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About Sue

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    Frequent Layer
  1. You try rubbing in something oily first to loosen it like coconut oil, then try scrubbing them. Hair shampoo might be better than washing up liquid which might be a bit drying - unless it is something like Ecover. A soft bristle nail brush should be ok as long as you are not to hard with the scrubbing
  2. A lot of breeds which were originally bred for their egg production qualities have been taken over by the breeders who show their birds and the markings and features of the bird take on more importance than their performance in quantity or quality of eggs. I think it would depend on what the particular stain was being bred for, and if your breeder says they lay small eggs then she will. But don't forget that the eggs are always smaller when they first start to lay. My Marans normally lay around 55 grm at first but are soon up to 65+ and the following year the are 70-80 grms.
  3. I think the females only have one ovary and if that is damaged in some way then they don't produce enough hormones to stay in lay and will begin to crow and exhibit male characteristics, but will never function fully as a male. The old saying was "A whistling woman and a crowing hen is neither good for God nor men"
  4. Rats get very put off and perturbed when things are moved around - though unfortunately they will not usually decamp - so if you are intending to use poison it might be better to put it down before you move everything It is unlikely they will take any bait at first, until they are used to the bait boxes, then they will gingerly investigate them, later try a tiny bit of bait, then next day a bit more, and so on. It is natural selection in that if the bait makes them feel ill they will never eat it again. Also once they begin to take the bait you must keep it topped up till they don't take
  5. If your incubator is fixed and you want to have another try at hatching some eggs I could do with some test hatchings on mine and would send you some free to try. Just pm me as they are laying nicely at present. They are bred to lay coloured eggs Basket of eggs from my Miss Sugar'n'Spice pullets
  6. As far as I understand it the situation with Mareks and vaccination is as follows Vaccination does not prevent Mareks, but it does, in most, though not all of the cases, alleviate some or all of the symptoms ]vaccination does not prevent infection with the virus, and the Marek's Disease virus has evolved increased virulence and resistance to this vaccine It also reduces the amount of infected dander shed by the birds, so vaccination is imperitive in commercial situations where buildings contain thousands of birds in close proximity which would mean huge finacial losses for the busine
  7. A year or two ago I went up to a local farm with tons of feed everywhere, and asked them what they did for rat control and they used a "rat man" He has been visiting me since (pretty expensive!) but I have learnt a lot. What he does Try to give them as little access to feed as possible (I use the spring pheasant feeders on legs wherever possible) Put the bait boxes down at the points where they are gaining access, but try to keep the boxes outside to k"Ooops, word censored!"ble them before they have got in (obviously this is after you have got rid of the current crop) Leave the box
  8. Though he is obviously not pure as such, it makes very little difference if you just fancy having a coq round the place. Its always interesting seeing the interaction between the males and females, and you will probably have chicks next year as well which is fun. The males generally spend a lot of time keeping watch, and will give a range of alarm calls depending on the perceived threat, so they can help the girls take evasive action, and they will call them over if there is anything extra tasty to eat. Make sure there are sufficient hens for him as otherwise they can become a bit t
  9. Yes - females can lose their "femaleness" and begin to crow and display male features. This generally happens because chickens only have one functioning ovary, and if anything happens to that (often as the result of an illness or infection) then they don't produce enough of the female , and secondary male characteristics come to the fore. When this has happened they will never function fully as a male, so will not fertilize eggs, but neither will they lay eggs. On the other hand I have heard of hens which will make a crowing sound, but still lay eggs, usually when there is no cocker
  10. I think you would need to post a photo before anyone could make an informed comment
  11. Looks a wonderful set up, and though it was sad, well done for making the right decision, and having the courage to carry it through. Good chicken keeper
  12. Ok you lot I wish I had kept quiet about this now. 1 - Egg eating is a normal behaviour when egg shells are thin. The danger arises when it becomes a habit, which may first start with a protein imbalance (so think when you are giving "treats" whether they contain more or less protein than their pellets - which often contain the minimum needed for laying). 2 - Hens will naturally lay thin shelled eggs at certain times, particularly when approaching the moult, and especially those high laying hybrids, which have been bred to lay vast quantities of eggs in the first part of their
  13. Hens are genetically programmed to eat eggs which are not strong enough to be "sat " on. Most hens, when they have laid, will get their breath back for a few moments, then inspect the egg by a gently tap with their beak. You will sometimes see evidence of this with a small oval hole in the shell, but if the shell is weak the egg breaks, and the hen - waste not want not - will eat the egg and normally the shell and any eggy bedding as well, in other words clean out the nest so other eggs are not at risk of infection. The trouble arises sometimes in that the hen develops a taste for eggs,
  14. Yes - it would have been me - I am not allowed to be known as D-B-E on here It was a old favourite trick of mine, but apparently some modern day poultry keepers seem to have got the idea that milk is poison for chickens, so I often keep my counsel But as one who kept a milking cow some years ago and fattened cockerels and pigs on skim and wheatings plus kitchen s"Ooops, word censored!"s I can confirm mine all survived (well the required amount of time anyway) I often hesitate to mention feeding extra protein online, as I dislike arguments, and so many folk seem to have abso

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