other hens was ruled out . I have two thoughts on this 1. She killed and ate a small bird causing its blood to splatter over the back of her head or 2. A male Sparrowhawk attacked her but decided she was too big to carry off and abandoned her. I have recently seen at least three Starlings taken my a male sparrowhawk within a few feet of my house. I would be interested to know if anyone else had had unexplained events happened to their hens.
  4. I have two Australorp bantams (just a gorgeous as the large version but cuter ) two Buff Rock bantams and one Light Sussex who all share the Eglucube with the run extension (2 sq m run space). They spend a lot of time in the run during bad weather but FR for ~ 2 hrs a day when possible. They all get on reasonably well and so far I have not had problems of boredom or feather pecking. I do hang boredom busters up as well as hook mini corn on the cobs & veg up for them to peck at to keep them contended and occupied. Factoring in more space per hen than the 'recommended capacity' is a must during the winter months when the hens are confined for longer periods so over-stocking is to be avoided. This is only my experience and everyone has a different story to tell but I hope this helps. By the way, the Light Sussex is a delightful hen - a real character, alert and active while being docile and friendly.
  5. I asked this same question a year ago only my query involved obtaining pure breed bantams and integrating them with my two original omlet hybrids. In April 2010 I evetually bought 4 bantams: 2 Australorp bantams (that are supposed to be good winter layers), 2 Buff Rock bantams and a Light Sussex. As it turned out my 2 omlet hens only lasted a few months after getting the new hens before succoming to abdominal tumours and had to be PTS . I am absolutely delighted with my pure bred hens and dealing with broodiness, winter moulting and a break in egg laying are things you just learn to deal with and get used to. While I loved my hybrids to bits and enjoyed their friendliness it did slightly worry me how exhausted they evetually became with all the intense egg laying. Do your research then go to a reputable pure breed establishment to buy pure breed pullets and enjoy the experience. Good luck whatever you decide to do.
  6. Hi KateCooke Re: the fencing to allow your bantams to FR - I use temporary fencing supplied by Omlet. It is not particularly cheap but there is an offer on at the moment for 25m fencing with exta poles reduced from £90.48 to £62.60. With the VAT increase coming in January it would be great if you could buy it before then if you are able. The link is here: https://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/shop.php?cat=Chicken+Keeping&sub=General&product_id=22&product_name=Chicken+Netting+-+25M+and+Extra+Poles It is not fox-proof on its own without electrication but it will confine your bantams. It is very quick to put up and take down and you can take it with you if you ever move house. You can also buy extra poles if you need them. Hope that helps. Cheers Sue
  7. Just caught up with your most recent posting - I'm so sorry that you lost Blodwyn during the night - at least she died with her favourite people around her and didn't have to undergo the stress of going to the vet. Lots of hugs for you and your family.
  8. Thank you so much to all you kind people who responded to my postings about Saffie yesterday. I am glad to report good news - Saffie survived the night and was 'up and dressed' ready to be let out this morning. She then went on to have a 'Full English Breakfast' consisting of cereal (dried mealworms) followed by sausages (6 fat, juicy earthworms dug up by me) and finishing off with a bit of cooked rice, sweetcorn and diced grapes. She is still resting a lot under bushes but is now interacting a little with the other hens. What a huge relief!!!! Your comments, support and advice has been invaluable - so a big thank you to all of you.
  9. Hi sparkysmum Thank you so much for your kind words - gives me a little hope. I am going to have a stiff brandy before I carry out another syringe feed. Managed to get 10mls down at 3pm so time for another session. She'll fight against me doing it but I wrap her in a towel and force her beak open for a quick squirt of nourishing fluid. It takes about 15mins to get 10mls of fluid in. I don't want to stress her out too much. Will keep you posted. Connie, my Light Sussex is trying to make friendly overtures towards Saffie so maybe there's a chance for a budding friendship there if I can just get Saffie to eat on her own.
  10. I will take Saffie to the vets tomorrow to have a verdict on her current condition and to see if there is any underlying disease going on. I've started to syringe feed her because she has gone so long without food and water. She doesn't like me doing it but I'll keep it up anyway. I am giving a mixture of watered down baby porridge, honey and live yogurt and just hope it gives her enough energy to perk her up a bit. She spent some of the afternoon outside and the other hens hung out with her which was nice to see. We can only try. Thanks so much for your responses. Will keep you posted.
