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atsw

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Everything posted by atsw

  1. I’ve tried to keep track of all the chicks I’ve raised (and hens I’ve purchased or acquired) over the last 15 years. I’ve created an online photo library to achieve this. Do feel free to browse https://www.atsw.co.uk to see the various hens (and some cockerels) that have been part of my flock over time. I’ve documented the hatch dates or purchase dates and included pictures of each set of newcomers and breed type. I’ve also documented the building of my WIR in 2009 and the various Eglu’s I’ve purchased for the growing flock. I don’t think I’d ever have been able to keep track of dates and names without it! Andrew
  2. I’ve always had a soft spot for Orpington’s and Frizzle Pekin Bantams. I’ve had many different breeds since 2005 when I got our first chooks, but looking at your list Lewis, still plenty out there to choose from in the years to come! I’ve recently update my online chicken keeping photo library, feel free to browse https://www.atsw.co.uk to see the various hens (and some cockerels) that I’ve breed or acquired over the last 15 years. For those after blue egg layers, you’ll find pictures of my Crested Legbars (2014) and the recent edition of White Araucanas (2021). Andrew
  3. As someone who has always kept a cockerel as part of my flock, and in a semi-rural area, you might expect me to have a different opinion to the others, but I’d also say no. At the moment I actually have two cockerels in a flock of 11 birds, my main boy, who we hatched in 2017, is lovely and also surprisingly quiet for the most part. We’ve never had any trouble with him and no complaints from our neighbours. BUT, our newest edition, from a hatch in 2020 is already big and loud. While currently subservient to Patrick, and generally quite timid, he has recently “come of age” and as well as being loud is now making numerous advances on the girls, who are currently unable to escape his attentions because of being restricted to our (quite big) Walk-in-Run. I’m sure we will have trouble between Patrick and Merlot come the spring, at which point Merlot will be leaving us. Pictures below. Merlot (the new boy) is the Black Araucana. Patrick, our resident boy, is a Pekin/Orpington cross! Andrew
  4. Having lost a couple of our older hens during 2020, now seemed like a good time to restock for the New Year. Our new hens are “Emeralds”, which are quirky looking hens, who’s appearance varies from hen to hen. Ours are predominantly white in colour, but have black and grey splash markings. Their araucana breeding also means they are rumpless (so they have no tail or very little tail). One of ours has developed ear tufts, another trait of the breed. Most importantly, once a little older they will lay Blue (or possibly Green) eggs. We’ve decided to call them Saphira and Stormfly, after fictional blue dragons.
  5. I recently acquired a Yellow Mk1 Eglu, which is the type that were made prior to Spring 2005. They look almost identical to the more common Mk2 Eglu's (now known as a "Classic" Eglu), but some parts are a very slightly different shape and size. These Eglu's came with wooden roosting bars, which, as I'm sure you can imagine, need replacing after 15 years! The replacement bars listed in the Omlet Shop state that they are for Mk2 Eglu's, but I can confirm they fit perfectly in a Mk1 Eglu as well. I did test this before spending £22 on a new set of bars, as I already had two Mk2 Eglu's, both with plastic roosting bars. I simply swapped in the big and small sets as a test and they were a perfect fit. The new set of bars from Omlet arrived today, together with a new lynch pin (the previous owner lost the original one!). My girls are so pleased with their new bright yellow coop, one even laid an egg in it this morning!
  6. Yes, it came up remarkably well. It's a Mk1 Eglu, so manufacture pre-dates the Spring of 2005. Looking at it, you certainly wouldn't believe it's over 15 years old, but it is! When I bought it, it was looking pretty grubby and was more "pond green" than yellow, but a few hours of rubbing down with Astonish Cleaner (meant as Oven & Cookware Cleaner!) and then another hour with my high-pressure jet washer, it came up incredibly well. The wooden bars are past their best, but I've ordered new plastic ones, together with a new lynch-pin, as that was missing.
  7. Hi Patricia - yes, the “flats” continue to work well. My Blue Eglu is at the other end of the WIR, also on a small table to give floor space underneath. As you commented, the girls (and boys) like being able to FR in the garden, but in truth they are also happy in their run. With such short daylight hours at the moment it’s not a huge imposition being in the run all day, and they don’t seem to mind.
  8. I gave our Walk in Run a through clean at the weekend, put down a liberal amount of red disinfectant powder and a bale of Aubiose to keep winter wetness at bay. Today I added and extra Eglu coop, so there are now 3 coops for 9 birds. Two coops are “stacked” to save floor space, so that should give them roaming room and spaces to shelter/lay without any overcrowding. I must say, I’m very pleased at how well the new (actually v old!) yellow Mk1 Eglu came up after a going over with Astonish cleaner and a jet wash.
  9. Just a quick update, this is Merlot and Muscat today (Merlot is now 9 weeks, Muscat is at 7 weeks). It took Merlot a couple of days to accept Muscat, but they seem firm friends now. If anything, I think Muscat might end up ‘in charge’ in the long run.
  10. This one came from John at Old Dairy Poultry. After I explained the special situation I had he was willing to sell me a single chick. I would have happily taken two if I could, but that would have taken me over a dozen birds and I know the Buff Orps can get very big (I’ve had two before), so hence just the one extra chick this time.
