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mrsatroy

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About mrsatroy

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    Chicken Eggspert
  • Birthday 01/03/1974

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  1. I'll try some straw. Some bits are really bad I sink into it in my wellingtons. I had thought about pea gravel but wasn't sure how that would be when things dry out.
  2. My 15 girls and Francis my bantam rooster free range in about 1/8 of an acre in my front garden. With all the recent rain it has turned into a complete mud bath with springs bubbling up all over the place. There are some areas where it's not a complete quagmire but I am concerned about my poor little pekin bantams, silkies and my cochins with their feathery feet. Has anyone any solutions to dealing with mud??
  3. That's the way it is first thing in the morning - there's always an awful burst out the door!
  4. Yes, just happened over a few nights. First one of the black silkies decided to abandon her sister and then the same thing happened with the cochins. It makes doing a head count very difficult! Francis my little bantam rooster must think he's died and gone to heaven
  5. I have a cube, a classic and another plastic classic style coop. For whatever reason all but one of my birds have deiced to move into the cube. To say it is cosy is a bit of an understatement. There is usually at least 4 in the nest box. 4 of the birds are bantams but there are also 3 big, fluffy cochins as well as my hybrids and ex-batts! I have onle lone black silkie in another coop who seems quite happy in her isolation. How many birds have people had crammed into their coops at a a time? Should I just leave them off - it's their choice!
  6. I have 3 of my flock on antibiotics for a respiratory illness - they are currently living in my hall! Of the 3 2 of them are still laying - but when I pick them up they seem very thin, I can feel their breast bone and it seems very prominent. My little silkie who recently started laying feels the same too.The sick hen that I think only lays periodically or not at all is much more solid and is a very healthy looking hen despite being the oldest - she's nearly 4. Is there anything I can do to improve the condition of the flock. I am currently giving them a poultry supplement that's seaweed based with added calcium. I give them sardines, mixed grain, and sweetcorn as a treat. In addition they have constant access to their layers pellets and they free range in half the garden under the fruit trees.
  7. That's very interesting! My lovely cochin Hazel Nut has gone from a beautiful, big fluffy hen to a mangy half feathered bird in the matter of 2 weeks! Glad to know she's just following her natural cycle!
  8. I agree - I had to stop using the grubs for feed. The hedge sparrows were treating it as a buffet - they were so fat they couldn't get off the ground. The wild birds were eating more than the chickens. I now use 2 treadle feeders and find them good as I can fill them up if I am away for a few days and only have to get someone to let the girls out in the morning and lock in at night. Do get earwigs in the feeders at this time of year tho.
  9. She's eating and drinking ok and comes out from under the bushes to potter about. It's very hard to know what level of site she has - it's enough to be able to see grain on the ground and other little bits. Possibly her recent habit to hiding in the bushes is due to my little black cat getting into the run and stalking her. My cats don't usually bother the girls and if they get too close there's an awful lot of squawking but perhaps for poor Flora it was like being stalked by a huge leopard and gave her a bit of a fright.
  10. My little red bantam Flora has always had rather strange eyes. In that her pupils always seemed very small and didn't dilate in light like normal eyes. That said she never seemed to have any trouble finding food and pottered about the same as the others - running away from Francis my resident bantam rooster. I did notice she was always in bed earlier than the others but I figured maybe because of her eyes she didn't see as well as the sun began to go down. In recent weeks she has taken to hiding under my fruit bushes and seems less certain about things. She still rushes out when I give a shake or grain or some other treat in the evenings. Not quite sure what to do with her, she's just over a year old and I am worried in case she's beginning to decline. Has anyone else ever experienced eye problems in their chickens??
  11. Definitely agree that when it comes to introductions the midlle and bottom girls are the most problematic. They view it as a way to move up the social ladder and therefore seem to go at the newbies handbags flying. Rosie, who I consider my top hen has never been mean or bossy to any newbies, she just ignores them, safe and secure in the fact that she is the boss.
  12. Very sorry to hear about Elvis - what agreat age she lived to. You can take comfort from the wonderful ife you gave her. I lost 2 of my ex-batts in the past few months after only getting them in November. They hide illness so well. Very hard to lose any girl.
  13. I recently got 2 black silkies and they are just so pretty with their fuzzy mops on top. I also have 3 cochins and adore them - they are very big birds and my partridge one is particulary pretty - her feathers have a beautiful pattern. The rest of my crew are pekins, hybrids and ex-batts. Each is stunning in their own way with beautiful patterns in their plummage or stunning colour particularly when the sun catches their feathers in the evening light.
  14. Yes, I try and take a bit of comfort from the fact that even if it was just for a few months they were able to dust bath, scratch about, and feel the wind and the sun on their feathers. Hoping to get some more ex-batts in January.
  15. I am in a similar situation too. I have 16 girls and am getting 4-5 eggs a day. I suppose when I break it down I am not as bad as you - as 4 are pullets and 4 are ex-batts I rescued last November. I know my cochin wouldn't be as prolific a layer as hybrids. My remaining hybrids vary from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years of age. Sometimes I think the flock is a bit on the underfed side and when I pick some of them up their breast bone seems very prominent. They are fed principally layers pellets, with some scratch in the evening, they get a treat sometimes of watermelon or sardines. I wormed them all recently and coming into the spring I gave them some poultry supplement. I jsut still sometimes think they are a raggy looking lot!

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