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About Kirstie

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    Chicken Eggspert

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  1. Thank you for all your lovely messages. I know it's prob a run of bad luck as they are dying really randomly but it does worry me when I've had so many die recently. I've just ordered some more ACV and some ground sanitiser and I'm worming them all (again!) so I'm covering what I can. And I still want a walk in run! We are lucky as we have a field that I move them around so they don't get too muddy but I'd love them to have a permanent run that's pretty dry so they can do more then huddle together on miserable days! But still be able to free range on dry days. One day - sigh! Some days I feel it's easier looking after children then chickens!
  2. I seem to have had such bad luck my my girls in the last year. I've had 3 chickens on separate occasions that I've found dead - nothing I can see that has happened so had assumed they had heart issue, I've had two look like they had starved themselves (by that I mean when I noticed they were ill(again these were on separate occasions) they were hunched up and not moving around with the other girls and when I picked them up their crops were empty and there was no weight on their breasts- and I couldn't get them eating anything - no porridge, tasty treats etc! I had assumed these two were old being hybrids but they were only 4 or 5 which isn't old. They had got so weak and wobbly we had them put down. I bought some new girls in in September and in October one of my new ones was sitting hunched and not doing anything - empty crop looking very sorry for herself. I took her to the vets (I have done so with the others in the past as well) the first vet said she will prob die and sent me away with nothing but a bill for his time! This was on a Friday! I then fretted all weekend and went in on Monday insisting on antibiotics and treatment for coccidiosis just in case! She miraculously got better after treatment. Yesterday one of my two year olds I noticed was all hunched and keeping herself to herself (please don't think I don't notice them looking ill for a long time because I check them at least twice a day and am quite observant) her crop was full. I gave her some nutridrops to boost her, but this morning she didn't get out of bed. I moved her out of the house but she was very ill, eyes closed, not eating or drinking, when I put some porridge in her mouth she didn't even swallow it or shake her head! I brought her inside and put her on the dogs bed next to the Rayburn where she slept but this evening she past away. I'm so worried I've got something awful going around my flock! Any ideas? I wormed them in September and will worm them again starting tomorrow. They are in a field so it doesn't have grass the length of a lawn but it's not super long - I am concerned it could have been a blockage due to grass (her crop was still full today - not hard more squidgy - but seeing as she didn't get out of bed) I have used cider vinegar in their water and prob will start again. I also use poultry spice I'm their food. Anybody have any clues? Or any other tonic things that may help? I'm planning a walk in run with a concrete base for them now as worried about ground contamination - but with access to free ranging too. Hmmmm my chickens make me feel like an over paranoid mum! Kirstie
  3. Hi daxigirl I have a brinsea mini auto if you need any other advice I can dig out the instructions. I have only used it once as my little bantam decided to go broody and she hatched out my last lot. Are you wanting to use the 12 hole disk as you want to get more eggs in? I used the 7 hole one for mine (admittedly my eggs aren't teeny tiny but they are laid by bantams) and theres an adjustment you can make to how much the machine rolls them depending on their size. I can't remember off the top of my head but if you need more info I can have a look at the instructions and find out. Hope it works out for you, my hatch with the brinsea mini Went well, I had 7 eggs in, 1 wasn't fertile and the rest hatched (4 girls and 2 boys) Although i did struggle to get the humidy up to start with and had to put some wet tissue in to help (but that may have been me faffing about as it was my first hatch) plus I did the naughty thing of helping a chick out - the humidity issue had it stuck! Anyway good luck Kirstie
  4. I couldn't get them to work either. But like Leanne I would wait until at least day 7. I waited until day 10 and I can honestly say with both my hatches I didn't see the veins or anything clearly moving but what I did see was a black mass and I could tell the eggs with nothing in them. I was lucky as every egg that had a black mass hatched! So my assumption was non clear egg equals a chick! But obviously looking at day 10 the chicks were a lot larger and possibly easier to tell. Do you have any ideas on what you saw?
  5. Duh, I think I read your post wrong. I'm guessing you are going to use the cardboard for a base?! I've not used a brooding ring, but have seen them used on turkeys on an organic commercial farm - and they seemed to be a good idea. There are some really experienced people on here who can advise on that (and anything else!) I've found this forum really useful. I've only hatched twice (first time in an incy and the 2nd time with a broody) and I found it quite stressful the first time but any help I needed I found it here and now my only stress is thinking about which breed of chicken to try and hatch next - as it's very very addictive! Anyway enough rambling
  6. A box would be a bit dark i think.I guess it depends on how you heat them, if you use a lamp with light then it may be ok - others on here will be better to advise on that. I bought an indoor rabbit cage after my first mode of housing failed to keep them in (a dog crate with cardboard round the sides to stop them coming out - little did I know that within 2 weeks they would be flying up and sitting on the sides of the cage and getting out!) the wires on the indoor rabbit cage are close enough they can't get out - its easy assess in to get them - mine had an electric hen for heat and they sat under and on it. I used little water feeders for chicks but then spent all my time removing sawdust from the food and water - they did also use hamster water bottles (I got them used to it as no mucky water, plus my omlet cube has a water drinker with the nipple bits for getting water from) and it was a large enough cage that they were able to stay in until they were big enough to go outside all the time. I also bought that table protector material - rubbery with ridges - and used that for the bottom of the cage - its brilliant as non slip but a bit of a pain to clean! Really good luck x I love Pekin bantams xx