  11. So, “Little Bit” is now not so little any more and has been called Merlot. She is 7 weeks old and Mum has lost interest and is laying again. So, with Nutmeg needing Layer Pellets and Merlot Grower Pelets, I’ve decided Nutmeg should go back with the others and Merlot therefore needed a companion in her part of the run (any excuse for more hens!). Welcome Muscat, a 6 week old Buff Orpington.
  12. This is my first Araucana Chick, I’ve had Pekins and Polands before, and as you say, they are easy. For “little bit” she is not showing the usual signs of male behaviour and does not have any sign of a comb forming (coming up to 7 weeks now). So I’m hopeful it’s a girl, but I’m no expert.
  13. Yes, she is a Blue or Black Araucana (I think Blue).
  14. ‘Little Bit’ has reached the grand old age of 5 weeks and 3 days. I’m now pretty sure I have a girl.
  15. ‘Little Bit’ is a Blue or Black Araucana. We think he/she is a ‘Blue’, which will be great if that’s the case, as that is what we were hoping for (as well as hoping it being a female chick of course!).
  16. This weekend it was time for ‘Little Bit’ and Mum to move into larger accommodation. Our two new white hens are now completely integrated with the main flock, so Mum and her chick have taken up residence in a section at the end of our Walk-in-Run.
  17. We’ve had our new hens for a week now, so today we let them into the garden to see how they got on mixing with our existing flock (a hen bubble perhaps!?). Anyway, they got on just fine, and Patrick our cockerel was very happy about having some new girls to ‘socialise’ with 😂.
  18. Of the four Poland eggs you gave me back in 2014 all hatched and we got 3 girls and one boy. We kept 2 girls, and called them Mel and Sue (from Bake Off), and re-homed the other two. https://photos.app.goo.gl/V2WXuTX4jxqTZNFz8 - Mel https://photos.app.goo.gl/xQfnSF69yhnQyqHX6 - Sue Sue was interesting, she was jet black, had five toes, and I don’t think ever laid any eggs, buy she was a ‘she’. Mel was White, very feisty, and would always hold her own with the big girls in the early days. She laid little white eggs occasionally! Sue died about a year ago, Mel disappeared, literally, about two months ago. We’ve no idea what happened to her. No signs of an attack, she just vanished one day while they were in the garden. She was going a bit blind in her old age (6), and became more timid In her later years, so could have been spooked and flown up and over our fences, but our neighbours never saw her in their gardens.
  19. Hi Patricia - I’ve been incredibly busy with work since I last posted, hence not having the time to post much. However the flock are doing well, we lost a few hens over the last 18 months, all down to old age, so this year it’s time to restock. Chicks and new POL at the same time weren’t the original plan, but Nutmeg went broody early in May and we wanted blue eggs again (Xena was one of the hens we lost last year). Then the POL Leghorn hens we wanted became available this weekend, so now we have both!!! I’m retiring from work (after 38 years) at the end of the month, so will have more time for the forum from July.
  20. Evening all, It's been a while, but this week I've added three new additions to the flock. A hatch of 6 eggs resulted in 1 healthy chick on Monday (sadly, 3 others were DIS, the other 2 eggs were infertile, always a risk with eBay eggs) and today 2 White Leghorn POL hens became available. The chick is a Blue or Black Araucana (again, eBay, who knows!). The chick struggled to exit the shell independently (very strong shell and inner membrane) and after 12hrs I assisted it (not something I'd usually do, but it was clearly struggling by that point). Glad I did, as it's a healthy chick and is thriving so far (now 4 days old, hatch day in the pictures).
  21. Thanks Patricia, good to see you're still contributing! Yes, it's almost certain the egg would have been fertile as I currently have two very active cockerels . The egg was from one of my older hens, as the 'new' girls that hatched last year currently lay much smaller sized eggs than the big girls. Andrew
  22. Hello Omletteers! I'd like to ask for your thoughts on what might be causing a red discoloration in the white of eggs being laid by one of my hens. I’m curious as to what might have caused it. It first occurred a couple of weeks back, but as it was the first time I’d seen it in any of my eggs I didn’t give it any further thought at the time. However, now it's happened again, so it clearly wasn’t a one-off, and I'd like to get your thoughts on what it is (it looks like some blood got into the egg-white forming process) and what might have caused it. Finally of course, do I have anything to worry about? Looking froward to your replies, Andrew
  23. You probably don't want to see how my little chicks are getting on then Cheers Andrew
  24. Not content with hatching 5 new chicks a few weeks ago, we now have a couple of new additions for the main flock as well. Introducing Lizzy and Beth, both are a breed called Black Perl (aka Miss Pepper-pot), which is a hybrid hen that should lay around 290 eggs a year at peak production. These two are almost at Point of Lay, but haven't started to produce eggs just yet. They are currently in their own Eglu, pending formal introductions to the main flock (who live in the WIR in the photo below) and our Rabbit, who also has a Eglu and run of his own. Cheers Andrew
  25. Thanks Lewis. Four of the six eggs were hatched for friends in the village who are looking to re-stock after a visit by Mr Fox. I added a couple of eggs from my girls and both hatched. So I'll have a CLB/Marans crossed with my Pekin/Orp boy, and a Marans crossed with my Pekin/Orp boy, so goodness knows how they will turn out, but if the chick from the CLB/Marans is a girl then I might get either blue/green/brown eggs later this year! Andrew

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