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Jac and Rory

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Everything posted by Jac and Rory

  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!).
  16. I'm closing the door every night (sort of 90% shut) as the sound of the gentle "where's breakfast" clucking is far less stressfull all round than the full volume screeching when the fox patrols the run in the early hours. Not so hot up here also.
  17. Spillers layers pellets - £6.50 for 20Kg - because that's what the local Russells store sells. In the morning I mix some of the pellets with hot water and bokashi bran and they love that. It's also good for adding any supplements whenever needed. I have tried mash in the past but it was too messy and too much wastage.
  18. I have both Superglug and Glug. Superglug arrived with the Cube in Nov and I bought the Glug because I thought the Superglug nipples would freeze in winter (which they do). My Black Rocks prefer the Glug but will use the Superglug if that's all there is. They have occasionally knocked over the Glug completely, they often use it as a perch and the water gets dirty every day The Superglug remains in place and the water keeps clean (other than the odd bug and bits falling in from above). Last time they knocked over their Glug, I found them grabbing at the Superglug nipples in an agitated manner. They looked relieved when I sorted out the Glug and all 4 stood and drank from it as if they had been in the desert. For me Superglug is the safer option if they are being left for any length of time, for the girls it's the Glug is favourite.
  19. Neigbours got 9 chickens from Lanark market last year. 5 were Marrans and they were told there may be a cockrel among them. All 5 turned out to be cockrels! They managed to rehome 4 (to someone who shoots ) and there is one remaining which we hope they will rehome before summer!! (although he is quite stunning - will I remember that at 4 am?)
  20. Hi Batli, I recently posted my experience of tyre chippings here: http://club.omlet.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=57959&p=865543#p865543 In short, I don't recommend it and am changing to slabs and hemcore as soon as I can get the slabs laid!
  21. Mine too! There is no weather that can deter my Black Rocks from their daily mission to destroy my garden!
  22. First thing my Highland terrier did after the chooks arrived was to find the biggest curry poo and have a good roll in it - didn't stop him getting pecked on the nose. Had to buy the Omlet netting just to keep him out of the poo...
  23. Thanks everyone - more good ideas and more to think about! I'm inclining towards having the cube outside the run but the area underneath connected to the run (what a clever idea) provided I can still move the roof forward with ease. I've seen photos where there is a slot in the run panel for the Cube roof to slide through but that looks like it may demand a great deal of accuracy when measuring. I'll seek the advice of the fabulous Tony!
  24. I'm at the mind boggling stage of starting to plan a WIR and my first question is Cube in or out? I've looked at the photos on the forum and am undecided. If the Cube is outside (but adjoined to) the run then it will be easy to clean, collect eggs and the run itself will likely be cheaper (a bit smaller). If the Cube is within the run then the run would be bigger and there may also be extra expense of egg doors etc - but would there be a big advantage in having that little bit of extra very sheltered space under the Cube for the those wet summer days? Anybody with a Cube + WIR got any views? Thank you
  25. Many thanks for all your replies. I found an opportune time to show off ANH's WIR photos to OH and we are sold! Next step though is to slow down the military style action plan OH is coming up with and make sure I get what "we" want! I even phoned Tony at Averies4U. He reckons if you can build MFI flat pack then you can put up one of his standard WIRs. Unfortunately OH never been good at MFI and I'll have to stop drooling over the octagon WIR (I asked the price - would need to sell every egg ). Well, you can see I didn't need much persuasion to go down the WIR route but very grateful for the confidence all your comments give me that it's the right thing to do! So looking forward to them having lots of perches and sitting with them (bought a garden folding stool for the purpose but football seats sound a bit of a must!!).

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