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majorbloodnock

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majorbloodnock last won the day on July 8

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About majorbloodnock

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    Chatty Chicken

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    Eglu Cube Mk1

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  1. @Hayleybug, all that mass of climber (Clematis? Jasmine? Honeysuckle?) looks as if the WIR should be really dark. Interesting, then, to see in that last photo that the sun manages to bypass most of it leaving the hens with plenty of light. Clever siting and a great use of space.
  2. You've got several swings, MH; presumably that's because they're so popular one wouldn't be enough? I've thought about putting a swing in, but currently our girls only sporadically use the static perch we have.
  3. Thanks for that. Yes, I've had experience with corrugated roofing sheets before, but the roof to my WIR has enough cross members for it to be fine if I go down that route. I'd prefer not to felt it since it'll end up too dark inside IMHO, hence my preference for transparent sheets if possible.
  4. OK, well in that case we might as well use this thread since it's available. I've posted my setup in another thread already, but to summarise, it's 4.5m along the longest edges, and gives about 16 sqare metres - ample for the eight hens we have. The Cube is inside rather than being an external annex, but the doors are wide enough to take the Cube out periodically for a proper clean, avoiding the inevitable mudbath of cleaning in situ. The floor is as nature intended, and the tarpaulin roof keeps a large part of it dry, allowing the girls somewhere to retreat when it rains. It's in this covered area that the food is kept, and that's in a treadle feeder so we can avoid "rat bait" scattered all over the floor. I have, however, put three boxed spring traps at strategic points to deal with any rats should they decide to come in anyway. There is a mesh skirt stapled to the run, which extends horizontally about 3-4 feet under the turf in order to deter digging under the sides of the run. There is, as you can see, a run of polywire at a number of levels which has been electrified, and so far despite us living in an area regularly frequented by foxes we have seen no evidence of anything trying to get into the run. Apart from the majority of the mesh, the tarpaulin and the electric fence kit, the run has been made out of recycled materials. Once lockdown eases and building supplies prices come down a bit, I'll be removing the tarpaulin and replacing with some corrugated roofing sheets - at least some of which will be transparent.
  5. Sadly, I've seen the pyjama brigade in Aldi, Lidl, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's. Bad taste is not fussy. As the original comment suggests, I'll happily forgive the fashion and etiquette sins if the social distancing rules are respected.
  6. I'm not sure I was ever more than on the periphery of the forum, but I was certainly around whilst you were. I'm glad to hear things are going better for you.
  7. Although mine is a mk1 Cube, I can confirm the capacity for sleeping birds. The ex bats will probably be warrens which are classed as a medium sized bird. i have three warrens alongside three similar sized Columbian blacktails and two slightly smaller leghorns, and all eight are very happy in the cube. They probably have about 15sqM between them and have plenty enough space to avoid the bad behaviour of overcrowding. Do bear in mind, though, that some of your ex bats may lead happy lives for only a relatively short time, after which you may well think of additions. Your run should still be big enough to subdivide temporarily at that point whilst introducing a couple of new girls to your then incumbent flock.
  8. I think, as a generalisation, that popular recipes have been lazily adapted until their original strengths have been forgotten. Take, for example, the perennial favourite bolognese ragu. Pretty much everyone has their own recipe, but almost all I've tasted rely heavily on both the meat and the addition of further meat stock. Trouble is that meat is the expensive bit and the end result is very salty and heavy. Precious little subtlety. Although there's no definitive recipe, the common themes involve an onion and about four carrots and a similar quantity of celery to less than a pound of mince, a glass of white wine and about a cup of milk, and cooking for at least 4 hours. No stock, no herbs, no other flavourings. The result is a surprisingly sweet sauce, but still plenty of flavour despite being about half the cost per person of what most people normally cook now on account of being bulked out by so much veg. Ditto shepherds' pie. It's not mince with mash on top, it's at least half vegetable, in order to bulk out the meat, and the veg adds a sweet/savoury complexity that is sorely missed when not there. Now that meat production has been identified as such a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, there is a real incentive for meat-lovers to return to traditional frugal cooking and make a little meaty flavour go a long way. That, in turn, will reduce reliance on meat in our diets and so give us the freedom to choose not to eat a meat-based meal when only bad quality cheap meat is offered.
