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thelurch

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Chicken Eggspert

Chicken Eggspert (2/19)

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  1. Just thought I would update, we've had to sadly get rid of our hens. Not due to the rat complaint, but due to the original early morning noise. Having kept hens for 6/7 we've had about 4 or 5 'lots' .Each time, different breeds and this last lot were by far the noisiest. We got them just over a year ago and as soon as they started laying, they found their voices. It's all come to a head over the last few weeks as a few of the neighbours at the back of our gardens have snapped with the early morning noise. We are pretty sure it's one of them that made the complaint to the council about rats (unfounded) thinking it would make the council demand we get rid of the chickens. Obviously that didn't happen. But we've had an anonymous letter through the door which is signed 'tired residents of xxxxx road'.Its not a rude letter at all, but just asking if we can do anything to stop the noise in the morning. As we approach longest day, the hens have all been kicking off bokking every morning at pretty much exactly 3.50am! It's barely even light. We have tried locking them in the cube and I planned to let them out when I go to work at 6.30am but still they kick off bokking in the house at around 4.30am. We have covered the cube in black material to make it dark inside, makes zero difference. We've even made a curtain to hang in front of the open door to help reduce light coming in. When we've left the house door open, I've gone up to the walk in run before bed and tried hanging veg up, corn on the cob, scattered corn/grain on the floor of the run so they see that first thing to keep them busy. But none of it made the slightest difference, we were getting exhausted waking at 4am running up the garden to shut them up. I know there is the risk that, like children they learn that making a noise will get attention so do it more but there no way I could leave 8 birds 'bokking' at 4am every morning, even if it is for about 8 weeks of the year. It's not fair on neighbours sleeping with windows open. So with a heavy heart we have re homed them as we were shattered ALL the time and dreading the May - July period every year. I appreciate all the comments on this thread with advice and to those who have never had hens that truly 'bok' you are very lucky. And to make it clear once more, this isn't just an egg announcement noise or general clucking but this is ear piercing 'bokking' which when one starts, they all start. As I've said before, we could hear it from 130ft away, through closed double glazed windows, with ear plugs in. So in summary, to anyone reading this thread, thinking about keeping hens, PLEASE give this issue some thought. I hadn't even thought this would be an issue when doing my research before getting hens. I was far more worried about red spider mites, other bugs, foxes, hen illnesses but actually we've had none of that at all. You may get lucky, and get quiet hens that stay quiet but if you get some like our last lot then be prepared for 4am wake up calls! We are adjusting to not having to do the 4am run up the garden, we manage to sleep to the alarm now, and not the chicken alarm call!
  2. Thing is there isn't a rat problem, and I'm a little confused as to why you are suggesting I buy a bird feeder? It's next door who have the bird feeders which spill over the floor and I'm sure they won't want to buy new ones. I don't have any bird feeders. Confused
  3. Well the inevitable has happened, a letter arrived this morning from the local environmental health officer at the local council offices letting me know they had received a complaint......but about rats! It seems one of my lovely neighbours has told the council that my chicken keeping is encouraging rats, bearing in mind we've had chickens for over 6 years now and Ironically we've only seen one rat in our garden and that was 6 months before we got our first hens. I'm guessing that whoever has complained has really wanted to complain about the noise but guessed that it would be easier to mention rats as a way for the council to tell me get rid of them. The letter states that the inspector has visited and not seen any evidence and the complainent did not provide any evidence and that it could be from elsewhere. They offer advice to not leave food out at night and store it in a rat proof container which is a little condescending to be honest. We only ever give them layers pellets or treats of corn/grapes/tomatoes but only in the walk in run, and they never last more than about 10 seconds! We never give them food out in the garden, the grubs never leave the run. But I find it ironic that our immediate next door neighbour throws almost a whole loaf of white bread on his back lawn once a week to feed the birds and has about 10 bird feeders full of bird seed which has a permanent pile of fallen seed on the floor beneath it. If there are rats about then that's certainly not helping. The other ironic thing is that, the house at the back of us who I assume complained moved in about 5 years ago (whilst we had chickens) but before they bought it, the house was rented and a family of 'undesirables' lived there who filled the back garden with rubbish bags containing God knows what, it was piled 6ft deep. They got evicted by the landlord and the house was empty for at least 6 months with this festering back garden. I contacted environmental health then and they had a look and agreed it needed to be cleared immediately but would be difficult to enforce. 6 months later and the rubbish was cleared. I will call this guy from the council next week and invite him round to show him that all food is kept within a walk in run made of 1/2" weld mesh on slabs so no rat can get near the food and the rest is stored in a shed, within a steel cabinet, within a metal box. I think I would have rather had a complaint about the noise!
  4. This year we seem to have been invaded by gulls, we don't live near the coast and they are now making their racket much earlier than my hens, and they are much worse!
  5. Sorry the list of my hens on my profile were last updated 5 years ago, don't have light Sussex anymore. Two bluebells, three white ranger, three brown tails now.
