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Mrs Potts

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  1. We had Leia, the last of our hens put to sleep today and I have just buried her in the garden. An ex-battery hen, she came to stay at the end of July 2010 and apart from one infection that winter and her egg problems this last week, was so little trouble. Leia was bright and inquisitive and liked nothing more than her high perches, her dustbaths (Saturday morning, about 11am) and her freedom of the garden. She was tolerant of the robin and sparrows who flew in to her WIR daily to share her mealworms and totally intolerant of any starlings who did the same. Whilst waiting for our appointment today, she dozed off whilst I stroked the back of her head through the cat carrier door; she did not like to be handled as such, but I'm glad I was able to do that. I know we did the right thing for her but it is hard, and we are both going to miss her so much. Mrs P
  2. I like watching the stars but I watched the International Space Station orbit/pass the other night. It appeared when they said it would and took about four minutes to cross the sky. Magical.
  3. Hi. This happened to me recently in that my OH could not receive any of the texts I sent him. Texts from all other contacts were fine for both of us and I had not blocked him. Phone company could not identify a reason and in the end, we had to get another SIM for my phone and then it was fine. Coincidentally, at work, I ordered new phones for new people recently and three out of the four have had to have new SIMs sent because the data bundles would not work. I'm not technical so I can't give you more information than that, though! Mrs Potts
  4. Hello, Hazel. I have clear tarps on two sides, to protect from the prevailing weather, and one on top. It helps if you measure your tarps properly so they fit snugly with no flappy ends when it is windy/they stretch neatly (my error on one side!). I bought from Tarps Uk about 18 months ago but probably best to shop around. You can roll them up quite neatly as you suggest but it helps to have one person each end if you really need to keep it very neat. I like hen keeping, OH likes a tidyish garden so I try to meet him half way. I use Omlet bungees when I am extending the tarps along the sides as they give the closest fit and stop the tarp flapping, but I have other bungees from Tarps Uk to do the rolling up fixing thing as they are longer length. They take two ticks to wash down on a dry, sunny day ... they tend to get a bit scummy with the weather over the winter? I would not be without them, though, and on a windy, rainy day, I am sure they make a significant difference to life in the WIR, which is on bare earth and woodchip. I love the Omlet WIR but I do really like the look of the one you are having! Good luck.
  5. I have to say that Lottie died before Christmas, leaving Leia on her own. She is four now and has outlived the two ex-barn rescue hens we got in March. She's in very good condition and has laid ten eggs since Christmas, having stopped in October for a full moult. She seems very happy at the moment, very active and gets to free range with OH at lunchtimes for about half an hour, so we are going to leave her as she is and see how she goes. She did find the introductions very stressful last time, but then again she wasn't top bird so that probably didn't help her. She doesn't really know how to hold her own very well with hens, although she has my OH right where she wants him during the day ... Good luck with your new hens and I'd like to know how it goes just in case. Mrs Potts
  6. Hi. I am very sorry to hear she is so ill. Like you, I separate hens who seem this ill as I think peace and quiet and passing away at home are usually best. I had one put to sleep by the vet because I thought she was in huge discomfort and that was the best decision for her, in that situation. I think your vet sounds harsh and clearly doesn't get what potential we see in our ex-battery hens. How very disrespectful to you as a customer and hen as patient! Don't give up on the vet as a back up; is it possible for you to ring around to see if some have more experience than others? Our usual vet told me there was "not much research on hamster illnesses" whenever our hamsters had to visit, on repeat, every visit so I changed vet. I rang around when I started having hens. I go to a rural practice and she was a bit bemused at first, but she is great now and very respectful, and lets me do the holding. Take care and a big hug.
  7. Hi. Leia came to live with us in July 2010 and she is an ex battery. She last laid an egg at end September this year, or thereabouts, and then had a complete moult until mid November. She looked worse than when she arrived. I hoped that she had stopped laying as we lost two hens in three months to egg complications (Alys in October and Lottie in mid December). We were hoping for a quiet retirement for her. She is still very mentally lively and doesn't seem to have noticed that Lottie has gone at all, free ranges every day and sits in the kitchen watching the washing machine. I think the moult might have had an HRT effect, though, as she laid us an egg on Boxing Day and one today. I did not want to hijack Old Dora's thread below; these are such lovely ladies. I hope Leia lasts for ages; she's watching me through the window at the moment, telling me loudly to get a shift on and come and let her OUT. Mrs Potts
  8. Hi, Just to say that I have just assisted one of my hens through a moult with a little added tuna/meal worms at breakfast but I think it must be a taste thing, because some of my past hens won't eat it. Our moulter is quite old now, an ex battery lady approaching four years old who decided to moult for the first time in late October. She lost pretty much every feather in the space of about ten days, even from her head! There were feathers all over the garden, so what I had previously thought with others was a moult was nothing compared to this. To help her along, she had pellet porridge every day, with a teaspoon of tuna on top, or a handful of mealworms. I have to say she herself developed a serious taste for another hen's feathers earlier this year, so much so that the other hen developed a small, bleeding patch on her back. I separated the hen that was being eaten until her new feathers had grown to about half an inch long and covered everything up. They all got extra mealworms and the odd spoon of tuna during this time though, and there was no more pecking when they were back together. So, I don't give it every day but from experience, it can help. I have never given them milk, though, and always make their porridge with water. The warming pads are an excellent idea for night time as we only have two oldies who rattle about in their Classic at night. Once, for a lone hen, I used a warm hot water bottle covered with a couple of inches of bedding in the nest box. Not standard practice, but it was several degrees below and she was on her own. Also, I know that yours are young but mine get blue, dry combs if I don't put vaseline on them in this weather, but have lovely pink combs if I do. I made my perches with broom handles and facing bricks but also have two piles of logs for them to jump up and down from and they spend a lot of time on these during the day. You sound as if you are trying to do all the normal sensible things to take care of your hens. I think winter is the most difficult time (light, cold, FR time, wet, wheezes) so try not to worry and I hope that things improve for all of you. Mrs Potts
  9. I love Christmas and December. November seems to have c--r--a--w--l--e--d by since Guy Fawkes ... what a lovely frosty morning! I'm going to do some biscuit baking today and YD is off to a huge Christmas fair this evening with her friends. Happy 01st December, everyone. Mrs P.
