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Stedic

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About Stedic

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    Chicken Eggspert
  1. Tanks for your reassurance. The new girls are still hiding in the coop, so I'm going out twice a day to FR the older ones. The new girls then instantly come out of the cube to eat and drink, have a scratch round etc. The trouble is, as soon as the older girls get back from FRing they go for a peck, and the new girls run to the cube. I almost feel I need to shut the cube door for a while, to force them to run somewhere else, but I'm sure this is a bad idea. On friday I'm off to buy some straw bales, to provide even more cover in the run for the new girls, as I feel they need to learn to stay outside in safety so they can see when the feeders are free. If the situation doesn't improve by Sunday I may consider re-seperating the run and taking a step backwards, just so the newbies don't become weak or ill. Any other suggestions? Thanks so far, Steve PS, the new girls are from Merrydale - a Cuckoo, Sweetie and a Crested Legbar and they are gorgeous!!
  2. Hello all, I've had new girls for a week or so now, they've been living in a sectioned off area of the WIR with their own coop. Yesterday, I removed the netting as the fighting had subsided and things went reasonably well. They had access to their own coop, but all went to bed in the cube without any assistance or encouragement. But.... This morning, the three new girls are staying inside the Cube. I let the others out to FR, and the new girls made their way out for some food and water,so they're OK health wise. When the older girls came back in, the newer ones ran into the cube together. Is this normal behaviour? Do I need to force them out of the cube (and into a fight)? There are plenty of places in the run to hide/escape/jump on, and three food/water stations dotted around. Or, am I just worrying too much, and they'll get hungry and head out in their own time.
  3. Hello everyone, I've not posted on here for quite a while, as all 8 girls have been behaving themselves! Unfortunately, its been a truly rubbish fortnight chicken-keeping wise! First I found our ex-batt Twiggy dead in the run - she was the weakest of all the birds rescued about 3 months ago and it seemed like it was all a bit too much for her. Two days later I found her sister, Tatty, from the same rescue, sneezing and coughing. She was given full TLC but later made her way to the vets to be PTS. THe other 6 have been on anti-biotics for a week and were all fully healthly. Then on Friday we noticed that Violet, who was rescued a year ago in July was really starting to struggle. She's always been a big chicken but has been noticeably less mobile for the past few months - not swollen anywhere, just a bit doddery. This weekend she'd started to struggle to get over even low obstacles. This morning I found her in the run, unable to walk more than a few steps. Because of the rain her feathers were muddy. I popped her into our hospital/dog crate/penthouse and hoped she'd rally but made a vets appointment for tomorrow (earliest they had). But, I realised after watching her and talking to her that while she would eat and drink, she wasn't walking at all and even her wings were starting to droop. I thought she'd have passed away this morning but it became obvious to me that this would last until the vets - and that was cruel. I did some research for a couple of hours on humane despatch, hoping she'd die beforehand. In the end though, I had to intervene, I thought it was cruel to make her suffer for another 36 hours just because I felt uneasy. I used the neck dislocation method to ease her pain - she was as good as gold. I talked to her for a while and told her I was sorry that she'd been in the battery farm, but hoped she'd enjoyed eating everything in our garden. The actual 'event' wasn't traumatic for either of us. So that leaves us with 5. I want to make sure that the virus that got Tatty is well and truly gone, and that the others are all healthy as we go into the winter. Then I'll make a few improvements to the run - extending the covered area for a start and changing the way the food and water is held up. We'll look at getting some new girls soon - but only once we've made sure the others are OK and the run is improved.
  4. A sad update I'm afraid. Despite rallying while I was out of the house, Tatty went down hill again just before going to the vets. She was lying in the carrier, head on the floor, just lifting it slightly each time she took a breath. A little brighter at the vets, but scratching at her eyes and sneezing constantly. The vet said she had an upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis and some lower respiratory or cardiac problems. We had to decide to try antibiotics, if she'd eat and drink, or have her PTS. The vet thought that she probably had a 30% chance of survival. We went with the latter, which was horrible, but she was clearly suffering hugely and intensely distressed by the conjunctivitis. If she had been out of the battery farm a little longer, and was stronger, we might have tried the antibiotics but it just wasn't fair on the poor thing. We've now got antibiotics for the other girls water, and we're keeping a close eye on them in case it has spread. While we're sad that we've lost two of the girls, we knew they were the weakest of all the birds from that rescue. They both had two months of sunshine, sunbathing and chasing worms and slugs - a lot more than they would have had.
  5. Hello, I will say at the start of this post that I already have a vets appointment booked, for about 30 minutes time, but as they're not avian vets I'm looking for some advice to go with it. We have 8 chickens, 2 hybrid (2 years old), 3 ex old bats (2 years also) and three new ex-bats who we rescued 2 months ago. They were the three worst of the rescue - two bald and one feathered by emaciated. They've been reasonably well since rescue and had integrated with the flock nicely. Yesterday the feathered but emaciated one was dead in the run, our first chicken loss. She hadn't been ill, and there were no signs of trauma, mites or lice (had a good look). I assumed it was just that she was a weak ex-batt and her time in the cages had taken its toll. I noticed that afternoon that both the baldies were a bit off colour. This morning one is absolutely fine and back to her usual self, but the other was terrible. I put her in a dog cage in the warmth, with food, water and straw and expected the worst. I was convinced she was breathing her last as I had to leave the house. But when I got back in, she'd improved massively!! I've managed to get her to eat and she has scoffed about 75g of food. I managed to get some of the herbal pellets in there too for a bit of a boost. She's acting like a healthy chicken again.....except that she is making a horrendous rattling noise and doing snotty little coughs. If she was a human I'd say she had a chest infection or heart failure. So I'm poppoing her to the vets - I assume it'll either be anti-biotics or PTS. My concern is: Is Twiggy's death and Tatty's illness just a coincidence, or could they be linked? The other girls all now seem absolutely fine and are acting normally, wth normal poo, laying well etc. Would you give them all a week of anti-biotics to be on the safe side? I really cannot believe how well she's bounced back - I hope it lasts!
