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the_martian

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Freshly Laid Egg

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  1. Many thanks for the replies. Sadly its not a problem any more - Peckham died during the night. I shall clean out the roost today and we'll look at restarting in the autumn. The garden is going to feel very empty without 4 inquisitive hens rummaging around and coming to the back door for their pre-bedtime snack.
  2. We hadn't planned to get more hens just yet, but then we didn't expect to be down to one hen. She must be getting weak without food or water, so I'd be concerned that new hens would be too boisterous for her. Also, its possible that she may not survive until we got new hens. It all feels a a bit bleak.
  3. We started our chicken family about 3 years ago with 4 goldlines. One by one they have shuffled off this mortal coil and, early Tuesday morning the third one died. Since then, the sole survivor (Peckham) has not left the roost box. She won't come out to feed or drink - thats 4 days now. We've tried leaving water in the roost box and tempting her with raisins (a favourite), but she's just not interested. I don't want to stress her out by taking out of the roost box, but it seems like she's just waiting to die. Is there anything I can do?
  4. Thanks claret. I hadn't heard of a lash before, but the pictures and description are sort of similar to what I found. If this is a lash, does it mean that the hen cant lay any more eggs?
  5. The surviving poorly hen perked up after giving her some nutri-drops a couple of weeks ago (although whatever the technique is for getting a hen to open her mouth, I definitely haven't got it). But yesterday, when I put them back in the cube, I noticed an object about the size of a double-yolk egg on the ground. This object was pale-coloured and mostly hard - can this be a lump of calcium that has been inside the hen for a while? There was a small piece of something that might be internal tissue next to it and she has a very sore looking bottom, so I'm pretty sure it came from her. I half expected her to die in the night, but she's up and pecking this morning. Any thoughts what that hard object might be - I'm just totally puzzled.
  6. Thanks for all the replies. The girls have been wormed recently and they have been getting ACV, although I haven't used much recently, so I'll restart that. The Nutri-drops look good and I'll get some Bokashi bran as well. They'll be upset to miss out on treats, but I'll tell them I'm being cruel to be kind.
  7. Didnt put this under existing 'poorly hen' threads as I didnt want to gatecrash, and it might be a different problem. We've had 4 goldlines for 18 months, no major problems. Two / three weeks ago, one starting looking poorly, hunched up, not each much, tail feathers down. Checked her crop - didnt feel full, and felt round tummy and vent - couldnt feel any thing hard, so I assumed she wasnt eggbound - gave her warm bath just in case, also cleaned up her bottom which was a bit mucky. Didnt think worms a problem, but wormed them anyway with flubenvet. Did notice that some poo looked 'eggy', so I assumed it was her. She died four days ago and now looks as if same symptoms are starting in another hen. I cant separate them as I've no other coops or runs. I could go to vet, but we've asked two other local chicken keepers and they've never used one, so no recommendations on local vets. Any suggestions as to problem? They are kept in a cube, but they can wander round an area of about 20 square metres that I've fenced off. The cube is cleaned out once a week and disinfected and I put diatomaceous earth in the bedding. Any suggestions welcome - I'm just hoping that they aren't passing an infection to each other.
  8. Thanks for the idea of a dustbath - I'll set one up in the cube and see what happens. I did try hanging brocolli up a while ago but they were just confused by it. Perhaps they were too young then and couldnt figure it - I''ll try again now they're older and wiser ( wiser )
  9. Thanks for the replies. I like the idea of ping pong balls in water and I've seen some pictures of people who hang weeds for the chooks to peck at, so I think I'll do that as well (rather than just putting them on the floor). The comment about stalosanf looks good, so I'll have a go at that. I did used to add ground up egg shells to their food, but hadnt done recently as I've been putting grit in a pot for them. I dont know if they use it - they stand in the pot and scatter the stuff about . I was surprised at how big the grit is - about the size of small peas. I think I'll start adding ground up shells again as well as the grit.
  10. We've had 4 goldlines since september last year and so far they have been simple to look after and rewarding to keep, but I think now we've got our first two problems. I 've been reading the FAQs and have got a plan of action, but I'd like to know if I'm on the right lines. The 4 girls are in an eglu cube most of the time, but occasionally I set up a wire extension which doubles the amount of room they've got and let them out in that for the day. The eglu is in the same position all the time (we used to move it, but found that the grass was disappearing rapidly) and is cleaned out and disinfected once week. I occasionally dig out the ground underneath the eglu. The girls are fed layers pellets but get treats of leftover veg, corn, raisins etc and I give them weeds from the garden or bark chippings to play with. Our problems: 1) Two of the birds are getting pecked - nothing too serious at the moment, but I'd like to nip it in the bud. 2) One bird has laid soft, broken eggs for the last 4 days running. We've had a few softies before, but not this many on the trot. I also think we may have the start of an egg-eating problem as a result of the softies. I suspect that the hen are bored and I've read that by feeding pellets they can get their food so quickly that they then get bored. The book suggested feeding layers mash instead as that takes longer for them to get full. So I thought I'd put a smaller amount of pellets in and put mash in instead (I've got 2 feeders, so I can keep the food separate). Does that sound reasonable? I have got some anti-peck spray and will be applying that as well. I've also been reading that hens that free range or are kept on litter are more susceptible to worms and I'm wondering if thats the problem with our softie layer. I haven't wormed the hens before (due to ignorance on my part) so I plan to get some flubenvet. I'm also thinking that I should move the cube to a new patch of ground and put up with losing the grass. Its just that the current location is really good as it gives them shelter on two sides. I think I know which hen is having the problem as she didnt lay this morning and has a mucky bottom (none of the others do). Sorry that was such a long post. Thankyou if you've read this far and any comments will be welcome.
  11. Thanks for the responses. The bids are all the same age and breed (Bevan Goldlines aka Gingernut Ranger) from the same breeder and all purchased at the same time. I can't separate the little one out due to lack of space, but I will put a separate feeder in as I've got a spare grub feeder anyway. She's not missing any feathers, so I don't think the others are being beastly to her, she's just not very good at pushing through the crowd to get food. Oh well, 3 good layers out of 4 is a pretty good percentage so I shan't wory unduly and will just keep an eye on her. Martin
  12. A question for more experienced hen-keepers than me (which is just about everybody). We've had our 4 girls for about 3 months now, living in a cube. 3 are laying fine, but the fourth hasn't yet laid at all, and doesn't look like doing so. Shes looks a little lighter (in weight) than the others. I don't think she's being pecked or bullied, but when I watch them eating, she's the one who gets elbowed out of the way. Even if I offer treats by hand, she's the one most reticent about taking food while the others happily grab whatever I've got. Can I (or do I need to) do anything about this, or should I just accept that she'll always be the baby of the gang? thanks Martin
  13. Yippee - we have eggs . 5 weeks after the chooks arrived, which means they are about 21 weeks old now. We've had one egg each of the last two days, but I dont know which girl has started laying. How can I tell? I was trying to see which one was looking smug, but they are all being very coy.
  14. We're in a similar position - have had 4 Bevan Goldlines (aka Gingernut Rangers) for 3 weeks, so they should be about 20 weeks by now. I'm glad to know its not just us - I thought we were doing something wrong. I guess as we're new to this we thought point-of-lay meant that eggs were imminent. Oh well. I showed the girls my empty egg-cup the other day so they knew I was waiting eggspectantly , but it hasn't helped and the thought of waiting 40 weeks - my wife will have shown them the casserole by then (joke - I think)
  15. Many thanks for the positive responses. We've taken the plunge and brought four (as yet unnamed) Goldlines home today. Martin

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