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dance in the dark

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  1. Thanks DM, I have fed her some dried mealworms, (I have a huge tub which is a principal treat for the rest of the girls). I may buy some live worms and see how she goes with those.
  2. By way of a general update. She is still going and seems better. No where near perfect, but still. I have been syringing water down her throat and have also been hand feeding her a little bit of cat food and also balls of paste made out of pellets which I have been kind of chucking in her mouth. I have also been giving her nutridrops though they are about to run out. Her food intake has increased and her poop today is still very small, but is still the most substantial she's done since confinement on Friday. She is getting a bit more co-ordinated, she is now hitting food, though she drops most of it, her wings are quite droopy though and she is a little hunched, but certainly somewhat perkier. Does anyone have any ideas what other things would be good to feed her (preferably things that can be handfed, just in case) Generally she is still deep in the woods, but there is certainly a stronger glimmer of white than there was at the weekend.
  3. Thank you for all the advice. I have actually wormed all my birds only last month, but If she improves I will most likely worm her again. As at stands just getting food into her is a challenge. She cannot get her own food at all, I have mostly been feeding her cat food by essentially dropping it in her beak, I am also giving her water by syringe and keeping up the nutridrops. Been for a walk with her this afternoon, she has some energy which is good to see, but she is definitely not out of the woods.
  4. Oh I stupidly forgot to say (was typing on the iPad, excuse typos) she did give her a spot on treatment, so hopefully that will have helped. The baytril I think is for the slightly congested nostril she has. The thing about food is she cannot seem to aim for it properly, I took her for a walk in the garden and she was moving as to peck at the ground but was about 2" above it, it was weird.
  5. I came home last night to find my 5 year old araucana in a bad way. She seemed a little droopy and uncoordinated. I separated her, gave her some nutridrops and tbh thought she may well be gone by morning. She wasn't so I took her to the vet, thinking it would be a "final trip" she was insanely light but I hadn't notice a particular drop in appetite. Anyway it turns out she has lice. I am so annoyed at myself, never had them before and So I guess I wasn't sure what I was looking for. The vet recommended baitril (sp.?) and an on skin lice treatment. She seems a bit Perkins but she is still uncoordinated, she tries to peck at food but kind of, misses, that's the only way to describe it. I have given her some water by syringe but wonder if there is any syringible solution I can give her to give her some strength? I am aware (though the vet wasn't convinced, thinking it was something stress or weakness based) that it could be something neurological,from which she may never recover, but I was thinking it could not hurt to try and see. Any other advice welcome, sorry for the ramble, I am just mad with myself as I have never had poorly hens before really, I have been lucky. Tim
  6. I leave mine open a lot of the year as well. As for mice nibbling on tootisies, I think if a mouse got close enough to nibble on one of my girls tootsies, it would soon regret it...
  7. I think you just have to. I have a naked neck who did a five week stretch of broodiness, then took a week off and has been back on it for a week now. She does not respond to the broody cage either, so I mostly just try and shut up the house when all the eggs are laid, make sure she's healthy and eating. I wouldn't be able to give her up either.
  8. I am positive cream legbars do not really go broody. Obviously not impossible, but they are not at all known for it. Cream Legbars are pretty and have the blue or green eggs, however, they are also noisy, good fliers and often quite skittish (they have a lot of leghorn blood in them). I have had three for three years and they are inquisitive, but they are not actively friendly like some other breeds, so if they are to be proper pet chickens, they may not be the best choice. I hatched some Vorwerk last year, and sadly got three cockerels, they were beautiful but I had to give them up. From what I know, whilst they are quite good fliers they can be quite calm if well tamed. I certainly wish I could have some vorwerk, I do not know how well they keep as pets though. Both breed are quite small in large fowl, so are a decent equivalent for hybrids size wise (though legabars can be a little bigger)
  9. I currently have some 12 week old growers and have just started feeding all of my hens growers for a while (just easier to remember which goes where). Most of my hens have stopper laying for at least a couple of months and the hybrids are getting on so there laying is not what it was. They do well on growers, I feel it helps them to tell their body to rest whilst they are moulting. Also, if it ever care to a choice of whether to feed layers to young or growers to older the latter is best. You should not ever let growers eat layers pellets.
