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Everything posted by Jenthelibrarian

  1. Our previous experience of introducing two new girls to one old one went very smoothly, our Tilly made sure the new ones knew their place and then pretty much became their nice aunty and all was harmony. Sadly she died at the weekend. We are now trying to introduce two new girls to Lucy, who has always been a bit flighty, and is now being horrible. We have an Eglu classic coop with an extension section to the run, and some Omlet netting. Day one we put the new girls in the Eglu run, with Lucy outside but contained in a pen of netting so they could see each other. That evening we opened the door of the Eglu run, the new girls came out into the pen area, but were attacked by Lucy. That night she roosted in the Eglu coop, having chased the new girls out to sleep in the Eglu run. We threw a tarpaulin over the whole thing to keep the wind and rain off and keep them quiet in the morning. Last night we contrived a temporary house for bad Lucy, in a separate netting pen. The new girls seemed too scared to go into the coop and again slept in the Eglu run, with a tarpaulin over them. This morning one of them laid an egg out in the open run, although we have since seen her go into the coop [progress!?] Lucy seems stressed and enraged by two strangers being in 'her' home. So: do we stick to our guns and banish her to the temporary home, letting the new girls settle in the Eglu? Or: would it be better to let Lucy reclaim the Eglu and banish them? My inclination is to keep the new girls in the Eglu and hope they establish some rights, but will this drive Lucy to further rage? Help! To make it clear - my list of hens below is now out of date, we currently have Lucy plus two new arrivals.
  2. http://guff.com/glt-wang-rong-rollin-chick-chick/20?ts_pid=2 Weird and wonderful chicken-themed insanity. Possibly NSFW or very delicate viewers.
  3. Thanks both! She's still a poorly old chook, although she perked up to scoff down some mashed spud softened up with yoghurt. As I was worried about fluid intake I got some grapes and I've been offering those chopped up and floating in a bowl of water and she took some. She's been dozing quietly in the sunshine, and I'm unwilling to disturb her too much. I think it's the vet tomorrow, although I'm really worried that she won't come home with me
  4. My black hybrid hen, Tilly, is just about three years old and currently not right. Here's everything I can think of telling you all in the hopes of some advice.... Over the past couple of days she has been off-and-on listless with her tail down. She is producing very runny poops, greeny in colour. She also has little bouts of doing a funny little gulping head-jerk, like someone about to throw up or maybe like a hiccup. No eggs for several days, she usually lays regularly. As far as we can tell her crop feels normal. The other two are not bothering her at all. A couple of days ago I was all for calling the vet and she was suddenly back to herself. This morning once again she was all sorry for herself and lurking in the coop, but I returned from work this afternoon to find her out and about and jumping into my lap and up onto our patio table for crumbs of rice cake. Any ideas?
  5. One of our girlies has just succeeded in making her way into the garden next door, needless to say the 'wrong' neighbours to visit As they have a dog I am concerned that this should not happen again. Luckily they were out, the dog wasn't there and the side gate wasn't locked so we went and retrieved her. I have popped an apologetic postcard in their letter-box, in case we were seen She likes to jump up onto some low-ish fencing that screens our bins, so we're guessing she got up there and then onto the high perimeter fence and over into enemy territory. Does anyone know if those strips of plastic spikes they use to stop pigeons would keep her off the fence? The side boundary is 'theirs' and I don't think they'd like it on their fence, but we could put it on the lower level that is ours. Any other suggestions? We do have a pen of Omlet netting but I really don't want to put a total end to FR-ing in our garden as it's much of the fun for us and for them to have them out and about. Bad, bad Rosie-chook!
  6. I'm really not a fan of winter... It's cold and wet outside, the garden is dull and muddy. Two of my girlies have decided to moult and look really scruffy and I worry that they're cold. Poor Tilly has a nearly-bald neck and undercarriage and Rosie looks silly without her tail. Neither of them is laying their usual lovely eggs I was watching them chickening about, cheery as ever, while we cleaned out the Eglu and run in the cold wind and I commented to my husband that I really love my chickens very dearly, but maybe just a wee bit less so over the winter months. He said we should look into getting them to migrate and fly south for the winter Anyone successfully trained theirs to do this, by any chance...??
