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Hen Watch

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  1. I've not been on the forum for ages. Hello again. I lost my last original Omlet girl from 2007 last week which was sad. However, yesterday I collected 3 new hybrids from Mother Hens Poultry. My new babies are: Mrs Moriarty - a Speckaldy Martha - they called her a Black Pearl but she is a Miss Pepperpot Millicent - who could be anything??? Millicent arrived in a Skyline batch but looks nothing like a Skyline apart from the head tuft and blue ears. So the chap was up front and said as she's all grey feathering she could be absolutely anything. Kids fell in love with her so we've taken a 'punt' on her. Only time will tell if we get coloured eggs.
  2. Under 50 and you don't have to register. But I registered voluntarily online with the GB Poultry Register years ago. I get text alerts if there are any Avian Flu outbreaks - but I haven't had a text for ages now. I registered so that I'd be up to date on anything local that happened. To be honest, all that happens is I get a letter twice a year confirming my registration, which I ignore as there is never any change to update. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Smallholders/index.htm Hope that helps.
  3. Spooky - I did this just this afternoon with Orange. Am on PAYGo with Orange with £22 remaining credit but phone died. So bought new Orange Magic PAYGo phone from Argos today with £10 top up. Followed the instructions in the box - Put my new sim card in old phone, copied over phone directory and it said it would keep my old number when I put it into new phone! Well it didn't. BUT - all was ok. I phoned Orange customer services, and they did it all for me. First they applied my £10 top up to the new orange tel number. Then they transferred that £10 to my old number so I had £32 credit. Then they switched my new number over to my old number and said I would receive a text when it was all done and could take up to 24 hours. But within a few hours my new phone had my old number in it plus all my credit was ok. Really needed to speak to them in person though as they sorted it all out for me. Hope that helps.
  4. Have you tried giving additional calcium? I use Limestone Flour which you can buy from a horse supply shop and put a scoop in with their feed. This helps harden their shells.
  5. I've had all manor of funny looking eggs over the years. The torpedo ones I used to get when they'd had a fright after fireworks night were especially funny. I've had probably every picture on the Omlet strange eggs page.... http://www.omlet.co.uk/guide/guide.php?view=Chickens&cat=Eggs&sub=strange If you are getting less eggs, it may be worth worming them as a precaution or perhaps giving less treats and sticking to pellets as that can affect egg production.
  6. I think you may be spot on there. My girls are old ladies now and lay really paper thin eggs due to their age. They can eat an entire egg shell in a flash and then mine move onto the yolk. My lot don't seem to like egg white though.... Have a look at the softies in the FAQ section as there are loads of ideas you might like to try. Good luck.
  7. Hi and welcome to the forum. I would be inclined to worm them all as a precaution. There is lots of additional info on the FAQ section about this. viewtopic.php?f=44&t=4720 Hope all goes well.
  8. Definately building up to it. My girls put straw, twigs, various stuff on their backs hours or sometimes minutes before laying. This is a good sign..... Fingers crossed.
  9. Hi, sounds to me like your being very proactive in all you've said so far. For interest, I tie up carrot tops, broccoli/cauliflour stalks from string to run bars at just over head height (they seem to get more out of it jumping a bit). Also dust bath, some perches (maybe just a tree branch pushed through the bars to jump on). You can also get those metal food balls from pet shops that you can stuff with lettuce or cabbage to peck at and roll around or even hang up. May not stop the pecking problem but will give them something else to think about for a while. Softies – sometimes this is just a blip that will sort itself out. However, I would suggest worming them just in case. I didn’t worm mine in the first 9 months I had them as I’d never seen worm evidence. Bought some Flubenvet as I was experiencing loss in egg production, wormed them, and to my horror found dead worms in their poo. Now I worm every 3/4 months regardless. Also, you can buy Limestone Flour (from horse supply shops) and put in a spoonful a day with their feed. This extra calcium will help harden their shells. Good luck.
  10. I have double bagged and binned before. But recently (as my daughter insisted) I took one to the vet few months ago for cremation and was charged £15. I think it may be worth ringing round a few vets as prices do seem to differ.
  11. How is she now Chic Chick? When poorly I give my lot pellets mixed with warm water to make slush. Or, if they won't eat that, a dollop of live yoghurt with maggots or corn on top. Or (and I know bread is not good for chickens) but small pieces of bread soaked in water until they are all soggy. Best of luck.
  12. Outside a run - bare earth will be great fun to scratch around on. Inside a run - I would recomend Auboise (or Hemcore) which are hemp based horse bedding. Soaks up poops lovely and I change it once a month. Use it in the nestbox too. Must be kept dry though so you would need a covered run. Buy it from horse supply / Tack shops. I get mine from Eileen Douglas Tack Shop in Wokingham.
  13. My advise would be just what you've said to shut the door. I had 4am squarking in summer 3 years ago and from then on I always shut the eglu door at night in Spring and Summer. I open it up at 7.15am (or 7.30 on Sundays) and the girls are absolutely fine. They got used to it within a few days and never make a noise inside the eglu. Slightly annoying to get up at 7.30 on Sunday, pad out into garden in dressing gown, then get back into bed, but I'm used to it now. However, in Winter I leave the door open 24/7 as with darker mornings they aren't up early enough to make noise. And when I'm on holiday I leave door open, even in Summer, as I figure one week won't hurt if they are noisy. But in fact as they've got older, they've got less noisy. Was really mostly in their first year I had concerns.
