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heatherjulia's Achievements

Chicken Eggspert

Chicken Eggspert (2/19)



  1. Hello I wonder if anyone can advise please... We got our ex-bats in July and from the start, Josephine used to lay the occasional soft egg (maybe once a fortnight), but recently it's been a lot more often - almost every day - and it's now quite rare for her to lay a proper egg. When we went down this morning, we found that she had laid 2 soft eggs during the night. We've been putting crushed up egg shells in their food, which Josie seems to eat a lot of, and also limestone flour and we put poultry tonic in their water. I did wonder if the increase in frequency could be related to the fact that she's growing a LOT of new feathers at the moment? We just want to do whatever we can to help stop this, as she is clearly very uncomfortable for an hour or so before she lays a soft egg. Can anyone suggest anything else we could try?
  2. Oh I do hope it works out for you Mercedes - I'll keep everything crossed for you too. We do get all our chicken stuff from Titmuss - we're up there at 7.30am some days before we go to work!! We are lucky to have it at the end of the road though. I'll definitely do as people have suggested and I HOPE it will all be ok. I have been wondering whether I'm just not a 'chicken person' as your OH puts it! I really thought I would be, I was SO keen to rescue some ex-batts and give them a happy, pampered life, but I'm amazed at how distressing I've found it to see them creating such a mess and digging up the garden. I think it's been made worse because we only moved to Wheathampstead a few months ago and it's our first proper house together and we've never had a garden before. It was totally overgrown when we moved in and we spent weeks clearing it, then creating lovely flowerbeds and planting pretty things! I was SO proud of it, I had no idea it was going to be ripped to shreds. I do think the omlet site makes chicken-keeping sound so easy and hassle-free. I can't help but wonder as well whether ex-batts dig more than other chickens??? Maybe not, just a thought. It's just that ours are so frantic with their digging, and I thought it would calm down after a few weeks but no! Anyway, best of luck to you, do let me know how you get on.
  3. oh wow, thank you guys so much. I really wasn't expecting to find a solution - just posted in despair hoping for a bit of sympathy I suppose! Gosh, thank you, will definitely take all your advice.
  4. Hi Mercedes So sorry things have been difficult for you. I actually couldnt believe it when I read your post because - awful as I feel putting this down in words - I feel the same and think we have made a huge mistake getting our chickens. I think we got our 4 ex-batts a week after you? It's 7 weeks today, anyway. 3 weeks ago Henrietta died, which was just dreadful. So then we were incredibly anxious over the other three, watching their every move in case they got ill too, then last week my hubby was filling up their food and noticed an awful smell. It turned out that the entire ground where their run is had gone completely rotten and mouldy underneath their wood chips. I just couldnt believe it. I feel really misled by Omlet to be honest as we were following their recommendation on the website that if you dont have an area of lawn to keep the eglu on, you can build a permanent site and fill it with wood chip. So that's exactly what we did, and despite regularly changing the chippings etc, in just 6 weeks the whole thing was mouldy! We dug it all out, but god knows what we are going to do long-term. I'm really worried that it will make them ill. Then to make matters worse, I saw a mouse eating from their grub yesterday afternoon, which makes me think rats will be along next. I just don't know what to do. It's been one thing after another. The whole experience hasn't been what I expected. We have chickens where I work and they're so calm and just potter around, so that's what I was expecting! But ours are completely different. They just dig non-stop, so whenever we let them out to FR, I can't just relax and enjoy them, I'm just literally running round constantly trying to stop them digging up the plants and covering the paths with the contents of the flowerbeds. ***sigh*** I do love them but it's just not at all what I expected, and to be honest, I feel really upset about it all. PS Mercedes - I'm in Herts too - Wheathampstead. Hope things work out for you.
  5. Thanks guys, I really appreciate all your kind words. I know the BHWT warn that this can happen after just a few weeks, but you know what it's like, you just don't think it will happen to any of yours! I am glad that she had a few happy weeks and experienced everything that she did with us, but I can't help but feel she deserved so much more. Life is cruel sometimes. So sorry you lost one in the same way Tricia, and one of yours on Saturday Skye. Hope you are ok xXx
  6. Thanks for your replies, I'm afraid I have some really sad news. Shortly after I left my last message on here on Friday, we brought her indoors in a box with some straw and food and water so we could keep an eye on her. She wasn't eating or drinking though and seemed to be getting worse, so I phoned an emergency vet. We were about to take her in when we lost her. It was really awful, and we were absolutely shocked and devastated. She had settled so well into her new life, and had seemed perfectly well and healthy. She was also the friendliest of our girls from day 1 and we were very attached to her. Later on, we took her into the vet and said our goodbyes. He examined her but said he could see no obvious signs of illness, so we will probably never know what the cause was. It's not been an easy start to chicken-keeping…
  7. Thanks for your replies. I'm getting worried now - no idea how to tell if she is ill or not?? She doesnt have any of those symptoms of broodiness that you described. I lifted her out of the nest box and put her on the lawn with the other girls. She was really sleepy and dopey, stood still for ages, then very slowly walked back into the run and the house, and got back onto the nest box. She really didnt look right. Now she is in there all puffed up and blinking slowly. No idea what to do! I dont want to keep taking her out of the nest box in case she is ill rather than broody!
  8. Hi everyone Would really appreciate some advice please. Had our ex-batts 4 weeks, all been great. Then got home today to find that Henrietta has been sitting on the nest box all day! She doesnt seem ill, is alert and moving etc, does this mean she has gone broody?!??? I've no idea what to do - should I lift her out of the nest box, or leave her alone??
