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Everything posted by jnb

  1. I would assume that unless you can put it on an absolutely flat base then mice and rats will get underneath the panels rather than through the holes in the mesh?
  2. I have one of these! I have a wee boy and a wife who both seem to love having the chickens and yet somehow it's still my job to get up at 6 and feed and water the birds and let them out. How'd that happen? Bedtime's a bit easier, they all seem to find they way back from the garden to the hen house by late dusk. Only problem is that without opening up the hen house I can't be certain they're all in before I close the pophole and run.
  3. Any suggestions? I was planning on making 2m x 1.8m panels with 2x1 timber and inch square mesh and then linking the panels together with a simple eye hoox arrangement. All of which should give me a flexible arrangment but would be harder to roof. Might it be necessary to roof the run? the hens don't seem to be that inclined to getting very high. Any other suggestions (other than one panel with a door in it, I've figure that one out already) Main plan here is to be able to give the hens a larger area when for whatever reason we don't want to move the house and small run too often and want to contain them (e.g. neighbours feeding them over holidays, locking them in while I reseed areas etc.)
  4. I've let my birds out recently. We've only a three foot fence at some points and clipped their wings. So far they seem to show no inclination to wandre too far (though I suppose to some extent that depends how big your garden is). For getting them back in they've become used to people meaning food, so stand next to the ark and rattle a container with corn in it and chickens com running from under the borders. They then obediently follow me round to the ark door and go straight in for a handful of corn. Only problem was wing clipping as I had no experience so I think the first one out had a poor time as we hummed and hahhed and decided what to do.
  5. Do you know what she feeds them? If so then wait two days and tell her that she can stop worrying about the run as the vet has got back to you and told you that it's not mycoplasma but apparently some idiot fed them [insert whatever 'treat' she offered here]
  6. My hens are in a reasonable size run which I move every two or three days so they have regular fress ground and grass. But in those two or three days they are almost guaranteed to scratch a hole in the lawn to make a dustbath for themselves. Any alternatives I could offer them which might dissuade them from attacking the lawn? (Though I might just build a walk in run and have done with all the moving them about business)
  7. Now we've a coalition what is their energy policy. Lib dems had a rather wishful thinking policy of aiming for zero carbon and no nuclear power stations.
  8. Less likely to go belly up as they've a coalition and a fixed term paliament. Lib dems would have little interest in calling for an election while they're in a coalition, Tories can't call an election by having accepted a fixed term. Labour could try to sabotage it but would they? The biggest danger is probably people having unrealistic expectations and whinging about them, given the state of the economy and the deficit whoever got in was going to have to make cuts.
  9. Is there a reason you couldn't move the run periodically? We keep our run on grass and move it a couple of times a week.
  10. OK I've had my hens for a couple of weeks now. They spent the first week in an ark (about 2 x 1.3m) last week I built them an extra run on the end so they had twice the space. So they should be thoroughly used to the idea of where home is. They're also used to the idea that I am a source of treats so they come to say hello when I go down the garden. Now I want to let them out across the rest of the garden when we're around so they have a reasonable space to roam. The question is how do I get them back when I need to, how do I stop them escaping into the neighbours gardens or even the field at the bottom of the garden. There's a fence all around the garden which is about 3ft at it's lowest point and I could clip their wings, which I've never tried but it looks easy enough in principle but will they still be over that fence as soon as I'm not looking? Will they come back the the ark of their own accord? Are there tricks to persuading them to come home. Will I be finding eggs all ovetr the garden and none in the nest boxes?
  11. I suspect a hung parliament wouldn't make too much difference in the long term because it would be likely to result ina weak colatition government which does nothing, collapses and we have another election pretty soon. I'm more interested in seeing whether the surge to the libe dems holds up or whether when it gets to the polls all those people who suddenly decided they would vote and would vote lib dem go back to apathy.
  12. Which will of course be made to a minimum price somewhere with minimum labour costs thus guaranteeing that it will break again and so you will buy another and another and another and ... Recently tried to replace a kettle with something which wasn't cheap chinese pap and it seems there isn't such a thing anymore.
  13. Use the grill? Actually that's not such a silly suggestion. Grills make better toast than toasters partly because toasters try to do it too quickly which means ending up with hot but slightly damp toast rather than toasted toast.
  14. I was under the impression that if they're on layers pellets they should get all the calcium they need from that?
  15. Checking my birds this morning they all seemed healthy and happy, no eggs in the nestbox when I checked but then I found one broken egg on the pophatch door. Closer examination showed it was rather odd and gelatinous and the shell was soft also, if I found it all, it was somewhat small. What's likely to be the cause? Practice egg from one of the birds that wasn't previously laying, the bird that was laying having got upset after the move? Something insufficient in the diet (they're mainly on layers pellets at the moment, up to about 100 - 110 g a day so that should be ok?) something else.
  16. Guideline feed amounts seem to be 100 - 150g per bird per day. So with 8 birds thats a kilo a day or 20 days from a sack.
  17. As I understand it rats are neophobic, they are averse to new things. So a trap may well be ignored for a time until they are used to it as part of their environment. I have in the past been advised to leave traps down unset so that rats become used to it as something safe before baiting and setting it.
  18. Some councils will send them in for free. Some will only do it it for some people, or some properties. Where I live the service is free for rat problems in domestic premises, but not if your house is on a farm even though you might not be a farmer. Other places have it free for senior citizens and so on, so it is not a simple phone up and it will be dealt with for free. Having said that anyone should be controlling them at all times to avoid the need to call a rat catcher arising.
  19. Though it doesn't look that controverisal, reading the above it seems the overwhelming concensus is kill the thing. Not sure if there have been any radical changes in poisons recently but a lot of the older poisons were anticoagulants (warfarin etc) and so would make the corpse poisonous to anything that ate it. As rats are also neophobic they required mutliple repeat doses to reach a fatal level which means that you can not guarantee finding the corpse. That's also how some rat populations are resistant to the first generation anticoagulants as there is always a chance that some would get a high but sublethal dose. All of which are reasons I prefer guns and traps, although they're only effective with relative low levels of infestation. If you do go down the route of poisons then definitely use a bait box of some sort. It doesn't have to be an expensive bought thing but you do want to avoid accidentally killing the wrong thing. I've known people in the past to either construct boxes from would or use drainpipes, placed along the runs the rats are using and you should get them. But the main techniques are to deprive them of food and shelter, tidy your garden, take the birds food away overnight, get vermin proof feed bins for storing the food. Actually even if you don't think you have rats I'd advise anyone to do that to avoid them arriving in the first place.
  20. jnb


