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About Lydia

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    All Knowing Superchicken
  1. Ancestry DNA

    I had mine done earlier this year and the results were nothing like I expected at all. A cousin of my mother’s had had hers done, too, and her results were quite different, which helped narrow down which strand came from which side of my family. It threw up a lot of 1st-4th cousin matches and I am now in touch with distant family members from far flung areas of the world. Interestingly they are all from my mother’s side but it does depend on who has also done the test. You have to do quite a bit detective work to identify where the familial link is as you get a list of surnames that people have in their trees so if the surnames in your family are common ones, it’s a bit needle in haystack trying to identify whether it’s your family strand or just coincidence, if you see what I mean. Like you I was keen to trace more about my paternal side, however, my dad was the product of a brief wartime affair with a man married to someone else, and this man is not named on his birth certificate. We know who he was but not much else, and none of his family knew, or know about my father. As my father carried his maternal surname and then later his stepfather’s (although there was no formal adoption), and both surnames are very common ones, the people who may be from that side of the family do not see the link at all, so I have to tread carefully as family members involved could still be alive. It was a hugely interesting exercise to see what’s out there and I am pleased I did it. When work calms down a bit next month I will return to the results and do lots more drilling down.
  2. tadpoles

    It's reasonably common to still find tadpoles later in the year. This link from Froglife has more details (see first FAQ on this page): http://www.froglife.org/info-advice/frequently-asked-questions/spawn-tadpoles-behaviour/
  3. I will possibly be in background shots but I was happy to let the more photogenic members of the team take centre stage Gavclojak, it's possible you've met my husband, then! He's done the Essex collection a few times.
  4. Today the Berkshire BHWT rehoming team was filmed. It was for a programme called Vet On The Hill, which is shown on Channel 4. The programme follows the exploits of Dr Scott Miller and his vet practice team. It's likely to air in the autumn, I'm told. It was quite fun, all in all, although tricky at times balancing the needs of the film crew to get their shots with the needs of the hens and the rehomers, and ensuring that the day ran smoothly. I hope it comes across well for the BHWT and shows the great work they do, as well as the hard work that my volunteer team put in every time. Dr Scott and nurse Ali, the two presenters, also rehomed 10 hens between them and I hope their hens, and the other 146 hens that were rehomed with us today, enjoy a happy retirement. We're a small team in Berks but have rehomed 639 hens since the end of April, raising nearly £3500 in much needed funds for BHWT. I'm really proud of the team and look forward to the programme when it airs.
  5. We lost one of our elderly cats back in October. After some months as a two cat household, we decided to adopt another one. We adopted lovely Dexter in 2014 and he fitted in really well with our 2 ladies, so we went back to the local shelter. Jelly joined us about 4 weeks ago. She was rescued from a house where there were too many cats, all of them unneutered. Food was put out for them but she has never known human interaction and is semi-feral. It's likely she's had a litter or two. I dug out the diffusers for Feliway and Pet Remedy from when we got Dexter and bought new stuff for them. OMG! What have they done to Pet Remedy?! It stinks! It's like a mixture of unwashed feet and that smell that gerbils have when they need cleaning out. I got it from two different places so I don't think it's just a dodgy batch. The Feliway smells much the same as I remember but I found that Pet Remedy worked better in the past. However, I can't put up with the smell. I unplugged them for a week or so but found the cats got a bit aggro so have reluctantly plugged them back in. If you are thinking of buying any, unless you have a poor sense of smell, my advice would be to stick to Feliway!
  6. Moving Mum in Law into new flat ........Aaaaagh!

    A couple I used to babysit for, who were also incredibly straight laced, had 13 copies of The Joy of ..., which they kept on their dining room bookshelf. The copies were dotted about, too, not kept together. To this day I still wonder why....on both points
  7. Vegetarian recipe suggestions please

    We had this for dinner last night and it was marvellous. Highly recommended! http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/burnt-aubergine-veggie-chilli
  8. Don't be so sure - many of the colony farms we rescue from for BHWT are housed in large industrial units in an industrial estate right in the middle of towns. Not a green field in sight!
  9. **Thread of little facts & things**....3

    Just found out a friend has passed away. I only met her once but we chatted online, first via an online music forum then through Facebook for the last 10 or so years. I don't know the full details but I fear she may taken her own life. Either way I am shocked and I will miss her hugely. It's an odd feeling being a friend but not being a friend, just someone online, if you see what I mean.
  10. Important Government Notice

    We use Virkin for all the BHWT rehoming to disinfect the crates. BHWT have had to postponed all rehomings for the next 30 days, too, which means ours is not happening this weekend. It will hit them hard with lack of donations. Better to be safe than sorry, though
  11. Problems? Or just early days?

    It sounds as though that's normal pecking order behaviour. It can look quite brutal but, as long as no blood has been drawn, it's best just to let them sort it out. Make sure they have have more than one feeding and drinking station so the hens on the receiving end of the pecking can get some food and water - just a sturdy bowl will do as a temporary measure. It may be that they don''t recognise layers pellets as food and depends on what they've been used to. If they've been fed on the loose mash before you could try grinding up some pellets in a food processor or pestle and mortar and offering that, then you can gradually introduce the whole pellets back in. Don't worry too much, though, as they are usually savvy enough to work it out in the end
  12. Getting Ex batts in winter

    Yes, I would second everything Gavclojak says. Do get some ex-commercial ladies, you won't regret it and they'll be fine. I'm Berks co-ordinator for the BHWT rehoming team and we, too, have a rescue coming up on 11 December, so there's lots of ladies looking for homes in December
  13. Newbie - winter advice

    Well, you're human and trying to do your best for them, it's natural I worried far more when the temps went over 30 a few months ago and mine were all very lethargic.
  14. Newbie - winter advice

    We've not shut the cube door at night for years and have never yet had frozen chicken! In fact, 2 of ours choose to sleep outside in the run on a perch, in all weathers all year round. They're in a secure walk in run which has a proper roof and the cube is attached externally. It is noticeably warmer in the run than the outside temperature in the colder months. It's not so much cold you need to worry about but damp. Covering the coop with extra jackets or covering the sides of your run with tarpaulin may make it too hot and could cause condensation to build up, which can lead to respiratory problems. Similarly keeping your run dry and clean is also key, especially if you have hens with feathered feet. A wet hen who can't get dry is far more susceptible to health problems. We think they get cold because we get cold - I worried about mine for years! But hens are a lot more hardy than they look and most urban settings just don't get cold enough to warrant extra measures in my opinion. Frozen water can be an issue and also be aware that you can fill it fresh in the morning and it can annoyingly freeze up again during the day, which can be an issue if you're out at work.
  15. Visiting London!!

    Theatremonkey have an offer on for Wicked at the moment, which runs until next April. See here.