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  1. Hi, As I explained in my long spiel, I did have some concerns and did post on here when she became a lone hen. This is due to her friends slowly succumbing to old age and us not able to continue keeping chickens in the future due to failing health, after having them for many many years. I was assured by a few folks on here that some chickens did OK and to see how she goes. We did worry at first but she seems as happy as ever on her own. As I say, this trouble re the moult resolved itself in December last year and she has been absolutely fine since, in high spirits and very healthy for a 4 year old hybrid. She has an acre of woodland/fruit orchard to free range and often comes down to the house for treats, so she is well entertained Thanks for the info about the biotin I will look into sourcing it Also for info re protein. Thanks Sokokomo
  2. Thanks - how do you feed it? And how much? I only have the one hen so not sure how much I would need....
  3. Hi Dogmother - sounds like I wasn't too far off the mark with her moult causing the issues. She is fine now thankfully, it only lasted from perhaps Sept - Dec last year. Will definitely make a note of those remedies and perhaps keep them on hand this year, thanks.
  4. Hi all - Been a while since I've visited but glad to see the forums and fellow-minded chicken lovers still going strong. I wanted to pick your brains about something strange which happened last autumn and continued for a few months... Allow me to summarise in the briefest way possible (hopefully!). After having multiple hens over the years we are sadly down to our last. She is a Light sussex and over 4 years old now. She was always top hen, and after some initial worries about how she would cope on her own, she seems to have taken it in her stride and is now happy without having to keep all the others in check. The problems started at the beginning of autumn last year, where she started her usual moult. Before any noticeable amount of feathers began to fall, I noticed some strange behaviour. She would come close to the house at dusk looking for company, and begin to look a bit 'bemused'. She would stare up to the ceiling in a sort of panicked way, and seemed not to understand where she was. I duly carried her to her coop for a few nights, but then the behaviour started to become throughout the day as opposed to just at dusk. More panicked gazes, more gazing towards the sky, and general unawareness of what she should be doing. All very strange. Then the feathers started to fall, hundreds and hundreds! She was still eating and drinking and free-ranging, but at this point had to be carried home every night. As she became balder and balder, it was as though she couldn't behave like a chicken anymore. Any time she came out, she began to walk backwards! Feeling the need to 'duck' under imaginary objects, in-between the strange staring skywards. She stopped leaving the coop in the day and sat on her perch all day and night. She would eat and drink ravenously if we held the food and water up to her, on her perch. I can only think she stayed on her perch as she was too concerned about walking, which she could only now manage backwards. I had no idea what to 'google' but stumbled upon a protein-deficiency in hens during the moult, and so began to hand-feed her growers pellets, tinned tuna, scrambled egg, anything we could think of. She ate and ate but seemed to get no better. This went on for at least a month if not 2 during the winter! Finally her feathers began to grow back (thankfully, as she was so bald and being alone in the coop couldn't have been very toasty when the snow hit). We did put a heat pack in the coop but I doubt she ever got off the perch to use it. It wasn't until she resembled a chicken again until she ventured off the perch. It took about a week of feeling comfortable in the coop, until she came down the ladder one day and hasn't looked back! Such a strange few months, and I'm pleased to report a year on she is still with us and doing as well if not better than before. However, I am feeling the autumn air approaching again and worrying if this 'illness' is likely to repeat itself this year? Has anyone ever experienced similar with their hens? She is still laying daily bless her, so I want to keep her on the layers pellets, but I have started supplementing with around 20% growers in the hope of fending-off a repeat. If indeed it was a protein-deficiency!? I could even understand her wanting to stay inside, as she was a lone-hen and the moult is stressful and leaves them vulnerable, but it was her staggering and walking backwards and general panic which was the really strange thing. Love to hear your thoughts.
  5. Hi - Thanks for the advice - do you have a link to any research, I would be interested to read up?
  6. Damn, OK, so the 'bombs' don't work? I will keep up with the Diatom and look out for any signs on the rabbit. No perches to check though - any ideas on that one? Would I see them on the rabbit? I'll have some Ivomec on standby too.... Thanks
  7. Hi Patricia - thanks for the reply! Been away on holiday so just catching up. The shed was initially creosoted (obviously doesn't work lol!) ...and the smoke bombs were Permethrin you are right I assume now all the smoke has gone it wouldn't still be toxic? It's in those sprays for rabbit hutches so hadn't really considered it still being toxic one it had dried/aired etc. and it's been 3-4 weeks since treatment. I just don't want them to come back as soon as they sense a rabbit in there!
