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Everything posted by docsquid

  1. I'm still alive! But no chickens. My health has been up and down over the past few years, and last year I spent a lot of time in hospital. It was too much for my DH to take care of the business, visit me in hospital, take care of two ageing cats (one now deceased) and all the chickens. Fortunately a friend has had all our chickens and hen houses and we still get eggs from our old girls from time to time.
  2. We didn't do presents this year - we bought a new SatNav instead between the two of us. Sadly it was dreadful and we have had to return it. So we actually got no presents, but to be honest, that didn't matter. We got to spend the time together, and that was actually the best thing - just a few days off together.
  3. They were POL. I agree, bantams would be quite intimidating to immature hens. At least my Pekin would!
  4. Yes, I've done this more than once, both ways round (bantams to chickens, chickens to mixed flock including bantams). When introducing the bantams, I kept them completely separate for a little while, with a separate house and run in the walk-in-run to get them used to each other. They eventually got used to each other and when the walls came down, there was very little aggro. With the new hens, I put them in with a mixed group of bantams and hens at night, so they all woke up together. There was a little bit of mild argy-bargy as they sorted out the pecking order over the course of the next few days, but nothing serious and no bad pecking. I wouldn't recommend this, but I didn't have separate accommodation available at the time, and actually this worked pretty well, but was probably a result of the hens I chose being relatively submissive. The bantams might be small, but they are feisty and one of my silkies wants to be top chicken, despite being half the size of the big girls. I would recommend putting down extra pots of food, though - I use cage cups and provide about one cup per hen/bantam. This means that the new girls don't get intimidated away from the food as one hen can't police all the pots at the same time. I also don't let the new girls FR for a week or so, which means they are in the WIR all day, and that becomes their space, and they feel comfortable with it, and therefore are willing to stand their ground more. If you separate them in this way, the outdoor hens will need to have food and water put down for them while they can't get into the WIR. I've got three large girls and five bantams in a happy flock together, ranging from a dinky little Pekin to a large legbar/marans cross.
  5. RIP my lovely Blodwyn, my white flower. You were a wonderful chicken. We will miss your soprano warble as you recognised the Land Rover pulling up on the drive. We will miss you pogo-ing like mad when you spied the mealworm pot. We will miss you dancing like a slightly overweight ballerina, vaulting lightly over the obstacle course in the chicken run to be first to the food. We will miss you being such a great top chook - sleeping by the door, strutting your stuff in the garden, protecting your flock, cutting down on the argy-bargy between the other chooks. We will miss your beautiful feathers - the wonderful colours and iridescence that makes up the black in Blackrock. We will miss your sturdy presence at the back door. We will miss you a lot, and so will your sisters. Fly high, little one, and sleep well now. Your job was very well done. Blodwyn was my top chook, one of my original girls. She was PTS today, having suffered an obstruction in her gizzard which the vet could not clear
  6. I was shocked when I found out this morning. Justine and I didn't always agree, but I always found her posts amusing, challenging and interesting. The world needs people like Justine, and is poorer without her. My thoughts with Ian and her family. RIP Justine.
  7. A lot of companies have a contract for shipping with their courier company that has a weight limit on it. A couple of bales of bedding, or large sacks of layers pellets and the company will go over their weight limit. Unfortunately, this is the cost of shipping nowadays - I know from experience. Some companies can subsidise the shipping but often their margins are so tight that if they subsidised it, they would be losing money on the order. I suspect that the company involved are not making any profit, and probably a loss, on shipping goods that heavy. Phoning them up to see if they can do something about the shipping might be an idea. They may, for example, be able to ship cheaper if you split your order into smaller loads that came under the weight limit for their courier, thereby avoiding the penal rate they charge for heavier goods. Shipping costs have rocketed recently thanks to huge rises in fuel prices. It is only going to get worse.
  8. Glad your friend is worried about her hair. Always a good sign. I really hope everything goes well for her. Don't give up red wine! Definitely an important part of my treatment What has kept me going is exercise and sport. Even now, with lung function about 46% normal, I hammer my lungs every day by doing spinning or walking around our wildlife conservation site and doing physical work there, like chopping logs, stacking brash piles etc. In the past did a lot more, including a half marathon, 100k bicycle ride and part time fitness instructing (not any more). Mucking out the chickens is also good work! I also don't miss any of my treatment. Well, maybe have a day off once a year...but literally do everything, even though it takes hours every day. It was harder before I took early retirement as work took a lot of time out of the day and then I had to do all the exercise and treatments.
  9. Absolutely echo the need to carry a donor card, and make sure your next of kin knows you do, otherwise it may not be found until it is too late. I also have cystic fibrosis, almost 54 years of age. Thankfully I don't need a transplant (too old to be considered for one anyway), but so many people do. I carry a donor card as although my lungs are no good, my kidneys and other organs are likely to be of use, should the worst happen to me, and there are people with other problems who also need transplants. So please, carry a donor card, and make sure people know that you do! Good luck to your friend, and hope she recovers quickly and there are no problems with rejection.
  10. They are really beautiful, and those names are perfect. Pekins are such lovely little banties - full of energy and attitude! Congratulations!
  11. I had a CLB who crowed, laid eggs and had no spurs. Also have two little brown hens getting to the end of their laying days, each of whom has one spur, normal wattles and comb, and so far, no tendency to crow. I am told spurs don't necessarily mean they are going to crow, and the CLB stopped crowing when rehomed. I think it is pretty hard to predict, really...