  9. Adding to the list.... Most of us think of the enjoyment of keeping chickens when we start out on this path; chickens can be very endearing creatures. However, they can also be downright cruel to each other and display in spades unadulterated selfishness and regular doses of bullying. Both of these can be managed and/or mitigated, but accept that chicken keeping is not all good times and remember it when the responsibility you took on is wearing a bit heavy. We all like the idea of free eggs on tap. We all of us deem "free" to be exclusive of the cost of the henhouse, the feeder, the drinker, the food, the run, the medications, the bedding and the myriad other things associated with chicken keeping. Except when going into egg production on a commercial scale, we'll never most of us break even. But we'll think we have.
  10. I'm certainly no expert, so if anyone contradicts me then take their advice in preference. I've never bred any chickens for the table myself, but have helped out friends with farms and smallholdings in my time. My limited experience has led me to the conclusion that the different breeds and crosses influence the size of the eventual bird and how quickly it might be ready. However, I am also convinced that what really influences the flavour is not the breed but the environment. Happy unstressed birds consistently taste better. Birds on a good diet tend to have a fuller flavour than those having to scrape their existence. Birds that exercise plenty and use their muscles tend to have a slightly richer - perhaps even gamier - flavour. And, of course, birds that have come to the end of their egg-laying days are already well past the point of being roasted (one reason why my girls don't end up in a pot, but are allowed to "retire" in recognition of having looked after us in their earlier days). Does that help at all? Given you already breed birds, I'm guessing I'm saying things you already have an opinion on.
  11. It is indeed, and I've never known you to do otherwise. Strange how I'm happy for many things to be taken for granted until someone actually does. Thanks for not doing so.
  12. At the risk of stating the obvious, they’re in the public domain already. Help yourself.
  13. Anyone who can buy a Cube accidentally is obviously going to fit in well on this forum. Being realistic, though, if you get on well with the three chickens, more are likely to follow. With a Cube, you're already set. It's not overkill; it's forward planning.
  14. I thought it might be both a useful and fun exercise to list some of the hints and wrinkles we've all picked up about chicken keeping. It's not intended as a definitive educational list, but more a dip into the Eureka moments of experience. For me: Mistrust any advertising literature using pictures showing expanses of green grass. Wherever you put your chickens, it'll stay like that for a week at most. Forget trying to make the hens' home perfect; they'll ignore most of your efforts. If they've got plenty of food and water, somewhere to sleep and lay eggs, a reasonable amount of room to grub around and are safe from predators, everything else is just about satisfying you, not your chickens. Take a look at your girls. They are the best barometer of whether or not you're doing things right, and it's easy to spot a happy chicken. You wouldn't beat yourself up for being a bad parent just because your child caught a cold, so no need to be hard on yourself if you find out one of your hens needs worming; if they're happy, you're doing fine and any problems are just incidental stuff to deal with. Before you buy anything for your girls, mentally picture added rain and/or snow. If your hen house is open to the elements, sooner or later you'll need to clean it out whilst it's raining. If you need to kneel down to reach inside a run, sooner or later you'll need to do that in the wet grass or mud. If your food container doesn't have a lid, it will sooner or later fill up with water. If your enclosure doesn't have any kind of roof, sooner or later your hens will retreat into the hen house rather than get wet. Having made that mental picture, readjust your plans to make life easier for yourself and your hens; a bit of strategically placed tarpaulin or corrugated roof can make all the difference. Forget trying to keep vermin out of your hens' enclosure. Instead, be as inventive as you like in avoiding spillage or access to the hens' food. When it comes to pests, prevention is far better than cure. Foxes. No anti-fox protection is overkill. All the stories about how cunning a fox can be are true. Any of your neighbours who've had any experience with chickens will immediately become experts. Any of your neighbours thinking about getting chickens will immediately assume you're an expert. No matter how busy your day, you will find you waste some of it just standing watching your hens. If you didn't like omelettes before, you soon will. Anyone else for any little nuggets?
  15. Firstly, I'd say that if they're not interested in bedding in the nesting box then let them have their own way. However..... Straw is probably not the best bedding to use. It can get damp underneath and retain that moisture, leading in extreme cases to mould and parasites. If you want to put bedding in the nesting box then either things like chopped hemp (aubiose, hemcore etc.) or simple shredded paper (a great way of disposing of your old shredded bills/bank statements) will be better.

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