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Everything posted by merlina

  1. tons of squirrels. But I don't fancy their chances getting in the run and getting to the nest box (and out again) in one piece.....
  2. Recently got my first cohort of ex-commercial girls. 'The Fraggles' as they've been dubbed until proper names make themselves evident, are settling in nicely But they bury their eggs! I've never seen this before. There's never more than one egg sitting proudly in the nest box - others have been covered up. Properly buried deep in the straw. Why are they doing this? Is it anything to be concerned about?
  3. The QAA sets benchmarking standards about all kinds of things (prompt feedback, what consititutes level 5 attainment etc) It does a comprehensive review of every Uni every 5 years. They've just done ours - a properly painful process and millions of words of documents On a more day to day basis, you're quite right. If there's a new course, that's approved by a validation panel which includes people from another Uni, other Faculties and industry (if relevant). It also includes a quality specialist who advises on QAA standards being met - and the whole panel has to sign off that it is Research, again, the RAE every few years 'benchmarks' that to ensure that Unis are producing quality research - and hits them in the pocket if not. So most academics, most of the time, aren't in touch with the QAA, but they are imposing its standards/dictats When it comes to complaints, they're dealt with by he OIA (office of the Independent Adjudicator) under delegated authority from the QAA This is Universities - why make anything simple when you can turn it into an administrative and bureaucratic nightmare!
  4. The QAA is responsible for monitoring standards in HE http://www.qaa.ac.uk/en The OU never has been afaik. - like all other Unis, it may offer its degrees, or part of them, at various other 'new' Unis or FE colleges in this country and abroad, or oversee the transition of new Unis External examiners are responsible for helping to ensure the quality of individual programmes or courses, especially from an academic quality and comparability perspective, rather than the university overall.
  5. Yes it might well be possible to defer for a year - she should have a personal tutor and/or a 'retention' worker who can help with that. (we would allow it, but every Uni and even courses within unis, have their own rules). The accommodation fees are a different problem. Usually, if they can find someone to take over the room, you should get most of that back - again, you need to talk about the arrangements with a welfare officer Is she getting all the help she's entitled to? All our wheelchair users have helpers who are paid for with a disabled students' allowance. I don't know the details, but the Uni should have a disability officer who can talk through her problems and needs and funding available. Generally each 30 credit module requires 300 hours of learning. So, yes if you crammed all the learning into the teaching weeks , then you'd be doing that many hours per week. But most Unis will teach for 8-12 weeks and then have a 3/4 week period of no classes for assessment etc. So that averages around a 40 hour week. Some courses (lab-based, medicine etc) are notorious for requiring more and many humanities students get by on much less because they just don't do all the reading they should! Most campuses also have really excellent medical facilities, so, again, if she's having problems a new doctor (campus doctors are usually at the bleeding edge of medical developments) might have some new suggestions for her to help her condition. It's also worth mentioning that it's really normal for students to have a horrible first few weeks. For every student who looks like they're having a great time, there's another sobbing in their room on their own. And even those who love it tend to hit a 'down' and think about packing it in somewhere in the first term. Personally, I think there's an over-emphasis on getting students out and getting them horribly drunk in freshers events. There's a whole heap of other activities - clubs, student media, political groups etc etc to get involved with through the student union. Feel free to PM me if I can help with anything
  6. I'd be interested to know what she hates... Many first years hate Uni because they're really not ready to be away from home - they needed another year to grow up a bit, perhaps break family ties a little more, be more used to being independent. That's the main reason we lose 1st year students. Some come back to us or go to other Unis a year later and make a great success of it. Some hate it because they're not on the right course. Not usually our courses - ours are the ones they tend to come to after finally persuading parents they just aren't cut out for engineering/business/whatever. A few hate it because they didn't come to open days etc, so what thy get really isn't what they were expecting - the culture shock is massive. Sometimes they can get over that, very often they need to e at a different sort of Uni (more/less formal/pressured/competitive etc) The OU really isn't great for an 18 year old starting out. The main thing you get from Uni isn't really the degree - it's the experience - such as making contacts in industry, industrial placements, discovering career goals (which almost always change in some way). For many it's the personal statements from Unis that convince employers - in your daughter's field, for eg, the attendance record is key as is evidence of, for eg, showing they organised projects, worked in groups and so on. Is your daughter trying to say she'd rather do an art degree? It's important to get her out reasonably quickly if she's going to leave - just because of the implications for fees. That varies between Unis, but for us they don't get charged as far as student loans are concerned if they leave by week 6.