  14. I was going to say the exact opposite...... I got Omlet hybrids as I was nervous of sourcing chickens myself. They are brilliant chickens, easy to look after and definately a good intro into chicken keeping. This is only with hindsight, two of them laid an egg EVERY day (even in Winter), wore themselves out, got problems with egg laying tackle on and off for a year, then both died aged 3. That said I still have 2 hybrids left, still going strong and healthy as anything. So for me, my next purchase will be pure breedsif I can get them but I certainly wouldn't rule out more get hybrids but not exculsively. Waiting a few months for pure breeds will mean you miss great summer days in the garden with them getting used to their ways before winter sets in (when you see them less as they put themselves to bed early). I'd be inclinded to get any of your list of pure breeds available soon as well as some hybrids (for winter eggs), then you have the best of both worlds. Good luck deciding.
  15. I had similar but only in my first year of chicken keeping. In their second and third years they hardly made a sound. Like you, I also shut them in at night so at least any noise is a reasonable 7.15 or 7.30am. Also like you, I'd be up and down some days like a yo yo with hose in hand. Egg announcements I accept, but when all 4 started shrieking initially it was sometimes too much. Although it would only last maybe 10-15 mins, it would feel like a lifetime. I honestly beleive that it is akin to an attention seeking child. My lot just seemed to grow out of it. Hard I know (because I've done it) but try not to reward them with treats to pacify the noise - chickens are crafty. I did resort to this one day when I had to go to work and they'd been shouting for 30 mins. In the end I just left them to it......only happened once though. I got them in the April, they were noisy on occassion during that Summer. Then when the first winter arrived no one heard them, everyones windows were closed, the nights drew in and the chooks retired early. Hardly made a sound. Then the following Spring they seemed to have broken the habit. No extra advice but thought you might take heart from my experience. Keep going with the hose if they start up for no obvious reason.
  16. What about buying moveable housing and run and trying out all 3 areas in your garden. Eglu's are great (I have one) but equally it could be one of those arks with runs that you lift up and move around. Then fence off an area with netting. Reason I suggest this is that I move my chickens around my garden according to the seasons. They live in an eglu + run. But have Omlet netting all around to contain their free range area. Winter/Spring = eglu on patio, right outside back door, easy distance on cold days, no need to trudge over soggy grass. The winter free range area has raised beds which they can poop on and fertilize to their hearts content. Summer / Autum = eglu under shade of beech tree on other side of garden with half shade, half sun.
  17. I leave a coup cup of grit in the run all year round. Some months they don't touch it at all, and once or twice they've eaten loads in just a few days.
  18. I use 1" of Auboise (hemp horse bedding). In winter the eglu is on patio slabs with Auboise down on floor, in Spring/Summer the eglu is in permanent position on lawn (albeit no lawn under the run) but also with Auboise down as base. I cover the run to keep Auboise dry and change it once a month. So, summer set up on grass: Winter set up on patio,
  19. Oh you must consider clear corrugated plastic sheet (£6 a sheet from Wickes or B&Q). I absolutely have ANH to thank for first posting the idea and pics many moons ago. Here's my eglu, I have 3 sheets, but you could get away with 2, held in place with cheap bungee cords from Poundland.
  20. I have no problems with Auboise which I think is the same hemp product as Hemcore. I've used it for 3 years now. The run does need a good cover though to keep it dry. The only time they've had it stuck to their feet is sometimes in deepest winter when ground gets damp and the Auboise has been down a few weeks and needs changing....
  21. I don't know the answer to the question but can tell you my experience so far. 4 hybrids (3 of which from Omlet) all arrived POL April 2007. 2 died a few months ago - January and March. They were 3 years old. Both laid an egg a day for 2 years, both promptly stopped laying for the last whole year, both had peritonitis on and off, and intermittent crop problems. I think they were both just worn out from all that egg laying. However, remaining 2 Omlet hybrids ( and ) both still going strong, still laying (only every few days and very poor quality eggs) but both still extremely healthy. I had Omlet hens first as I knew where they came from, were good intro into hen keeping. However, next time I get more I will probably go for mix of hybrid and purebreeds.
  22. You can get a list of all Waitrose own-label products that a suitable for gluten free diet posted to you. Not sure if other supermarkets have similar. http://www.waitrose.com/food/healthandnutrition/specialdiets/coeliacdisease.aspx Also found on their website Recipe Search facility, and you can click on both Vegetarian and Gluten Free and see what it comes up with for ideas. http://www.waitrose.com/recipes/search.aspx
  23. I am totally the opposite of chickyhazel. I close the eglu door every night from late Spring, through Summer, until late Autum. In Winter I leave the eglu door open 24/7 and never shut it, not even when it snows...... My motivation for this madness, is purely noise levels. In Winter it's dark they get up at a reasonable hour, come out into the run when it's light. In Summer, 3 years ago when I left the door open all the time, they came out 4am sun up, got spooked by something and all 4 squarked so badly they woke my whole family up. I had to go out and pacify them, and my patience ran thin after 2 weeks of nightly disruption. From then on they were shut in at night until I get up at 7.15am. Three years later, they've not died of cold due to door open in Winter, and neither have they boiled in Summer. They've been fine.
  24. I'd be interested to hear how you get on if you do decide to go for it. I've recently lost 2 hens and now have just 2 original old ladies. I'm toying with getting 2 more but am slightly wary as introducing 1 (only 4 weeks after the originals arrived) was a nightmare. And I know that intro of 1 is worse than 2, but I am a bit nervous. Anyone out there have sucess stories of into 2 new to to old?????
  25. I'm a big softie and I've always let my girls sleep in the nestbox - usually just one at a time and they all seem to take turns. And yes, it's a right pain flicking out the poop from the nestbox every morning into the droppings tray. But then I'm opening them up anyway so not a major hardship. Some folk on this forum have had success putting upturned flower pot or footballs in nestbox at night to stop them from sleeping in there. Just have to remember to take it out first thing so you don't have a line of angry pekins waiting to lay......

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