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About dislaney

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    Chicken Eggspert
  1. Bottoms are lovely and fluffy and no sign of pecking! Ditto shoulder blades, and backs of heads although Maisie had a few new feathers coming through right near her comb, but not covering any bald patch at all. I have a little bantam Amanda with a bald patch from coming to us from an over-enthusiastic cockerel, so I already know what that looks like! Both girls have a good layers pellet diet and plenty of mealworms every day already. I'll start putting a tonic in their water too, and perhaps put them in with the last two ex-bats who haven't fully refeathered if they need a little boost
  2. I think she did have a cockerel! And having Googled 'cockerel feather damage hens', a lot of the photos look very similar to poor Maisie and Daisy ... But some of the feather loss looks more recent, and I've read that some hens can aggressively mount other hens, so I'll keep an eye on the situation and perhaps separate them for a bit if necessary. I've got some ex-bats refeathering in the garden and didn't want to put Maisie and Daisy in with them if they were feather-pluckers (for obvious reasons!), but it might make sense to put them in with them so they can get the benefits of the ex-bat
  3. Could they be pecking each other then? Because they came to me like this, and I don't think I have another feather pecker in the group otherwise more hens would be damaged. Or perhaps they were in with a feather pecker before they came to me, and it's just taking time for the damaged feathers to grow out?
  4. Hi all - I recently added two Copper Black Marans Maisie and Daisy to my ever expanding flock of 24 girls. The breeder said that they were around 6 months old and both were laying. They settled in really well with the group, and starting laying little dark eggs straight away. I noticed on arrival that they appeared to have some broken or missing feathers in the 'small of their back', just before the tail feathers which were more fanlike than on my other Cuckoo Marans. I didn't think that this was a problem, and they had been sprayed for 'critters' like all my new girls before adding to the
  5. Hi all - I've got an eccentric Black Star called Pippa who has the habit of jumping up at my mouth when I least expect it. This morning when bending down to pick up a rogue egg, she launched herself upwards and pecked through my lip which is now fat and bleeding. I'm assuming this isn't malicious as she's a lovely friendly hen who is easy to handle and good in every other way. I wondered if she was attracted to my shiny teeth, as she loves to peck anything bright and sparkly - in which case, I just need to keep my mouth shut when bending down! Or is there something else going on??
  6. Hi all - a belated update: sadly Angela died at the weekend, despite a further course of antibiotics. Was just about to start her on a course of probiotics but she had a little seizure in the middle of eating her treats on Sunday, then just died. Thanks for your advice - and well done to those of you with older birds still going strong! Pleased to report that my other older bird Claire has come back into lay today though, so hopefully we've managed to turn things round for her with the probiotic ... fingers crossed.
  7. Thanks folks - sounds like Angela is just suffering the ageing process (as are we all!) and perhaps will just take a steady, graceful decline to match the lovely, gentle Bluebelle character that she is. Hope that Claire manages to stay perky now - she was on tremendous form today, although despite all the noise there wasn't an egg again. Maybe tomorrow! Really good to know the life expectancy of hybrids v. pure breeds, Egluntyne - thanks for that.
  8. Morning! Well, Claire is back to normal this morning, strutting her stuff around the hen houses and making lots of 'egg on its way' noises ... what a relief! Angela is still a bit subdued but following the others around and showing interest in everything. The changes in her are more marked as she used to be the lead hen, but seems to have gradually lost status since she stopped laying. She now just seems to keep out of the way of trouble, and doesn't deal very well with being chased by the younger girls. You're right that they're getting on a bit now, Egluntyne - what would be a reason
  9. Hi all - I've now got a mixed flock of 11 hens, and my two oldest birds are Angela (4) and Claire (3). The whole flock has recently had a bacterial infection which was apparently caused (in part) by vermin, so they've been dosed twice with Denaguard as advised by the vet. The 3 younger girls who were visibly affected by the infection are now all fine, but my 2 older ladies seem to be struggling. Angela (no longer laying) looks very subdued, and is half-heartedly pecking at her food. She has ever so slightly mucky knickers still. She goes to bed about 2 hours before the rest. Claire wa
  10. Thanks folks! Following your advice - and after reading other feather pecking threads on this forum - I've ordered absolutely everything: anti-peck sprays, flowers of sulphur etc. Nothing has arrived yet, but meanwhile in desperation I found a pot of Exmarid for dogs that seemed to have many of the ingredients of the other items, particularly sulphur, and it smells like tar, so have smeared that on Karen as an interim measure. Happy to say after 2 days of Exmarid, the feathers are starting to poke through unmolested, and it's very noticeable that the other birds are giving her wing a wide b
  11. Hi all - apologies to those of you who have just been through the abscess on the beak saga with me! Another bullying related problem below ... My Warren Karen is bottom of the pecking order in a mixed group of 6 hybrids. She is pecked and bullied by all, rather than any one individual hen. Despite this, she is a lively and relentless bird, making sure she gets plenty of everything that's going, and doesn't back off easily despite the pecking - perhaps one of the reasons why she's a target? She is a good weight, very bright in herself, and is the best layer of enormous pale brown eggs.
  12. Hmmm - that's interesting. I guess it depends on the type of bird then? I have 2 Cuckoo Marans who, quite frankly, can't be bothered to fit through anything, and just like generally dawdling around if they can actually be stirred to get out of bed. I have a separate flock of 6 hybrids comprising a Bluebelle, a Warren, a Light Sussex Hybrid, a Speckledy and 2 Columbines. All much livelier and pretty much into everything - the Warren shot through the large holes in the black Omlet netting at one point, but she was quite a bit smaller then. All the hybrids are quite big girls, but as a I
  13. Thanks both - having a rethink now! Will investigate all things electric - really appreciate your help.
  14. Hi all - how secure is stock fencing to keep chickens contained within a 2 acre paddock? Reason for asking is that I'm thinking of moving our girls out of our garden and into an area of our field, and wondered what the best method of containment would be, given that I'd like them to free range as much as possible. The top part of our field backs on to neighbours gardens, and the bottom to a lane, and I'd like to keep them out of both if I can! At the moment the field boundary is set up to contain donkeys and goats, with a top strand of electric wire attached to stock fencing all around t

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