  7. Hi Will, I don't see any problem using kitchen roll with the eggs. I have the brinsea mini, but the one that turns them automatically (I was worried I would forget to turn them - as if my excitement would have let me forget! )but from day 18 once it's stopped turning the eggs I put them on top of kitchen towels (which I have trimmed to fit its circle - sad I know!). I use it to help with the mess of hatching! Ha ha but also as it keeps the eggs relatively still without stopping the twitching that happens when they hatch, plus it gives the chicks something less slippy to stand on (I didn't want to risk any leg damage) as the brinsea floor is very smooth! Good luck with your hatch, when are they due? It's sooooooo exciting hatching and very addictive! Kirstie
  8. Ok so last night I thought right belle can join the other girls for the night - so when they all went to bed I put belle in with them - with a little ruffling about I left them to it! The chicks stood outside cheeping and finally went to bed. I had a touch of the guilts at 11.30pm and went out and moved her back in the morning I noticed how belle was bossing the boys out of the way so she could eat first. So she went out with the girls to free range and has put herself to bed with them (hiding in a corner!) (she didn't have a choice as I left her out until dark) so I've left her there. I think belle was happy with the boys as she could boss them and she is the tiniest hen and was from what I can remember chased a bit before from the other girls - don't blame her for wanting to stay where your not picked on but she needs to join them so that's where she is. Hope by being in with them at night makes them feel she is more one of them. Can't believe how much of a muppet I've been over trying to put her back. It's just she's my favourite lady xx and I don't want her hurt x
  9. That's what I had been doing - shut her out with them during the day let them squabble and sort it out but it's when I went to shut her in with them that she flew around the run, climbing the walls and was really not happy! I've not had that chicken behaviour before! It was pure desperation!
  10. Ahhh thank you I was feeling the pressure of putting here back in with the other girls now she is laying again. Will I be able to tell when she is ready to leave them? The chicks settle down once she's back in with them (they are big babies! ). Should I keep letting her out with the big girls every now and again anyway - the big girls can wander around the chick run so can get close but not the same as being in with them. I thought this would be easy putting her back in - I certainly didn't see these issues popping up!
  11. My chicks are now 9weeks old, and mum has been laying for about two weeks but happy to be with her chicks still (at night she still has one under each wing - not sure how as they are huge ) I've been trying to integrate her back into the flock but since she's been off hatching these chicks there's been a few changes in the flock (2 chickens gone) and for some reason two of my girls (and I only have 4) are picking on belle when I try and put her back in. I'm feeling really mean as I have taken belle out of her chick run and put her in her large fenced off area with the other girls,but she is spending all her time pacing around the run to the chick house and is just not settling. Should I leave her with her chicks (they are all boys - not that that makes a difference).? What should I do? Be mean and force the issue or just wait until she .... I don't know what?
  12. 10 weeks ago one of my girls went broody (a pekin) a week later I put her in a broody house and let her sit on fertile eggs. The same week one of my other pekins went broody. Now I have 6 week old chicks and a mum who wants to be back with the girls (she's laying again but one of the other girls is not allowing this just yet!) - and the Pekin who went broody 2nd is still BROODY! 9 weeks on! When will she snap out of it! Thinking of letting her sit on some eggs just to let her get over this - but after reading your comments I'm thinking she's just going to have to snap out of it - if that's possible!
  13. Hi, I'm no expert but thought no one has answered you so I'd give my opinion. As your chicks hatched in an incy rather then under mum your chicks can't really go outside yet - prob not until 5-6 weeks as they still need the heat. I hatched some last year in an incy and I moved mine from a box to a large indoor rabbit cage (cost me about £40 I think but you can get them for less) - they are messy as they poo everywhere and as their feathers change their fluffy feathers come out. But you only have a few more weeks of mess before they can go out. When mine went out for about a week I think, I brought them back in every night - that then got tedious and they were really well feathered by then and no longer needing heat plus it was warm out so I left them out all the time - shutting their house up at night (obviously). I'm not sure about any entertainment for them, I didn't give mine any at 3 weeks as I seemed to be there a lot (wasting my time ) interacting with them, plus they are getting quite a bit by interacting with each other and scratching around their box. This year I hatched with a broody, and I whilst you don't get the interaction you get with hatching in an incy, it's sooo much easier! But I haven't bonded as well with mine this year as I did last year with the incy lot (prob a good job as they are all boys destined for the table!) Good luck with yours - a few more weeks and you'll not have all the mess (inside )
  14. Hi, I have hatched eggs in the go (I'm not sure how different that is to the classic) but I cut a thin piece of ply wood the shape of the floor space inside the house, with a section cut out for the nest. I then put this on top of the bars (in the go if I take the bars our the nest area goes too). I filled the nest area with straw (which was fine for the chicks as by the time they hatched Belle had squished it down). I also attached a bit of wood to the side of the nest area (attached onto the plywood to stop any eggs falling out of the nest. And I made one more thing - I made a little ramp for them to get in and out of the house as its quite a big step! I covered all my DIY wood bits with table protector which is non slip (but not amazingly easy to keep clean once they start pooing for England I didn't worry about the bars on the run but I had quite big chicks and also I did have plastic covers on the run which would have helped with the wind but not stopping them getting out (they were pretty large I couldn't see how they would have got through them!) Good luck x
  15. Thank you all for your replies. I'm feeling more confident about it now! Mark and Charlene - Sorry I couldn't remember who it was who had mentioned the testosterone taint. Ive not raised meat for the table before so have no clues on anything but I agree with you that if an animal is stressed before it is culled it will taint the meat in some way - i also think its possibly a taste and texture that most people nowadays are used to with animals being culled in such large quantities and with considerable distances to travel to abboitoires - I imagine supermarket chickens will be stressed from being packeged up for the long joirney to the abbotoire and then waiting for their turn - not what they would have been exposed to before that point. So I will be trying to keep it as calm as possible - for the boys sake xx I'm not looking forward to 3 hours of plucking though!

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