  7. Indeed. My garden looks like there have been some very nasty accidents And one of my hens in particular looks awful. She didn't moult last year (or not that I noticed) so seems to be making up for it. She's so bedraggled I'm worried someone will call the RSPCA!
  8. Thanks I do put everything (fabric wise) i get from ebay in the freezer - often before I open it Have never had any problem before So I'll be trying the delicate stuff as soon as I've cleared some space
  9. good plan. There's one of the covers that's damaged (hence being a price I could manage!) so will try with that
  10. Do I win 'odd question of the week' with this one? Very aware of horror stories of bed bugs, moths etc transmitted by clothes/textiles bought on ebay, I always pop such things in the freezer for a day or two. Now I've gone and bought (ooops) some rather posh silk curtains and matching bits and bobs. So: Can I freeze them or will that shatter the silk?
  11. goth chooks!! Want! These were in Essex? That's a long way....
  12. There's loads you can try. You've just been unlucky - many people can keep hens for many many years and not have this experience. I think you've hit the nail on the head with giving them more space. Yes it's a risk. It's a risk every time we let our cat (or even our kids!) out of the house. Personally (I live in the country), I let me hens FR all day every day in the summer. Yes it's a risk and I might feel differently if anything bad had ever happened. But after 4 years, it hasn't. So I'd keep trying with that As you suggest, it's about breaking a habit. I'd try splitting them up into 2 groups - at least in the run, if the extra FR doesn't work. Or isolating the worst pecker (again in the run, so they can still see the others) And then I'd hope the change of seasons made a difference (sometimes it does, but it's a long shot) And then I'd hope that your girls being that bit older next summer would make a big difference - they often seem less feisty after their first year In other words there isn't a foolproof tactic. You could certainly try rehoming one or more of them - anything that changes the dynamic can work Sorry you've had such a problematic 1st experience
  13. I use the Marriages organic and the hens do well on it I previously used Allen and Page organic (from Countrywide stores), but the girls seem to have decided they prefer the Marriages by a large margin Omlet's own organic has also gone down OK
  14. If you're not close, I'd say you don't have to give an explanation Just 'prior commitment' or 'not free that weekend' should suffice?
  15. Not sure but I recall a family's pet sheep being destroyed a few years ago (during one of the health scares) because they were 'livestock' even though they were always in their garden. They went to a solicitor to try and have them declared pets/not livestock and failed That's the trouble with vague laws!
  16. I also wouldn't use it for an extended period. The usual recommendation is 7 days or 10 for a bad infestation So I would (and this is my personal take, no criticism of anyone who would do anything different!) Feed the medicated feed for 10 days Then feed normal feed for 3/4 weeks Then do another week/10 days on the medicated Then perhaps do another week on the medicated just before it expires I just really wouldn't want my girls having more medication than necessary (when I had too much medicated feed once I ended up feeding it to the wild birds - apparently it's good for them too and judging by the massive flocks of sparrows and others round here it definitely didn't do any harm ) Also - another vote for Farm & Pet place and their smaller bags and excellent service
  17. Aldi or Lidl have something similar. Not sure which or if it's a regular stock item, but boyfriend's mum seems to buy these regularly and she only uses those and Asda, and am pretty sure they're not from Asda
  18. I completely agree with the OP Many years ago I turned down a very highly paid (vs what I was earning at the time anyway!) job with the RSPCA for similar reasons. And had a lot of angst for years after about whether I'd done the right thing. (both for me and for them). The woman has a right to the legal minimum maternity pay from the charity which (I think, I have never owned a business), the charity can get back from the Government. I certainly don't think charities should be paying above the minimum. Overall, I think charities are in a difficult position here. They want to employ 'proper/professional' staff and give them decent conditions, but too many seem to have lost sight of the 'every business expense is money out of the mouths of kittens' mantra that we used to have on all our notices when I ran a charity (a small one manned entirely by volunteers). Personally, I think charities should do more to employ people who are really dedicated to to aims of the charity - there are enough out there. And should make the most of older/semi-retired folk who will do a top-level job for less than top rates of pay. It certainly does make me and many others very wary of giving cash to certain, perhaps most, organisations