  6. They look great....but for that price they have to save you a LOT of chicken food to pay for themselves! I know they're supposed to be rat proof - but can't the rats just learn what to do as well?
  7. Someone in my local area has a cockeral - we live in the middle of a city. I had two people from EH knock on my door because I'd been reported as owning him. I was also terrified, but they were really pleasant. I showed them the girls, run etc and they were very happy with things. They left with a box of eggs each, though I imagine they weren't supposed to! Do you use Stalosan F at all? When I mentioned it they EH lot were happy, I think it kills fly eggs and certainly smells nice enough. Might be worth having some about to show how pro-active you are.
  8. I started out with a cheap wooden house when I had my first two girls. I sold it within a fortnight - it was a pain! I had no end of minor problems with it, and it almost led to me getting rid of the girls in despair. I bought a second hand Eglu Classic for about £275 and it was the best thing I ever did as it made having the girls so much more enjoyable. I sold it a year later for £300, so they definately hold their value. My advice would be to get a second hand Eglu if you can afford it - I've recently seen them go for as little as £200 on eBay (rarity though). If it doesn't work out you'd have no problem selling it on for the same money within a week. Not that you will, chicken keeping is addictive!
  9. Our three ex-batts have had a similar problem since we got them. I also tried Ukadex and trying to see who was feather pulling. They were de-loused, de-mited and everything cleaned constantly but nothing would fix it. Until they moulted. It cleared up over about a 3 days period. The only one who hasn't recovered didn't moult either. Are your girls ex-batts? We had concluded that it might be something to do with the cages causing sore patches. Or, the alternative diagnosis, is that someone stopped eating feathers.
  10. Hi John and Kimberly, I had similar issues with my girls about this time last year - they just refused to use it. I spent ages tapping it with a stick until they started trying to drink the stick! It was very frustrating. In the end I gave up and put in two standard Glugs. This year I tried again and they took to it with no problems whatsoever and without me showing them what to do. Are you providing another source of water for them? If so try taking it away. What I did was to let them have water in the morning from a Glug, so I knew they'd have enough to get through the day, but in the afternoon only let them have the superglug. I suppose it must have worked, not that I realised at the time.
  11. The bulk of the structure comes assembled. All I had to go was take the roof off, fit the nest box with 5 plasic clips, push the perches through and secure those with clips, then re-attach the roof. I reckon it took 5 minutes at most. The cats certainly approve, Plato has taken up residence in the nest box.
  12. Well, the Mini Coop arrived today (4 working day delivery, not bad!). I've not put it into the WIR yet but as there's not much info around I thought I'd post my first impressions for others. Well, its a lot bigger than I thought. It's probably got a slightly larger footprint than the Eglu CLassic, and the nest box sticks out of the side. It does however provide a lot more space inside for the girls than a CLassic (i think anyway). THe perches are removable but are round plastic, I'm not sure how well the girls will cope with those. But for my purposes I'll remove one of them as all my ex-batts have enjoyed sleeping on the floor to start with. The general construction, well, its not as polished and user friendly as the Eglu's, but I'm sure it'll last. You do have to remove the roof to clean it, but that seems simple enough to do. If I was using it all the time I think I'd just line the floor with newspaper to make quick cleans easier. My overall first impression is that its definately not an Eglu, but for the price I don't think its too bad at all. I'll let my older girls have a look at it later and try to post some pics.
  13. An update for you all: I HATE CHICKENS! Last summer I tried for two weeks, TWO WEEKS, to get them to use the superglug. I removed all the other water, I prodded the nipples with a stick for hours on end (they tried to drink from the stick or my finger), they clucked for water, drank from puddles and generally exhausted me. Today I screwed a Kroken rail into the area my new ex-batts will be staying in. I put the superglug in to check it could take the weight. All 5 of my girls came up, one by one, and had a drink without any encouragement! In size order too! Sometimes I think I keep chickens, at other times I think they just like having a servant living in their grounds!
  14. Hello, Thought I'd add that our Copper Black developed a sudden limp about this time last year. She also had one leg which was noticeably hotter than the other. We popped her to the vet who, having showed us pics of her own girls, diagnosed an infected pin feather. A shot of Baytril and a sleep and she made a miraculous recovery. The vet did say that chickens cope quite badly with infections, so its important to get on top of them quickly - I'd take her to the vet and see what they say.
  15. Sorry to hear your girl is under the weather. I've noticed that one my ex-batts has had similar issues over the last week but had also been a little less active than usual over that period. When I saw the blue tinged comb I thought she was in trouble, but she seemed a lot perkier as I left for work today. Interestingly, when I searched other forums there were a few others with similar things - I did wonder if it was related to the weather or time of year putting extra strain on the girls and the weaker ex-batts showing symptoms more readily than the stronger girls. With telling them apart, we bought a box of leg rings for our ex-batts from Pets at Home, makes it an awful lot easier when people chicken sit (and for us at times!). Steve

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