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Chicken Eggspert

Chicken Eggspert (2/19)



  1. I am possibly an exception to the rule as I am male and love my chickens. My wife, when I suggested we got them late last year was quite horrified. She has a great fear of any bird due to her watching Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" film as a child. It used to be a nightmare when we went to the coast with the mass of seagulls around. When I pointed out to her that they would be kept in a WIR at the end of the garden behind the greenhouse she agreed to go along with my 'crazy' plan. I now have 8 ladies. Initially she would not go nearer to the WIR than 10 metres, even when taking our grandchildren to see the chickens. 6 months on she is reasonably comfortable going to the edge of the run. I can never see her going inside ever, but progress has been made. She loves their eggs and overall she is happy that I have an interest in them. Ian
  2. IMHO there is a lot ot hype and ill informed trash talked about regarding GM produce. As far as I am concerned GM is a fast track to what plant breeders have been trying to do for centuries. Plant breeders try to introduce characteristics to a crop that will make it more resistant to disease and virus etc. In the case of wheat the stem length has been reduced by over half it's length during my lifetime and the weight of the 'ears' has significantly increased. This as far as I know has been done without GM but the process is the same. Selective breeding to produce a more viable crop. I have used Garvo since I got my girls in March of this year, they absolutely love it. Have I grown an extra ear or be covered in boils..................No. I don't give a jot that there is a minor GM content and will continue to feed this excellant product to my birds. Ian
  3. Firstly welcome to the forum Brea. You don't say how big your run is. My run is about 18 square metres covered on a soil base. I use Rapport both in the run and in the coop. Rapport is similar to aubiose but cheaper (I like the smell BTW when it is fresh out of the bale). My run uses 2 to 3 bales. My run is a little overdue for ground cover replacement as I have been poorly recently but I must confess that it hasn't been changed since I set up the run in March of this year. I have 8 chickens in this run. To be honest there is very very little odour from the bedding even after all of this time. I do feed my birds bokashi and regularily pick up any obvious poop piles. My initial plan was to replace the Rapport after 3 months, but to be honest the main reason for me wanting to replace it now is mainly cosmetic as the soil does mix with the straw to give it a dirty look. I am sure that some people will consider my view to be wrong, even maybe accusing me of being cruel to my birds. I assure you that they are all happy and very healthy. So in conclusion, yes I think that you do not need to change the straw every month. May I suggest that you get another or larger compost bin. You will need it. Ian
  4. Redwing, what a very useful guide to showing. I am impressed . As a matter of interest what is the optimum age to show a chicken? Ian
  5. I have decided to enhance my eggs with omega3. This I will do by adding flax seed to their diet together with a drizzle og flaxseed oil (linseed) on their spaghetti treat. My problem is I don't know how much flax seed to add to gain optimum benefit. Any ideas anyone? Ian
  6. Henchanted, I'm glad you managed to get a refund on the poor quality bran. I agree that the WW bran is good. I have recently completed about 10 kg of home made bran brew and it's good stuff equal to the WW at a fraction of the cost. I am able to give my hens a cup a day as a 'treat' without worrying about the cost. BTW they love it. Drying the bran is still an issue with the UK's unpredictable weather but i've found that I can dry about 3 kg at a time in my shed layed out on a bench. It takes about 3 days per batch and the shed pongs a bit until it's dry. When dry it takes on the typical molasses/sour smell like the WW stuff. I am about to start another batch using the last 10 kg of the sack of bran I bought. Give it a go when you get into it it is so easy to make. Ian
  7. I think it would be OK. I store my Garvo mix in a sealed polythene bucket inside my WIR and they pay it no attention whatsoever even after I've opened it to top up their feeders. Ian
  8. Quite easy really. You need a plastic container about 10cm deep of reasonable size. By the way you don't need a lid as they can't climb at any stage of their lives. Add about 3cms of bran in bottom. Drop a few hundred mealworms on top of this. Cut up a carrot and dot around, this is where the critters get their water from. I feed mine a mixture of wild bird seed and garvo pellets ground up in a coffee grinder. Change the carrots frequently and do not wet the bran. After a while and some skin shedding they will pupate. I moved mine at this stage to another container. After 2 or 3 weeks a black flightless beetle will emerge, this is your breeding stock. I understand that a breeding female can produce 200 eggs at a time. feed the beetles exactly as you did the 'worms'. As I mentioned in my first post I keep mine in a Staples paper tray. The top drawer of which I cut out the bottom and fitted fine mesh to allow the baby larvae to crawl through into the empty bran tray below. This stops the adults snacking on them. Initially they are so small you can't see them, however if yuo run your finger through the bran you will see it move. I hope this has been of help to you. Feel free to ask any question if it is not fully clear to you. Ian
  9. Sorry to disapoint you Sam but mine have taken 6 weeks to 2 months to reach about 1cm in length from the pupae stage. I understand that if you warm them up it is quicker, not too hot though Ian
  10. I've been breeding my own mealworms and the way the bran is seething I am going to end up with a serious quantity. Obviously I don't want any of this glut to be wasted so my plan is to put some in the fridge to slow them down, save some for breeding the next generation and the remainder to be frozen. Mealworms have a breeding cycle of 3 to 4 months. Idealy I'd like my frozen ones to last 3 months of feeding to my girlies . Incidentaly breeding mealworms is so easy with no smells or mess at all. I keep mine in an office 4 bay paper tray. Ian
  11. 1" x .5" will be fine 1/2" x1/2" is stronger but the visibility is less. Just make sure you get at least 19 gauge and by preferance 16 gauge mesh. Hills of Devon is the place to go IMHO. Ian
  12. I've just ordered a cream legbar and a welsummer from Happy Chicks. I think they are about 14 weeks old. I should receive mine in 4 to 6 weeks time at POL. BTW they deliver the birds for £15. Ian
  13. I agree with all the comments that have been posted so far. Here are a couple of other things you should take into account. Pure breeds generally cost a lot more than hybrids, generally 2 to 4 times the cost. When you are selecting your breed note that some do need to free range, if this isn't an option I would avoid these. I started about 6 weeks ago with a good selection of hybrids. I have now ordered 3 more .....a Black Rock at £12, a Welsummer at £25 and a Cream Legbar at £35. The latter two are pure breeds. I hope that this helps in you choices. Ian
  14. I've had my chicks for about 6 weeks now and I have no idea who is at the top of the pecking order. I've watched them for hours.........can be very amusing doing some quite unexpected things. They do like each others company and a lot of the time they spend in a tight pack despite being in a 16 square metre run. The only time I've noticed any squabbles is when I feed them wet mashed Garvo and all 6 try to eat at once from a small s/s feeder. So, what are the signs of the top hen? Once top do they remain there or is there a constant change in the pecking order? Ian

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