  19. aww, that's a shame I live in a very rural area too - that used to be all about country folk with country noises (and smells!) and has become gentrified/townified over the years - and where I'm sure cockerels would no longer be welcome I do rather think it would be great if we could choose our neighbours - so all the folk who want to play death metal until 4am could live together. the folk with squealing kids could live in another zone and those of us who have/like animal noises could be together somewhere else
  20. Mine scoffed pansies like they were the bestest treat ever (including a hanging basket I'd taken down to fiddle with - pansies all gone in an hour). They don't eat lavender and rosemary. Perhaps surprisingly, they have no interest in primroses/cowslips etc. Peonies have been untouched. Bulbs of all kinds generally aren't interesting. Unfortunately they also have zero interest in nettles, cow parsley, thistles etc
  21. Just wondering.... How do you get free listings on ebay? I've heard several people say they 'just get them' - but I don't Any idea how I can? Thanks!
  22. This: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-33457704 why aren't they using one of the hen rehoming charities? Surely they must know about them?
  23. In the summer I mostly work shorter days and they're usually out from early until they put themselves to bed; unless I'm going to be home after dark. In winter, it's dark when I leave and dark before I get home, so they only get out at weekends, and even then only if I'm at home all day. Hens are ace manipulators who are expert at making you think they are hard done by. When mine get to free range all day, they actually spend 99% of the day by the conservatory door hoping treats will materialise
  24. Thanks for your comments. It's nice to be in a place where people understand. @alisgirls I didn't find the kind of video I was looking for either, really. I more took bits of information from various ones. At one point I was pretty sure I'd use the broomstick method as several people on this forum who know what they're on about talked about using that, and there were a couple of ok videos on that. I actually took a broomstick up the garden with me - I really wasn't 100% sure I would be able to just use my hands until I actually did. At the time, I just felt I didn't want Edna's last moment to be with her head on a cold floor - soft and sentimental of me I know! What I did differently to the videos, pictures etc - all of them were about holding the hen upside down by the legs. (eg see pics here - may be upsetting: http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=8581.0 but the description is useful ) That seems to be relevant if one wishes to eat the bird, but I didn't see the need, so didn't. I did stand up to do it. Edna was wrapped in a blanket and I think that helped. It may also have helped that she was old(ish) (4.5 is quite old for a warren) and her neck didn't seem at all strong. There was literally a few second where I wasn't 100% sure I'd done it right, as she moved around, and then it was very apparent that I had. Overall, it certainly wasn't a pleasant experience, but would definitely choose that as the best way to dispatch a pet chicken again, and would feel more confident next time.
  25. Something over 4 years ago I got my first 3 chooks. They, and their successors, have made my life a much better and happier place. This week, the last of that original trio lost the use of her legs after looking a little creaky for awhile. I brought her in to the 'chicken hospital' in the conservatory and administered every kind of TLC but it was clear she was just old and not going to recover. I didn't want to take her back to the vets to be PTS (stress of the journey, not particularly positive previous experience), so, having read and read and watched videos decided that the kindest thing was to do it myself. I rather felt I owed her that, that it was the responsible thing to do. The last kindness I could give. But I was very worried that I would cause her harm or suffering. That didn't happen, and that's really why I'm posting. I took her up the back of the garden where she's been so happy as it got dark, sat her on my lap wrapped in a blanket and used the dislocation method to send her to the happy henhouse in the sky. It wasn't difficult (physically) to do. I'm glad I had read that they can open and close their beaks a few times - that was the only unpleasant bit. There was no mad flapping, she just went - apparently painlessly. I'm very glad that I did what I did they way I did. Just wanted to share that in case anyone else finds themselves in the same position. I know some people routinely cull birds, but this was a first (and a big deal) for me. I guess some people may not approve. RIP my friend Edna

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