  6. Hi all, It's been a few years since I visited these forums! I've just found this thread whilst looking for another subject. I still have hens, the original lot have come and gone and so have two other lots. And yes we still have early morning Bokking, different hens, same noise. I'm more chilled out about it now but I do still dread the spring and summer early mornings, they started Bokking at 5.00am this morning and it was still pretty much dark. We've taken to shutting the door at night and opening it every morning but the Bokking starts in the house! I gave up on the squirting long ago. The house at the back of us is currently for sale so will be interesting what happens there as the current owners have been there pre chickens. I must just be lucky I guess with noisy hens, I've had different varieties from different sources over the years and twice the remaining hens of the batch were re homed (due to egg laying becoming erratic ) and a whole new batch bought and still the Bokking happens. No complaints in 6 years that I'm aware of, but if I had read this before I got hens I wouldn't have gone ahead.
  7. Hi I haven't been on here in quite a while, mainly due to the fact that I've had very little issues but in the last month one issue has raised it's ugly head again. Last summer the hens were perfectly quiet in the very early morning but in this last month we have had early morning noise from the 8 hens we have and I mean a racket. The cube and run is 130ft from the house and with our double glazed windows shut it wakes us up every morning at around 5.30am. I have posted about this before and had the advice like covering the house to make it darker, I have the door half closed and have a curtain over the door, so they can get up when they want. We have tried to keep the door shut but they all kick off at the same time making the noise worse. But this morning the noise started at 4.30am!!!! I had to stop them this time as we try to ignore it. This noise is an aggressive bokking noise which is piercing but at 4.30am I don't know what to do and we haven't even reached longest day yet
  8. They have both been on pellets before, the new lot were on them before I bought them and that was in August so hopefully it should be ok as I don't have any mash left! as it's mostly on the floor of the run!
  9. Thanks for replies, buying pellets today and will see how it goes. Then next step will be to raise the grubs up, hopefully that should sort it.
  10. Hi everyone, Since we recently added 4 new hens to the existing 3, we were prepared to go through feed quicker, but in the last 10 days we have gone through 20kg of feed! Having both been working all day and not been able to sit and observe, today I sat and watched after filling the 4 grubs we have mounted on ikea kroken rails. The new hens stick their heads in and eat, and seem to dig to the bottom of the feed and flick loads out with each movement, on purpose it seems. I have only ever filled the grubs to a minimum of 1 inch from the opening of the grub ie the feed level is never level with the lip. The old hens dont and never have done this. The aubiose in the immediate area of the feeders is 90% mash! Obviously this cannot continue but what to do, I bought 2 new grubs when we got the new hens. Today I got the unused super glug out of the shed and fixed that to the rail quite low down, that holds quite a lot of feed and as the hens have to peck from above and the walls of the glug help to stop the feed being flicked out. Tomorrow I am going to buy pellets to see if that helps in the grubs, if not then buying a couple more super glugs might be the solution. I have looked at other feeders and wouldnt want a round one as it takes up too much space. The treadle option I assume would have the same problem (like the troughs) and they are very expensive So does anyone else use grubs and mash and have very wasteful hens or have a solution? All the feeders are in a covered WIR and on a wall which is protected from the weather totally, and we dont have vermi problems either.
  11. Thanks ver much for finding that thread and posting that photo, the previous post makes perfect sense now! Might just give it a go
  12. You cut two circles in it? I'm not sure I understand, does it have a hole for the hens to step from one compartment to the other?
  13. Thanks for replies thus far, redwing interesting idea about making a divider, might trial that as top hen likes to sit in the middle of the nest and guard the entrance which makes the new hens very reluctant to try and get in there, with a divider at least there would be more privacy but I guess there's the possibility of getting two hens trying to lay each side at the same time. But good idea though
  14. I have a cube which opens into a very large WIR, about 5 weeks ago we added another 4 hens to our 3 to try and fill the cube. Did the whole introductions thing gradually which seems to have been ok, no injuries. Now they are all sleeping and laying in the cube, I have been concerned about "congestion" for the nestbox. A couple of times I've opened the egg port and found 4 hens sat on top of each other! Omlet state that the cube is ok for up to 10 hens which is fine for roosting, tbh once they are snuggled down I think about 20 hens could sleep in there it's so roomy but the nestbox is the problem. I have read this months quiz in your chickens magazine and there is a question about how many nestboxes you should supply for your hens, the answer states one nestbox for every four hens. So technically I need another nestbox. But I designed my WIR to enable egg collection without going in the run to another box, they all seem to lay in the cube nestbox ok so will the cube be ok on it's own?
  15. My 4 seem to have this depluming mite, all their underbellies are bald and the skin is bright red with some bits which look particularly sore. After getting advice, I have been spraying on johnsons anti mite spray which contains pyrethrin* sp which is the active ingredient. We have also given them all a bath in a solution of johnsons anti flea shampoo which contains permethrin* sp The two active ingredients maybe the other way round, one is a natural extract from a plant and the other is a man made version of the same thing but apparently stays active a little longer than the natural. We dunked them over a week ago and a couple of the hens look like they are a little less sore, we are planning to dunk them again as soon as we get a hot day. Apparently it is very difficult to get rid of, and in big flocks the recommendation is to cull the birds.

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