  9. oh wow, they're lovely! We've had our ex-batts 3 weeks tomorrow, and they're really settling in well now. Yours look to be in better condition - ours are really quite featherbare - am hoping they will grow some new feathers soon, poor little things! Hope yours settle in ok.
  10. Hiya! Glad you got them ok - they look in a very similar state to our 4 that we got just over a week ago. Re the bullying - we are having the exact same issue right now. For the first 4 days or so, they all got on fine. Henrietta was clearly the top hen, but she seemed to be in charge without using any aggression, and the others accepted it with no problem. Just the odd peck from her occasionally and nothing more, so we thought 'wow, that was easy!'. Unfortunately not - the others that are below her in the pecking order have in the last few days become very aggressive and have been really attacking each other. I have to admit, I've found it very upsetting as all was going so well at first! 2 days ago we got some anti-pecking spray and coated them all in it, then applied some more to the 2 who were being picked on the most this morning. There has been quite a big improvement. The bullying is still going on, but it's MUCH less aggressive and I've stopped being so terrified of what they might do to each other while we're out at work! I feel now that in a few days or so it will hopefully fizzle out. It is always the weakest one that gets it the worst, which is so heartbreaking. I can empathise with you! Ours is little Pollyanna, she is SUCH a sweetheart and I just wish they'd leave her alone! As I said though, it IS improving so I'm sure yours will settle down too. As Mercedes said, I definitely think you should put some extra food and water points in the run so that Minnie can access them more easily. It might also be worth you trying the anti-peck spray - we've definitely seen an improvement since we've been using it, although whether that is just coincidence, we'll never know! At least you feel like you're doing something though!
  11. I'm very pleased to say our little Henrietta is MUCH better today. Yesterday there was no change at all, she was no better but hadn't got any worse. We rushed out in the morning before work to get some limestone flour in the hope that it might help somehow, so we mixed that in with their food and we also got some poultry tonic and added it to their water for good measure! I phoned the BHWT careline too - they recommended applying arnica cream and taking her to a vet if she went downhill. We thought we'd wait and see how she was over the next few days before we started using the arnica, and then this morning her leg is 99% back to normal, which is SUCH a huge relief. We have no idea whether the supplements had any effect - possibly not as they would be pretty miraculous to kick in in 24 hours!? But it was worth doing anyway. I guess the time it takes for injuries like that to heal depends on how severe the bruising/sprain was in the first place, so we must have been lucky that hers wasn’t too serious. Mercedes, I really hope your little Mia is 100% soon, at least you can see that she is improving. Thanks for your advice.
  12. hi mercedes, thanks for your message. I wonder if ours has the same thing for the same reason then... perhaps I will give the BHWT careline a call tomorrow. She was fine the first few days and then the limp just appeared today, but then I guess that doesnt necessarily mean it wasnt from being roughly handled on saturday. I havent examined her properly, but we had a good look up close as she was walking around in the run this evening and from what we could see the foot and leg looked fine - no visible signs of injury. So far, she does seem to be eating and drinking ok, but she did go in to bed very early this evening and I wondered if she might be feeling a bit sorry for herself! We'll keep a very close eye on her. Was the bruise on yours on the leg, or foot? Or both? I wonder if we should try the arnica cream, or just leave it and see how she is in the next few days...
  13. Thanks very much for your reply Carol. I'll keep an eye on her and try not to worry too much!!
  14. Hi everyone We collected our 4 chickens from the BHWT on Saturday. All has been fine but then today one has a limp. She is standing on one leg, and when walking it is clearly painful for her to put weight onto her right leg. I'm sure I read somewhere (either here, or on some BHWT material) that their legs can have bruising, so I wondered if it might be this?? Not sure what would cause that though? Does anyone have any other ideas, or know whether this is a common thing or something to be concerned about?? The only other thing we wondered is if it is purely caused by the fact that they are obviously not used to walking around and using their legs so much? Any advice would be appreciated!
  15. ooh good, I'm so glad you're excited! This forum is a lifesaver isnt it!! Totally agree with you about the weather - it was SO hot for us on Saturday and the BHWT volunteers kept telling us to keep them cool in the car, but it was virtually impossible! Our journey was over an hour and it was VERY stressful! We were desperate to get them home as quickly as poss but also trying to drive carefully so as not to fling them around in their box whenever we went round a corner! It certainly was an experience - I've never been so glad to be home!! I'm sure the forecast for this weekend is looking like it will be a lot cooler than the last one, so hopefully you won't struggle with the heat too much. I read on here that someone recommended putting chunks of iceberg lettuce in the box with them for food/water - which we did - but they didn't touch it! Then we thought that as soon as we got back they'd be desperate for water, so I (literally!) RAN to the kitchen while hubby was carrying the box in to get them a little dish of water (even put ice cubes in it!), placed it in the box with them... and still nothing! They just looked at me like I was slightly mad... In fact, I dont think they even drank or ate ANYTHING until the next day, when they couldn't get enough of it all! Looking back now, I think they were just COMPLETELY overwhelmed at what they had been through that day, which is understandable. It was all a bit much for them. As I said earlier though, the next day they really came on in leaps and bounds, so I guess patience is the key!! Hope your collection goes well, I'm excited for you! Make sure you let us know how you get on!

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