  10. This is very difficult and you have my sympathy because you are trying to do your best. Hettie had roughly three vet trips in four months so it was frequency of trips and quality of life, rather than cost. Because of age/egg problems in the end, the decision made itself when she stopped feeding/walking. I felt another set of antibiotics/injection to help any eggs out/other treatment was unfair at that point though the vet was willing but I knew in a few weeks, we'd be back and I didn't want her to be in pain. It's more complicated with the other two we have left. Lottie has had two sets of vet help since beginning of April. She has occasional balance problems, can't jump and has a rattle sound just below her beak that occurs every 8 weeks but can't ever be diagnosed. She stopped laying in May about four weeks after arriving. Despite the list I have no doubt that she is a very happy hen, very visually alert and has a lot of cheerful life in her. Leia is 4, mad and active as a bag of frogs and going through her first ever moult (!!!) and it is a pretty complete moult, so I am watching and listening to her breathing quite closely in this cold weather. We have BHWT hens and only ever have a maximum of three or four, so they are pets and we have a really reasonably priced vet (rural type farming practice). You have my sympathy and I hope things improve for both of you.
  11. Goodbye, Alys. Re-homed as an ex-barn hen in March, we managed to get you proper lovely set of peach coloured feathers by the end of September before you went suddenly today. Glad you were in a patch of sunshine and glad it was quick for you. Mrs Potts
  12. Hi. We have three recycled hens (ex battery/barn) in a 6m square run, nothing as wonderful as your space sounds. I do lock them in at night and let them out at about 7 am. They don't free range until the evening and sometimes not even then, so we've popped quite a few things in. There's three perches of two different heights, a log pile, currently a cat basket and a low, long table like thing that used to be the top shelf of a set of shelves in the distant past. They've also got two feeders, two drinkers and two hangers for grass/vegetables. They love anything hanging up! As Chubby Chook says, it doesn't have to be expensive. Tree stakes make good, cheap perches. The shelf thing was something that was going to the tip, the cat basket kind of stayed in after a recent trip to the vet (one can't jump onto the perch at the moment and loves sitting in it, head peeking out - the others love boinking up and down on top). Good luck with the entertainment. I do have to say that I did darken the coop with a wooden board during high summer - enough to let the air circulate, but close enough to make it a lot dimmer. I can see it would be a nuisance to have to close up/open up if you had not planned on it, but better than having to get rid of them? I don't have a lot of experience of different breeds, but all my hens so far have been, ahem, refreshingly individual on the noise front. Mrs Potts
  13. Couperwife - it does make more sense to start at your toes, so I will give that a try. Chuckmum, as this is about your mum and you, is there something creative you could start to do at home that reminds you or you can do in her memory, but that she would be proud/pleased/surprised to see you doing? That way, you might be able to keep busy and think of her at the same time? I'm on a 'don't be afraid of the sewing machine' course, which is great fun and next I am going to try doing some of Jamie's 30 minute meals, to prove that actually, somewhere deep inside, I can do it too. This would make my mother roar with laughter if she could see - she was SO practical. It kind of skipped a generation with me but seems to have appeared in both daughters (thank you, Fates). Mrs Potts PS Re snoring - generally, if I pat OH, he stops snoring - for about ten seconds. Can someone point me in the direction of the snoring thread? Thank you and apologies for going off topic.
  14. Hello. I think that counselling will help; grief takes time to absorb and process before you can attempt a kind of balance in your life, so this might be helpful for you? Sorry if the words sound scientific. I am not a counsellor, but I have used them twice and found them very helpful. I had a relaxation tape when I was a teen which did work well for me before CFS, which OH treats for me with a dose of Vit C before bed, which does wonders for me. My problem is opposite - I fall asleep at work, in restaurants, during out patient appointments, so I have having to work sleep into a night time regime. Anyway, the tape. Lay down, arms at your side, just a pillow or two. Start at your left shoulder, clench the muscles and think of all the hard work you have done with those muscles that day, maybe lifting shopping or kids or the iron, then release slowly and tell the muscles to relax. Go to your elbow, then your wrist, your hand, and your fingers in turn and think about the work they do - all that typing you have done, or maybe bucket lifting for the hens, drying up or dusting? It might mean clenching muscles, tensing a joint or screwing your fingers into a fist, but something that gives that area a chance to tense, think about the work it has done, then physically unwind? Do your left hip, thigh, knee, calf, foot and toes - all the walking, going up and down stairs, pedal work when driving, chasing after hens ... Do exactly the same with your right leg, then your right arm. Left arm, left leg, right leg, right arm - that order. For your head, acknowledge the volume of work your brain has done for you without being asked during the day, and tell it to relax. Screw up your eyes, think about all all the work they have done reading, looking, checking - then relax. Individually, your ears, nose, your mouth - all muscle work talking, eating and drinking, all the listening to other people or listening out for your hens, and let them relax. Drift down to your lungs - all those breaths in and out unaided, the work that your heart has had to do, all that pumping, each time telling that organ to slowly relax, then your digestive system ... (I never made it past this point, but hopefully it gives you an idea). Mrs Potts

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