  11. Hi Clur Read your postings re Blodwyn - sorry to hear about your struggles with her. It is a really difficult situation to be in but you are doing everything in your power to help your hen survive. They might give up but we can choose not to. I am syringe feeding a hen who lost her companion hen to an advanced tumour 10 days ago. She is grieving terribly for her friend and has given up eating and drinking. She fights me when I'm syringing the liquid food in but I intend to keep on trying and then let nature take its course and just hope for the best. Good luck to you both. I will be thinking of you. Hugs
  12. Thanks for your experience and how you dealt with it - I might consider getting another young pullet if nothing else works. Did it matter the the new pullet was so much younger and immature than your depressed hen or do you think the new hen came in at the bottom of the pecking order and she identified with her more closely as a possible ally and friend?
  13. Good point. On Monday morning if she hasn't shown considerably improvement, I'll get my local vet to check her over.
  14. Hi Space Chick Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your experience. I will Give Saffie some more time to adjust. Even though we are not quite there yet she is making tiny steps towards recovery. Will keep you posted.
  15. I have just been outside to check on Saffie and she is with the other hens foraging a little and showing just a tiny interest in her surroundings. Fingers crossed she will start to perk up and join the other hens in typical chicken activities. Here's hoping.
  16. No she just spends time on her own and hides herself under hedgerows or bushes. The other hens seem to want to help her, particularly my Light Sussex Connie, but she wont respond to their overtures of friendship. Very sad. Awful to see her like this.
  17. My two original hybrids from Omlet coped with the winter weather (mostly inside my house!). Then in April my Miss Pepperpot, Ella, became very ill and I thought I would lose her. Being a fighter she rallied remarkably and again enjoyed the garden with fresh grass and grubs to enjoy. In spite of being slower and ceasing to lay eggs, she and Saffie (Gingernut Ranger) spent every minute together and seemed to have a very strong bond. Then 2 weeks ago Ella spent a lot of her time just rooted to the spot, frequently closing her eyes. After watching her for two days I took her to the vet who diagnosed an advanced cancer in her abdomen. The decision was made then to put her to sleep. Thankfully I was able to be with her to the end and say 'goodbye'. Saffie, her friend and companion, has been bereft since the loss of Ella. For 10 days she has been moping about the garden on her own, not making any sound, walking very slowly and eating and drinking minuscule amounts of food and water. Her favourite treats don't interest her anymore. Her poos and very watery and she shows very little interest in her surroundings - it's as though she has given up. I have 5 other pullets (obtained in April). Laterly she has spent much of the day inside in a nest I have made for her in a quiet part of the living room. I will take her to the vet on Monday beause I don't want her to just starve herself to death and it would be kinder. Has anyone else experience this kind a behaviour in hens when they lose a companion hen? Any comments and advice would be most welcome. I am missing my perky, inquisitive, friendly Saffie.
  18. Good advice - especially going into the garden without a handful of treats. Thankfully it is all quiet now as she is busy laying her egg. The silence is wonderful
  19. Thanks for your response. I think you are right about attention seeking. I am worried about neighbour complaints so I tend to go out in the garden to spend time with her. This usually works but not always. She tends to make this schreeching noise an hour before she enters the nest box to lay her egg. Also I think she is trying to take over as head hen beause my old gingernut ranger head girl is now too old and tired to maintain her position.
  20. I have a very noisy 9 month old Light Sussex chicken, Connie, who regulary makes the most awful ,ear-piercing schreeching sounds. She is free-range in the garden and has the company of 4 bantams and two elderly 'Omlet' hybrids. Apart from one of the bantams, all the other hens quietly peck around the garden with just the occasional contented chucking noises. She was broody a two moths ago but is now back in lay. Does anyone know what this behaviour means and what I can do to stop it. She will stop temporarily when I go into the garden but then start up again when I go back into the house. Is this attention seeking???? Any advice would be most welcome. Distracted
  21. Hi Janty I am glad Austrlorps are a friendly breed. Is yours normal sized or bantam? By the way how is Nutmeg these days?
  22. Thanks Jools for your input. I might go for Australorp bantams because they are not too tiny and look as though they could look out for themselves.
  23. Hi Chuckybucks Thanks for your quick response - your comments were very helpful. I will wait until next Spring before adding bantams to the flock. Kind regards SalopChuck
  24. Hi everyone I've had my 2 omlet hybrids for 16 months (started out with 3 but one died 2 months ago) and I am aware that 2 is a precarious number in case another one dies. I don't have much garden space so am thinking of introducing 3 bantams. Will the bantams get bullied too much by the resident hybrids. I hear mixed messages about hybrids and bantams together, some not very positive. Has anyone out there had experience of introducing bantams into a flock of medium to large hens? I would appreciate any advice, whether your experience had been a good or bad one. Kind regards Salop Chuck
  25. I also find the Gingernuts friendlier, but the Pepperpots I think are tougher and cope with extreme weather conditions better. In spite of being a little more stand-offish they are real characters and make me laugh a lot.

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