  7. A friend shared this with me on Facebook: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/03/chicken-sneeze-video_n_6092186.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063 My girlies have sneezed, and once I thought one of them had the hiccups Is this a sneeze, I'm actually not sure. Unless they have her in the house because she is poorly
  8. http://www.sunnyskyz.com/blog/341/He-Built-A-Chicken-Coop-That-s-Probably-Nicer-Than-Your-House-Look-What-It-Can-Do This is amazing, I love the way it's solar-powered And yes, I think it is probably nicer than my house
  9. I have an Eglu classic with an extended run. I am also lucky enough to have a fairly large but safe and secure garden, so our three chooks have a daily session out and about. Much as we love them they are silly-tame to the point of being a nuisance sometimes, if you want to garden in peace, or enjoy a cuppa without someone sticking their beak into it My OH splurged on a long length of Omlet netting/fencing and has set it up in a big loop, enclosing their run so we've been putting them out into what's become known as their 'pen'. Today I let them out into this enclosure and went back indoors to carry on being busy, with regular checks to make sure everyone was OK. Then I noticed - two hens inside the fence and Rosie happily gallivanting about in the great outside So: warning - Omlet netting fence may not be entirely chicken-proof At least - not Rosie-proof
  10. Last summer my [then] two learned how to open the sliding door to my greenhouse and help themselves to tomatoes. You stick your beak into the tiny crack, then push your head through.... This year I am making sure I keep the door firmly latched. I really do not know who ever thought 'bird-brain' should be a term of abuse
  11. We were down to one hen, Tilly, who had been with us for about two years as we'd sadly had to have her companion PTS. We were keen to get her company as quickly as possible, and decided that two against one might be best. We introduced to new POL girls, from the same supplier, and it all went far more easily than I'd been led to expect We put an extra food dish in the run and let Tilly out on her own every day, so she could get away from the 'noobs' and they had time away from her. Soon they were pacing up and down the run, watching her and calling to her when she was out. We had only very, very minor squabbles and squawks and everyone happily went in to roost together from the very first night. Tilly very much took on the role of the bossy big sister, although I can see that the pecking order might not be so obvious with chooks of a similar age meeting up. Good luck, and let us know how you get on...!
  12. Another suggestion I took up from this forum, and which seems to have helped is egg-shells plus cod liver oil. After some trial and error here's my method: I save up a few shells, and bake them in the oven with other cooking jobs, or pop them into the cooling oven once I'm done with baking. This makes them very brittle and easier to crush down. I crush them very finely using a mortar & pestle, but a rolling pin is good. We sieve out the powder from the end of bags of layers pellets and mix the finely crushed shell into this. I keep a special tupperware pot in the kitchen on the go, it also gets the crumbs from the bottom of cereal packs and any other dry stuff the hens might eat I make up a dish of mash for chook suppers a couple of times a week, mixing my powder jar stuff with a little yoghurt and water and the contents of a cod liver oil capsule [pierce the gelatin shell and squeeze in]. I buy the very cheapest supermarket own-brand ones. I might also chuck in a pinch of poultry spice-type tonic, and any s"Ooops, word censored!"s like chopped apple cores, the inside bits of red peppers, you know the type of thing...Whatever's handy My girlies wolf this down, and [touch wood!] no waste from expensive pellets and no more softies!
  13. This is wonderful, lovely idea I'm going to be a wee bit cheeky here and plug an organisation I've been involved with since long before I had my hens, one that many chook-keeping people could get involved with if there's a group in your area. And if there isn't you should set one up Contact The Elderly organises monthy tea-parties for lonely and isolated elderly people. Volunteers either host parties or pick up and drive the guests to the venue. I do hosting and now the group has grown I only need to hold a party once or twice a year. We usually have an xmas 'special' and something in the summer like a visit to a nice garden centre, but groups do vary. My group come to my house for a couple of hours of chat and afternoon tea which I prepare, the volunteer drivers help serve and clear up. The group used to know me as 'Jenny with the naughty ginger kitten' and I'm now 'Jenny with the bad ginger cat and the lovely hens'
  14. Thanks all! Husband now home, chicken was stood for several minutes with foot in bowl of warm salty water and bandaged with a snippet of wound-pad and copious micro-pore tape. She was apparently fine before but is now standing on one leg looking slightly miffed, but not refusing treats or a nice swig of tea-dregs Will obvs keep an eye on her, here's hoping she heals up OK. I do <3 this forum, my thanks again.
  15. I have just seen the post about a bleeding toe further down the forum Will let them back out onto the grass, their run is half slab which is a bit 'poopy' and half wood-chip so the grass is probably cleaner and softer! Husband will come home early to do bandage-wrangling if necessary!
  16. One of my girls has just bled all down my trousers and leg The good news: it's not coming out of her bottom... She seems to have broken or torn off most of the claw of her right middle toe. I have held her firmly under one arm and gripped it in a wodge of kitchen paper, but I'm on my own here and she got fed up and wriggled free. She seems oblivious to it, and is not crying or limping, but obviously as she walks or scratches it seems to bleed again. I cannot see how I can possibly keep it clean or do much about it. Any bright ideas, please? And is it sufficient just to wash myself thoroughly, I'm a tiny bit squicky about blood, I can't catch anything off her?
