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Jac and Rory

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Chicken Eggspert

Chicken Eggspert (2/19)



  1. It's so sad to see them go. I too am down to one lone hen this week. Mabel, who will be 6 next month, is alone after Anna of the same age was PTS on Monday. Mabel is still laying and going about life as normal looking like a spring chicken. To my human eye she looks all alone but there's no change in her behaviour. Does that mean she may be one of the few who are OK alone or is it too early to judge after 5 days?
  2. Thanks everyone. I'm off to look at poultry saddles... Poor Fran is a very nervous chicken so I think it will take some doing to fit it on her !
  3. Fran has lost some feathers on her back at the base of her tail. The area is about the size of a 50p. Similar thing happened last year in late summer shortly before she started moulting. She doesn't appear to have lice and there's no broken skin. Could it be: a feather pecking by top hen Marbles (not withnessed this); or b a result of Marbles "riding" on Fran's back like a cockrel (seen this); or c a misguided way for the flock to help me tell Fran apart fom Anna? I've assumed it's "a" but don't want to continue stinking out the neighbourhood with anti pecking spray if it's not going to achieve anything! Could it be "b"?
  4. Ooh getting a bit worried now. Got four black rocks, all 3 years old and laying every day. Fingers crossed for a couple more years...
  5. 1556 + 4 = 1560 Practical Poultry says NFU estimates there are 3 million in UK back gardens !
  6. Well, a week later and Marlbes appears to be entirely back to normal in legs/movement department. Still looking very scruffy but a lot of her wing feathers have grown back and she's back to being head girl. It does sound like it must all be related to fast moulting. I've since read hybrids are supposed to go for a fast moult - my other Black Rocks must be the exceptions that prove the rule! Hope the other little "drunks" have recovered now too...
  7. Many thanks for sharing. It's always comforting to know that what's happening may be within the realms of normal! Today is day 4 since the drunk legs appeared and this morning it wasn't as bad as the previous mornings and so I'm very hopefuly it's all temporary due to moutling. I began to wonder if it's connected to loosing her wing feathers - would that give her balance problems? Meanwhile it is day 2 of the Total Moutling Solutions but I never can tell if these things make the difference or if nature just taking its course...
  8. Marbles is a 2 1/2 year old Black Rock who recently started her first all over moult. She's at the part chicken, part hedgehog stage and it's been very quick so far with feathers appearing to grow back immediately after they fall out. She's stopped laying and her face and comb are looking pink rather than her normal red. At night she has started roosting in the nest box (I assume she's feeling the draughts ). Yesterday when I let her out her movements looked odd, moving sideways and crouching a lot, but by lunchtime she was back to normal. The odd movements returned this morning and she was looking quite "drunk" around her legs. Her eyes are bright, she holds her head normally, I can't see any lice and she's eating wih enthusiasm pecking at a hanging broccoli and targetting mealworms with normal accuracy. Her movement has again improved during the day and she's obviously made it up the ladder into the Cube and nest box without a problem. I put ACV and garlic in the water every day but will start using the Nettex Total Moulting Solution tomorrow (I used it in July for Anna who took forever to moult). Overall, she is very much not herself - she's normally head girl but now she acts like she's bottom of the pecking order but I guess that may be normal for moulting. I've had a look at various posts on the Forum and it could be similar to the moonwalking problem although her head is entirely normal. Do you think it could just be a consequence of the major effort of regrowing feathers so quicly? (she says hopefully) Or perhaps something that needs more investigation? Or maybe she's just an exhausted little hybrid having laid an egg almost every day for about 18 months? Anyone know how long prolific egg-laying Black Rocks normally live?
  9. You will love it! I told myself think of the resale value when justifying the price but now find myself planning another couple of extensions to it for next summer !
  10. Many thanks for your comments everyone. Looks like there are plenty of options for better cover than Omlet provides. I'll need to get it sorted for the winter but isn't it handy that our summer provides lots of opportunity to test out these things .... I've got 2 extensions to the WIR so it's 4m x 2m plus the cube and run, about 10m square. I wanted it to be as big as the FR area they had so I wouldn't feel guilty about keeping "caged birds". The fox is through our garden every day and now everything feels so secure. But... now that it's up I see I could fit in another couple of extensions - maybe next year!
  11. I've been talking about a WIR for 18 months now and got fed up with local joiners telling me what I wanted and telling me a roof either wasn't possible or it would be too expensive ! So, after reading the comments on the forum decided an Omlet WIR was best for us. Speed is a great plus point and it looks good. Before and after photos are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/65982686@N03/sets/ I have the roof covered in Omlet WIR covers - you have to overlap them to stop the rain dripping through the joins. When it rains the middle of the run stays very dry (had lots of rain so far to test this but not much wind) but it's wet around all the edges where the rain drips off the covers and the mesh panels. I bought one Omlet side cover (1m square) to try it out but while this may be good against the wind it seems almost useless against the rain which drips down both sides of the cover - you would need to overlap it under the roof covers but it can be tricky with where to put the bungees. The Omlet covers look good but big glass tarp(s) would be better and I'm off to investigate further. So (eventually getting to the point) if I can't stop the run getting wet around the edges then is it worth putting hemcore down on the floor? I have a bale but is wet hemcore just as bad as wet earth?
  12. The one I bought was from Flyte so Fancy - FSF Boredom Buster Pecking Ring for Poultry http://www.flytesofancy.co.uk/chickenhouses/Boredom_Buster_Pecking_Ring.html I'm sure I've seen lots of ideas on the Forum for home made pecka blocks - maybe we need a sticky for the recipes?
  13. Ah well, good to know it's not only my girls who are unappreciative. It's raining all day today (and no chance of it being too hot!) so I think I'll try one more time and if they still won't go within 3 feet of it then I'll take a hammer to it..... or maybe I should keep it as a "chicken bollard" and place it wherever I don't want the chickens to go...
  14. I splashed out on one of these oversized polo shaped pecka blocks from Flyte so Fancy. Thought it would ease my guilt if I had to leave the chooks in their run all day. Luckily I tried it out first to see if they liked it. Well, apparently it is actually the most deadly alien invader known to chickens, capable of killing at least 3 feet. I've tried it on 3 occasions in different locations but they are having none of it - won't even go near it if I sprinkle meal worms around the area. However, if I cut it up in small pieces (has to be less than about an inch before it's deemed safe) they will eat it but that kind of defeats the purpose of a boredom buster. Has any found a way of getting around their fears - does perseverance pay off, or is it best just to give in?
  15. Could it be a fox passing by in the morning? I close the cube door at night for that very reason and open up again about 7 am. They appear to sleep on in blissful ignorance that the fox is around. If I leave them access to the run they are up and early and screech at top volume when they see the fox (and poor little Anna poos her pants!).

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