  12. The Guardian reports the protestor was privately educated and with an MSc from the London School of Economics - but doesn't mention Eton. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/apr/07/class-warrior-boat-race
  13. Yes, I have one like that - Gwennie. Laid good eggs for the first season, then softies for a while and then stopped altogether. The others all lay strong-shelled eggs. Gwennie hasn't laid for 18 months now. I think some are more susceptible to softies than others. I have tried all sorts of supplements, but now give the hens Garvo and tonic in their water, and that is it. All are fine except Gwennie, so I think she is just one of those hens. I love her to bits anyway.
  14. I used Aubiose for a while, but have gone back to Bliss, which is cheaper and with which I have never had any problems. It is a little bit co"Ooops, word censored!"r than Aubiose and Hemcore, but made from rape straw, and comes in two types - eucalyptus for winter (which gets a bit pongy when wet) and citronella for summer.
  15. We don't have a ban here yet, but are very short of water nonetheless. I don't use a hosepipe for the chickens or the garden, thankfully. At our woodland wildlife site we collect water in a pallet tank which collects a cubic metre (1 tonne). This we then use for watering the greenhouse and garden beds we have there. The pallet tank didn't cost that much and stores a huge amount of water - lasted throughout the last dry summer. But you have to cover it with black plastic or it fills up with algae. You can get them off EBay or from farm auctions, which is where we got ours.
  16. Mostin, I'm catching up a bit too, and it is lovely to see you back on here. Hugs
  17. If the consultant over-rode your GP without seeing you and examining you, then that is poor practice. Your GP had seen you, listened to you and examined you and decided there were grounds for an urgent scan and done everything she could to make that happen. The radiographer and consultant over-rode your GP without discussing it with you, or examining you, or finding out why the urgent scan had been arranged. In the past, I have been in the position of seeing people who I thought might have been inappropriately referred to hospital but I always phoned the GP to discuss why the GP sent the patient at the very least. The GP knows things you don't know as a hospital doctor. Often, things weren't serious, but the GP always had a legitimate reason for asking for a test, or a specialist opinion. It sounds as if your GP was just ignored. I would complain. I doubt their actions influenced the outcome, but their practice was unprofessional.
  18. Ageing rocker here, so I love Immigrant Song and Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. Also love Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush - probably because it was around when I got my first ever transistor radio. Also love Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. More recently, My Immortal by Evansecence has got to be one of the favourites, and Run by Snow Patrol.
  19. The shed houses spare feeders/drinkers, cage cups (for broody cage) and cleanin supplies, as well as the Bliss/Hemcore/Aubiose for bedding. The porch, which is enclosed, has the food, as it gets damp in the shed, and the shed has mice visiting. Chicken tonic is on the windowsill, ready to add to drink, and I have a staging post for food and mealies by the back door, ready to be used as bribes when required. So it is all spread out a bit really...
  20. Whatever you get, be prepared for them to behave in a manner contrary to what you would expect. Silkies - they are quiet and non-diggy right? And they go broody all the time. Nope! My silkies, particularly Sioned, are noisy and a formidable digging team. So far, none of my silkies have ever gone broody (of course they will all go broody now...) Pekins - sweet, quiet? Dilys is feisty and thinks she is top chicken even though she is the smallest of the lot. She will even jump right up to try and peck one of my big girls on the neck, because she can't quite reach... She isn't diggy though - that is a plus. And watching a Pekin flap-running down the garden on her little short legs is very comical. Wyandottes - sturdy, sweet, good egg-layers? Deryn turns into a hissing monster and will attack you when she's broody, which as far as I can tell is all summer. Three eggs - broody - recover - repeat....until winter. She is a very beautiful girl, but doesn't behave as expected! My solution - get any bantam, and just be prepared to put up with her foibles. They all have their own personalities and will confound you repeatedly by not behaving acording to the book
  21. They are absolutely beautiful girls - what a lovely picture too!
  22. Beautiful! White silkies! I only have silkie bantams (one silver frizzle silkie, and two blue splash silkies) but absolutely love them. I can't wait to see your photos
  23. Yes, she's a bit young. When you do choose to mix them, let the new ones get control of the space first.
  24. I have to go into hospital again in February for rest and treatment due to exhaustion (from being busy, and from problems with MIL having dementia) and the fact I can't get rest at home. I have an iPad, but need a laptop to do some work while I am in there - nothing strenuous, just fun stuff like editing photos with Lightroom, and creating documents with Word and Publisher. I'll use the iPad for internet and e-mail as I have a 3G contract, and there is no WiFi in the hospital. Looking at various options, I'd love a MacBook Air, but don't have the Mac versions of the photo editing software (and it's too expensive to buy again). So want a SMALL laptop (not 15 or 17 inch screen) that is light and easy to carry. The Ultrabooks are a bit to early on in their development, really, and most have rather small hard drives, so looking at the Lenovo ThinkPad X121e. I've only used Dell and Acer (for Desktops and Laptops) before, apart from one Sony which was a big mistake, and wondered if anybody has had an Lenovo ThinkPad and what you think of it. I'm not too worried about cost, as I can use it also for talks to wildlife groups, but wouldn't want to spend over £700 - the ThinkPad comes in about £360, which is excellent. Many thanks!
  25. Good to hear from you, and glad things are going well.

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