  17. You coop and run look lovely, and well done for rescuing hens. The only thing I'd add to the comments is that there really is no need to get up at 5.30am to let them out, unless you are an early riser. We keep ours shut in their Eglu until about 7.00am-ish on weekdays, and 8.00am at weekends as this keeps the jolly 'someone's laid a lovely egg' singing [loud, prolonged shouty calls] to 'daytime' and allows everyone to sleep undisturbed until civilised o'clock. Sociable chicken-hours and gifts off eggs have helped keep our neighbours onside. The girlies might grumble [quietly] and bang about a bit in the morning before being liberated, but they're absolutely fine. They will go in to roost very early in the winter months anyway and not get up until daylight, they don't starve to death overnight, or expire from boredom
  18. We have a fierce, bad ginger cat When we first had our hens, and they spent their initial week shut in their run, he was fascinated and spent much his time right outside the wire, staring in. The girls soon got used to his being there. Then he came into the house looking as sheepish as a cat can look, with a mark on his nose that looked like a peck to us Once we started letting the hens out we kept a large water pistol [our kids' old 'super-soakers'] at each end of the garden and soon he would run just at the sound of them being pumped up. I'm sure a hose would do the trick, or a plant spray bottle if you can get the range. Two years on he mostly ignores the hens, our two new girls have mostly stopped making alarm calls at him, and the odd skirmish, when he seems unable to resist stalking them if their backs are turned, ends in the cat being seen off.
  19. Hello! *waves from Marlow Mathilda, our Pepperpot, is going strong and now happily 'auntie-ing' the two new girls. We wondering if she will remember how to open the door of the greenhouse to steal tomatoes once they're ripe, like she learned last summer. And will she teach the 'noobs'?
  20. I really, really like this http://nerdapproved.com/approved-products/your-chickens-can-live-in-the-hobbit-hole-of-their-dreams/
  21. Has anyone tried, or have anything to say about, Slug Gone wool pellets, please? Are they safe to use around hens? I mostly want to use them around greenhouse crops like my cukes and courgettes and in planters, but I can't be sure the hens won't get at them. Last year they learned to open the sliding door of the greenhouse to steal ripe tomatoes, cheeky madams http://www.sluggone.com/ I am plagued with slugs at the moment, I guess it's the wet after some warm weather and the mild winter not killing them off They are getting into my Eglu and the hens' food as well as colonising my compost bins. My chooks will eat the small black ones, but are quite wary of the big spotted ones, as well they might be, poor girls
  22. High fences here so nope, the neighbours don't join in. Unless you count helpfully leaving empty egg boxes on my doorstep - which I take as mute pleading to be top of the free eggs rota I was thinking 'You know you are crazy chicken people when...the pockets of every coat/jacket/cardigan/pair of jeans you own have a few grains of 'scratch' corn or bits of rice cake lurking in the bottom of them'
  23. Just a wee word of warning...we are now on our second one of these - first one disappeared and we can only conclude that it was stolen by squirrels Have to hide ours in the summerhouse with the chicken-kit once they've had a rousing game of chook football
  24. I just did an hour of gardening, with my chooks on the loose. Really rather thrilled that both the new girls are taking treats from my hands now, and for the first time Rosie climbed into my lap in order to reach a bit of 'chicken biscuit' [those rather nice Corn Thins, used as a decoy so we can eat our elevenses in peace] Lucy, the Calder Ranger, is smaller and younger and still inclinded to startle and jump but is in there with the others for treats. *happy dance Here they are: Rosie on the right with the ligher tail feathers and Lucy on the left. I expect that Tilly was up on the table, helping herself to swigs of tea and stealing food Introducing the noobs by jenthelibrarian, on Flickr
  25. I'm sorry to hear of your loss, we recently had to have one of our girls PTS, so my sympathies. We were left with one two-year-old hen and decided to introduce two new POLs to her. This has actually been a great success and far easier than we anticipated. If you have room for two, I'd recommend it! We hoped the two 'noobs' would stick together and that Tilly couldn't take on both of them, or keep both of them from the food and water at once and this proved to be the case. At first we had a wee bit of pecking, but we put in a separate food dish, and a bunny-style drinking bottle, at the 'house' end of the Eglu run, with the normal Grub and Glug staying at the door end. The first night they all went in to roost together, no problem. I tried to visit regularly, with treats, and soon had the 'noobs' shyly taking mealworms from my hands. I then went off for a week in the USA, leaving my husband to cope. He kept them in for a week, on my return they are all enjoying short supervised runs in the garden, and will go 'home' when they see their supper dish. Getting them all back in was my biggest worry Tilly is her usual tame and friendly self, leaping into my lap for grapes. The new girls are still a bit wary, but will snatch a grape from my fingers. I'm hoping with better weather and more time they'll become more confident. I do hope you have as smooth a ride as we've had, what ever you decide to do. Good luck!

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