  10. I have the following chickens: LF: 2 Buff Orps 2 Copper Black Marans 2 Lav Araucanas 3 Cream Legbars 1 Naked Neck 2 Silver Laced wyandottes Hybrids 2 Speckledy 1 White star 2 Bluebelles They all run together and the orpingtons are always fine. I have never had issues with them. One of my araucanas get's bullied sometimes, but I think that's because for an araucana she has a big crest and it looks almost like she is a polish hen. Show quality orpingtons are big birds and blue and black orpingtons are even biggers than buffs. Generally it is only the show quality birds which are so massive and will only lay a very few eggs. My orpingtons are about the same size as my wyandottes, they are definitely heavy birds, but they are not as big as, say, a brama. My Dad always says when he sees them (compared to the rest of them) "those are proper chickens" That being said, my orps are lovely and probably the best natured of my birds. They go broody a fair bit (both sizes) but the are not agressive broodies, they just lose a lost of condition as my orps are very firm sitters. I used one to hatch some eggs and she would only come off the nest if I carried her. They are quite happy being held and don't cause any problems.
  11. Yes, just to reiterate. Cuckoo Marans should be clean legged. They are an "English spin-off" of French Marans and should not have any feathers. French Marans can be very feathery or just a bit feathery. I agree with Redwing, if you have French Marans they are nicer! I have a couple of copper black marans and they are beautiful! Also they have very few feathers on the legs so it's never a maintenance issue.
  12. It is very exciting. All my four literally hatched within about six hours which was quite a surprise. Just make sure you don't lift the broody off again till chicks are out. The silver laced are wonderful aren't they, not easy to find in large fowl, which is why I ended up hatching them.
  13. Out of the 18 chickens I have, I normally have 15 sleeping in the cube together, even though I have two eglus, one of which is always empty. normally in the cube I have: 2 Buff Orps 1 Wyandotte 1 Marans 1 White Star 2 Bluebelles 2 Speckledys 3 Cream Legbars 2 Araucanas 1 Naked Neck All of these are large fowl (well white stars are small, but they aren't banties) I try to separate them, but they won't have it. Admittedly they all free range all day, but the run on a cube would be plenty of space for 3 Orps. Most of my chickens also lay in the cube and it doesn't cause too much drama. There is space for two to lay peacefully, three if they aren't feeling "too sensitve" Also, if you have three Orpingtons it is unlikely they would all be laying on the same day as they do not lay every day.
  14. It all looks a little bare at the moment, but they will be getting fresh turf in about a week. In the first photo there are: 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes 2 White Stars 2 Bluebelles 2 Speckledy's 2 Cream Legbars 2 Lavender Araucanas 1 Cuckoo Naked Neck 1 Copper Black Marans Here we have Babs and Berta (the Orps), Magenta (naked neck) and Marianne (Copper black Marans)
  15. Here we are. Greeny is now Willow and Bluey is now Wanda And the buff orp in the background is the one who raised them
  16. I can happily confirm that all my guesses were correct. Boy was the first one and then the other three were all girls. If I can get some pics later I will post them up. Tim
  17. There are some hens who will be spotless, and others will just frequently be mucky. It tends to be more of a problem for the fluffier knickered ones. One of my Orpingtons and one of my Wyandottes both have a similar problem when they come into lay. When they are off lay, or on minimal lay they clean up but as soon as it gets to late March suddenly they get mucky again. If your case is a little like mine it's nothing to worry about, just something you have to manage in the best way you can. No doubt within about a month I will be giving Babs (Orp) a pretty significant trim, they don't look as good but at least they are clean.
  18. I would raise some chicks with the broody anyway, as has been said she would brood separately so she doesn't need mates. Broodies are perfectly happy with their own company until the eggs hatch, in fact they tend to insist on it, and when the chicks come she will be happy with them for at least six weeks. You could always get a few girls to replace the ones you have lost. Depending on your set-up with your broody -in sight of the main run or not - you would need to reintroduce the broody hen when the time came anyway.... Good luck and sorry about the fox attack. Tim
  19. I always assumed that it was because they have an instinct to make clutches. Like if you have a trio all the hens will lay their eggs for a few days in one place then one goes broody and sits. even if you don't place a hen on eggs it often isn't just her eggs she's hatching. I don't think it's just a survival thing, that's what has always made sense to me though
  20. Oh, also cream legbars. Two of mine came into lay this time last year (3rd of January I believe) and laid up until about November. One of them has had a quick moult and laid and egg on Saturday. Solid work!