    Cut the flowering stem off and avoid harvesting in the first year. Also feed these things, lots, I generally just add several inches of stable manure each autumn.
  21. Ahhh the wonder of out of season supermarlarkey strawberries I was wondering the opposite. Is there any practical way to keep the hens off my strawberries?
  22. True I was thinking more of the spread of disease, contamination of food etc. rather than a direct kill
  23. Nothing is rat proof. They will get through a smaller gap than you can imagine, gnaw through wood, wire, even softer metals. The only options are to deprive them of food and shelter. Agree with you on the poisons (also long term use means that rat populations are acquiring resistance to some poisons), live traps are good if you really want to make sure you are getting rats and nothing else. Otherwise I'd just use snap or fenn traps but placed in tunnels to reduce bycatch. A simple tunnel made from wood, or even a modified drainpipe is a good option as tthat's a good way to keep out domestic animals though I'm not sure how good they would be at prevent hedgehogs etc. getting to the bait. Is it really more humane to trap it, transport it and then gas it than to just use a snap trap or shoot it when you find it in a live trap?
  24. Understandable but now consider that rats will spread disease and kill other creatures (including your chickens) and pose a risk to human health. By not killing the rat you are just choosing to kill something else. The only humane option for all concerned (well maybe not the rat) is to kill it. Inaction just means that you're choosing to kill something other than the rat.
  25. What about s"Ooops, word censored!"s of unprocessed human foods - bits of veg? home made bread? etc. Presumably if it's been cooked it would have done any swelling it was going to? (not that I plan on feeding them rice and pasta). Is bread really that bad?

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