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About JS1

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    Frequent Layer
  1. Thanks very much for the kind replies. Len (the previously poorly ex-caged girl) was first out of the Cube this morning, but I doubt we'll be getting any more eggs from her even if she gets over this. We now have five girls and I've given them all strict orders to stay alive all day. I was anticipating a bit of a clear-out this year on account of their ages, but was just a bit alarmed at losing two in the one week. Will keep an eye on the situation and consider taking Len to vet tomorrow. Thanks again.
  2. This is probably a coincidence and it's just that all my girls are getting to be on the old side, but I'm just checking in case there's anything else I could be doing for them. My small flock is a mix of pure breeds, aged between five and six years, and three ex-caged birds, who'll be around four (had them nearly three years). A couple of weeks ago, one of the ex-caged girls was poorly and I thought she was on her way out. I instituted standard therapy for old girls (tuna, yoghurt, avipro) and watched to make sure she wasn't being picked on etc. Anyway, she seemed to pick up and although she's still not on top form, she's running round with the others and is eating and drinking quite happily. So far so good, but to my surprise, my six-year-old Araucana started displaying the same symptoms, hunched up, miserable, feeling thin and 'papery', although she'd been laying a couple of days before. Within a day she had died. Nothing obvious, no stuck egg, mites, crop problems or anything. But hey, she was six, so I thought it was just her time. Then today another of the ex-caged birds honestly looks like she's on her way out - hunched up, even refusing the special diet etc, closed eyes etc. I know she's had an exceptionally long life for an ex-caged girl, but am concerned in case there is some infection going round. Before I contact the vet, I wondered if anyone had any ideas. I'm obviously concerned for the remaining girls (two other ex-caged girls, including the poorly one, and three pure-breeds). For info, they are in a cube with plenty of space (on grass) for free-ranging within an electric fence. They were wormed with Flubenvet about a month ago (I do it routinely) and there's no sign of red mite or other nasties. Any thoughts? Thanks if anyone has read this far! Updated to add that Con has just died.
  3. In my very limited experience it sounds as if she's a bit broody but you've managed to snap her out of it for now by removing and distracting her. It's very similar behaviour to Roadrunner our araucana, who has made a particular enemy of my husband for turfing her out of the box Or could she be going through a mini-moult? How old is she? Personally I'd keep and eye on her and watch in particular to make sure she isn't getting her bottom pecked by the others, and make sure she isn't hanging around in the nesting box.
  4. Agree with Shabby Chic that chickens are brighter than you think - mine recognise that my husband is a soft touch who gives them too many treats, and know that I'm much harder hearted, and they react accordingly when either of us appears. Personally I'd ride the noise out - the nights are getting longer (sorry, but they are!) so they'll soon be going to bed earlier and getting up later and, in my (limited!) experience, they tend to quieten down a bit as they get older.
  5. Another happy to eat cracked eggs here - I just pop them in the fridge and move them up the priority list
  6. We've bitten the bullet and ordered the components for a walk-in run with half-inch weld mesh. We've also been round the electric fence pegging down every slightly raised bit and are only letting them out of the cube run if we're close by. Fortunately with this hot weather they're happy to huddle under the cube whether the run is open or closed. Would still appreciate any insights from anyone with stoat experience (now that's a sentence I never thought I'd write!)
  7. We moved house recently and this morning I saw a stoat in the garden. Obviously it sent me into a tail-spin and I got the chickens into their (Cube) run. Normally they free-range within an electric fence but I don't think this will be enough to protect them. We do have the space for a large walk-in run so that is an option (although not my preferred one - I like them to free-range). My questions are: Is the mesh in the Cube run small enough to keep the blighter out? Am I panicking unnecessarily? (I am a bit of a catastrophiser) What have other people done in similar situations?? We are in a very rural area.
  8. Any thoughts on keeping them in the cardboard boxes overnight? We're about to move and it turns out that the moving company is coming one day to pack everything up, then delivering the next day. This includes the Cube (and Eglu). I have 10 hens (largest is a Welsumer) and was planning to transport them in five well-ventilated cardboard boxes (we're moving about an hour's drive away) As it happens, there's an old wooden hen house at our new house, so my first thought was move them in the afternoon to the new house, put up the electric fence and have them sleep in the existing house for the first night, but I'm now a bit worried at the thought of putting them in a strange house the first night in a new place, and, despite the electric fence, I'm not 100 per cent sure of how secure it is (although the people we're buying from had no problems). I just have a feeling I'd be outside watching over them all night! I think I'm sort of coming round to the idea of sleeping them in the cardboard boxes in the new (human) house? Any thoughts? (Then again, I could always buy a new Cube to fill with more hens later, but that might be a bit extravagant for one night!)
  9. Hope things are feeling better today.
  10. Hope she's feeling better this morning?
  11. Hens Made Easy in Fife tend to have Welsumers.
  12. We had that problem until we erected 'toad fencing' (basically garden edging) round the outside of the fence. It's a bit of a pain and makes the gas strimming etc take longer, but I hated finding the froggy/toad casualties. As an aside, one of our bits of fencing disintegrated and I asked my dad if he had anything that would do for toad fencing. He misunderstood and thought it was there to protect the chickens from toads! I pointed out that the shoe was very much on the other foot.
  13. One of my first girls started laying eggs with very light yolks, and it turned out she had worms - Flubenvet sorted her out and her eggs became golden and delicious again. Not sure if it was coincidence but might be worth worming them just in case unless they've been done in the last few weeks.
  14. Sympathies. I was flown at by a furious araucana today after I'd manhandled her out of the nesting box for the second time and wheeched her about a bit to get some air around her under-carriage. She's now locked out.
  15. Could it be a partial moult? Just going to try another word starting with 'a' now! (yup, that's the one!)

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