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dislaney

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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 in a week's time. My money now would be on the cockerel damage because of where the missing feathers are, and because there is no other sign of pecking. Could be wrong - but will keep you posted! Thank you.
  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 feed and drink supplements for a bit ... Hmmm! Thanks for your help.
  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 flock. They've now been with me for about 8 weeks, and the feather damage is quite strange. It looks as if all the feathers at the base of the tail along the back are broken off close to the skin, and a few more of the tail feathers are also snapped half way down. Maisie has a damaged wing feather too - it's easy to spot the broken ones as the white of the quill stands out immediately against their lovely black plumage. I can't spot any crawlies on them, there are no missing feathers elsewhere on either of them and the rest of the flock don't have any missing or damaged feathers anywhere. They aren't scratching themselves, or overly attentive on the grooming front. They are in good health, still in lay, and not being bullied as far as I can tell. The flock is in a huge enclosed grass run out in our field. Having said all of that, it also looks as if there is some new feather growth coming through too - fluffy down feathers around the base of the tail, and longer glossy feathers on the middle of the back starting to grow down towards the tail. They are also growing some new feathers on their heads. So I'm really puzzled - they seem too young to be moulting, and the feathers are damaged anyway rather than falling out. Any clues please? Is it a health or breed related issue? Thanks in advance!
  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?? Curious, and sore, of Nottinghamshire!
  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 reasonable life expectancy for a hybrid? And does it differ for pure breeds, as 4 of my other girls are Cuckoo Marans and they seem remarkably vigorous? I'll pop a tonic in the drinker though, it won't hurt.
  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 was looking really perky until a couple of days ago, when she passed a soft shelled egg and hasn't laid since. Today she became quieter and quieter, again putting herself to bed really early and looking sorry for herself. I had a feel around and there didn't appear to be an egg stuck anywhere. She has clean knickers. The whole flock has just been moved to a large new free range area in our field, out of the garden enclosure where they've spent the past 3 years. Although they all looked ecstatic when they moved in, I don't know if the stress of the move might have contributed to the older girls' declining health. Your advice would be greatly appreciated - happy to try anything to perk them up. Thanks in advance!
  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 berth. On the not so good side, they're still pecking the back of her neck as more feathers have disappeared, so as soon as the product medley arrives in the post on Monday, will try the different anti-peck sprays and see if that does the trick. Will keep you posted - thanks again!
  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. Anyway, a little while ago I noticed that she had a bit of a bald patch appearing on her right wing, and after inspection found some crawlies that I now know to be lice. Several treatments later, the crawlies have gone but the bald patch on her wing is now about 3 inches in length. The vet told me to purple spray the patch to keep the others off it (done!), put her on Feathersure (done!) and rub Fuciderm cream into the area to encourage the feathers to grow back (done!). I thought at first that Karen was removing her own feathers because of irritation from the lice, but having observed what's going on and see the broken feathers on the back of her neck as well, it's pretty obvious that the cause is the other girls. New feathers start to appear and then the next day they're gone, with the skin look a bit pink and sore. Is separation the only answer now, to give her feathers chance to be restored? I've tried anti-pek spray but none of them seem to realise what it's for ... All advice very gratefully received, as always. Thanks in advance.
  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 say, into everything. Sounds like the Marans would be the safer bet with the stock fencing, but it's actually the hybrids who could do with room to roam. Dilemma time ...
  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 the perimeter. Our barn cats need to be able to exit and enter relatively easily, as they currently just pop through the larger holes of the stock fence about 1/3 of the way up. Am just waiting for a quote back from our fencing chap to look at a couple of options for us: 1. Popping a short chicken wire 'skirt' (say about 15cm) to the bottom of the stock fence, to keep the girls from going through at eye level but enabling the cats to still get in and out; 2. Putting another hot wire down at ground level to deter the hens from approaching the fencing, and still letting kitties etc etc. This would have the added benefit of keep the goats contained if we ever moved them to this bit of the field. What do you think? And are there any other options we could consider? Thanks for your help! P.S. Thought about a separate electric netting system to keep them in an area within the field, but a bit worried that the donks will interfere with it ... but that's another option, I guess?

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