  8. Hi - I had a large shed for my hens' accommodation but now I only have 1 lone hen left I have put her in a smaller coop for night-time and retired the chicken shed. I would like to keep my rabbit in there as a space for him to hop around, it will be larger than his hutch/run for night-time and he can wander out in the garden as he is used to. My only worry is that the shed has harboured red mite in the past. It has been uninhabited for around a month or 2...and in that time whilst it has been empty I have done 2 smoke bombs (Hatchwell?) - actually 4 smoke bombs, given the square footage - each a week apart. Apart from killing a lot of moths (), would you trust that it is red-mite free, and therefore can house the rabbit? At first I didn't think red mite would infect the rabbit, even if they were still present in the shed, but a few googles and journals later, it appears they will feed off a rabbit if there are no hens present. Would you use the shed for the rabbit? I have the option of using Ivermectin for the rabbit if the worst happens, alongside treating the shed. I was always against using Ivomec in the hens as it made the eggs inedible. No such worries for the bunny! But I don't want to knowingly infect him. Do you think the 2 treatments, a week apart will have been sufficient? Thanks Sokokomo
  9. I ask about laying because the hen who just passed away was hilarious in her chosen places to lay. It was her mission to keep us on our toes.....she used to escape the large run (scaling a 4ft fence) just to do it. One week it would be in the vegetable beds, another, underneath the greenhouse potting bench....the funniest and most ludicrous was on the bonfire which was waiting a few days to be lit....it was 6ft high and we found a clutch of eggs perched on top of some foliage haha! We always had to follow her surreptitiously to find out where she was going. Best chicken ever. Don't think Snowdrop quite has her sense of humour and will probably return to the box (I hope). Thanks all x
  10. Thanks all - I will try and suggest to my parents that she free ranges most of the time. She usually lays most days, but with the garden being nearly an acre we usually wait until after they had laid before letting them out. Do you think she will find her way back to lay, or will she lay in random places if allowed out too soon? Thankfully she was always the top hen who did go off on her own, and even found a new house to sleep in a few months ago (alone!). I think she misses bossing the others around though....
  11. So pleased to her some positive responses. She seemed to want to stay around us tonight at dusk, but once I put her back in her run she went upstairs to bed ok! I was wondering if I would eventually have to rehome to her another flock Glad to hear of some people who keep lonely hens! Hopefully she won't be too alone. All advice welcome still x
  12. Hi, Today I've ended up with a lone chicken Snowdrop's friend Annie has passed away this morning after having EP. Unfortunately after having kept chickens for 7 years I have now moved away from my parents house and they go away quite a lot now, which means we aren't looking to be chicken-keepers in the future. We want to do the best for Snowdrop and although she is a big bold girl, I worry she will be lonely. Has anyone kept a lone-chicken before successfully? She is a 3yr old hybrid (Light Sussex) but very healthy and enjoys free ranging in my parents' large, acre garden. She doesn't seem to be upset right now, or looking for her long-lost friends. Please if you have any advice for a hen on her own, I would love to hear it. Thanks, Goldie
  13. Hi all - Sorry to post what is probably such a repeated question but would like some tailored advice! I have a Black rock hen who I got at POL in April, so around 8 months old now. She had been laying well and all seemed well until she went broody. This only lasted for 4 days, during which time she continued to lay for 2 of the days, but has since been off lay. She began to do a sort of 'dance' after this which had me puzzled for quite a while, I thought it might be related to her being broody, or a ritual dance or something similar, so I didn't check her over for a week or 2 weeks of her doing it occasionally. Upon closer inspection however it appears she is moving her head and neck around to try and dislodge an impacted crop! Unbeknown to me it was the wrong thing to move them to the woodland area which has lots of long and dead grass. So classic signs and unfortunately an uncomfy hen! The mass is around tennis ball sized, hard and not going down overnight. She is however eating her layers pellets fine, and producing poos normally (albeit slightly smaller than the other two, but she is a much smaller hen). She has always been thin, and I can prominently feel her keel bone, always have done despite food ad lib. Started about 10 days ago with the olive oil and massage treatment 3 times a day, no luck there. Moved onto the maggot treatment! Still won't budge. She seems fine in herself, bright, and despite not wanting to come and greet me anymore (must have been the syringe!) I wouldn't know anything was wrong. She hasn't laid since being broody which was about 6 weeks ago. Around the same time as the impaction started I believe, so I'm not sure if its her feeling uncomfortable or still not returned to lay after broodiness. What more can I do for the crop? If she seems fine in herself would you leave it? Food is obviously still going through and around the blockage...is this good enough? I have some apple cider vinegar which I'm going to try today. Should I give a more concentrated version to her or just the normal dilution for everybody? Is she likely to be off lay because of the crop or the broodiness? Sorry for the long post. Just wondered if anyone had been through this before without the hen looking off-colour! Most of the stuff I'm reading the hens are at death's door with it. Thanks in advance, Sokokomo
  14. Hi guys, thanks for the replies...sure enough she has ventured out and seems to be the only one to like being stroked on her back and take corn from my hand, the other two are more flighty, but she still backs off when Speckledy is around! Looks like I'll just have to wait for them to start producing eggs now Oh and just one more thing...their poo(!). The black rock is doing yellowy runny poos, is this a sign of worms did I read? Where can I get Flubenvet from, just in case? And how frequently should I feed it? Thanks, Sokokomo
  15. Hi all- new here and new to hens so please excuse any basic questions! We picked up 3 hens yesterday, all between 16-24 weeks though there is a size difference. The light Sussex and the Speckledy are the largest, the Black rock is the youngest I think. Anyway, they seemed to settle in ok, no fights in the house, but the light Sussex won't come into the run! I know she hasn't eaten or drunk for nearly 24 hours now, I tried offering her some in the house but she got pecked by Speckledy for eating the food in there, and didn't drink. Lifted her into the run this morning, she tried a bit of grit, got pecked again by Speckledy, and went back in. I know a pecking order is completely natural and I don't think they're bullying her, but it would be nice if I knew she was eating! Should I let her do it in her own time or keep offering food to her separately? I dont want to start this bad habit though as then she won't have any need to venture out. Anyway I've rambled on enough - but I'm sure you all remember the worry of being new to hens! Thanks, Sokokomo.

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