  21. Speaking as someone with six hybrids and 12 pure breeds I would say that the longevity of pure breeds is appealing. I have three hybrids who barely lay (two young ones and a trouper of a bluebell, over two and still laying pretty well) and of those two, two of them have rubbish shells. I have never had a pure breed produce a soft shelled egg, plus pure breeds tend to still lay well, when in season. I have an araucana who has just finished her third season and she still laid 4/5 out of seven days through summer. Also, it is worth keeping in mind that some pure breeds will lay a bit through the winter.My Orpingtons, who are not generally great layers have gone down from about 3 eggs out of 7 days too 2. Also, my lone naked neck is still laying (but I should hope so given that she was broody three times this year!) And my marans, who are about 32 weeks old came into lay just before Christmas. That also shows another thing which is nice about pure breeds, they don't come into lay until their bodies are really ready. I have never had it happen but from what I understand pure breeds are also less prone to prolapse and being egg bound etc. If you do your research, get a good mix of breeds and get decent stock, you can rely quite well on pure breeds producing at least a few eggs through a year. Although obviously I don't know how much space you have....I have more that my parents would like... Tim
  22. So I have just had my first chicken death. I let the girls their respective eglus this morning and noticed that Columbia, my naked neck was nowhere to be seen. I have a look in the purple eglu, where she had gone to bed last night and there she was in the nest box stone cold and stiff. She had been a little under the weather about a week ago, but later that day she was fine and has seemed as chipper as ever, ever since, so I kept an eye on her, but she has been fine. I don't know what might have caused it (she was about a year old) her crop was full, but it didn't feel like impacted crop (I think she just died right after bed time). All my other girls have been absolutely fine so I think I have just been unlucky. Another detail of this story, I didn't let my girls out till 8.15 this morning, and the lone white star who was sharing that eglu with her last night had laid an egg next to her. I have now closed off that eglu as I have had to come to work and won't be able to clean it till tomorrow (I have plenty of housing space for the other birds). I think it is not really necessary to clean it (only gave it a full clean on Monday), but if I didn't and something else happened I would feel rotten! Anyway, sorry for my waffling on, it was just such a shock and, like I say, my first chicken death. Tim
  23. As redwing said. Hybrid males are very thin on the ground. Provided they were hatched by a decent place they will only have females there anyway. Most places buy in hybrids at about POL anyway. I have only had dealings with one breeder who had hybrid chicks. She bought the chicks at a young age and reared them herself (but refused to sell any before point of lay anyway) because it was cheaper. I generally always ask about sex anyway just as a little test for the breeder. If they are over keen to tell you they always hatch 90% females or something then be a bit wary. I normally ask questions like "what age were you able to sex this lot then?" and "how could you tell when you were sure?" Another thing that's good to check is if they do swaps or refunds if it does turn out you have a boy by mistake. Any good breeder will tell you things that have already been said here like "Pekin boys tend to redden up very quickly" Or say females of this breed tend to feather up quicker, but still have a small comb. On a side note. There are always potential accident. I once bought a 15 week old lavender araucana from an experienced breeder and she only told me she was 85% sure it was a girl. That was Letitia, she was a particular riddle. She looked girly but had a more boyish head, but virtually no comb. Either way she has had a full laying season so I think I am alright...
  24. It's not too funny a time for moult since it normally comes at some point in the Autumn. What breed is the chicken in question? If she is a hybrid they will moult at all kinds of bizarre times. Also I have a cream legbar who is still laying but just starting to moult.
  25. Thought I would upload a few photos as I haven't in a while. Mostly to show off this years acquisitions. the naked necks, the copper black marans and the silver laced Wyandottes I hatched myself (with help from my Orpington) in May. Sorry for the slightly rubbish quality, I had to take the flash off.... Here's Wanda Wanda wanted Willow to be sociable, but she "wasn't feeling it" Columbia the naked neck and Berta, the Orpington, Willow and Wanda's mummy Still waiting for Columbia to put her scarf order in from Santa A bit more of a general area photo. I know it looks bare, but I have just laid down six rolls of new turf so that might keep them busy for a week.... Marrianne one of my copper blacks. She crouched this weekend, so maybe an egg soon??? Madelaine, Marianne and a cream legbar who I can't identify because she is mid moult.... And a photo just to demonstrate that you can put down as many cleanly done dust baths as you like for my hite stars, they will still have a go in any actual mud patch they can find.

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