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About jjiande

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    Chicken Eggspert
  1. Well, having said above in this thread last year that we would rehome Cecily after her friend Gracie died, we didn't. Cecily seemed to be absolutely fine as a lone chicken and happily pottered around the garden, chatting to us gently, and made friends with one of our new kittens. She was pts at the vet's today with peritonitis. It was diagnosed at the start of May, and the vet then said there was nothing to be done as she had an infection. However, my husband said he'd rather take her home for the weekend, so vet then gave her a shot of anti-biotics... and she was pretty much fine 24 hours later. Although she's been a bit slower than usual over the last eight weeks, she's generally been great until the end of last week she was clearly starting to suffer a lot. Vet said the fact that she lasted so long and so well was a miracle, but her abdomen was solid with infected fluid today and she was so weak it was kinder to let her go. She was a funny thing: she spent a lot of her first 18 months going broody at the drop of a hat, and could be a terror when she was. But she was always a little star, and has been very affectionate over the past year or so. I will miss her hugely - running round the corner of the garden when we called her to give her a treat, or sunbathing next to the bench. She had a huge appetite, and loved nothing more than bits of pancake and blueberries on a Sunday morning.
  2. Goodbye to Gracie, our Bluebelle, who died on Thursday. She was only about 18 months. She had never had an off-colour day until I found her in the coop on Tuesday afternoon looking sorry for herself. I was going away with work for a few days and my parents were here to look after hens, cats and kids, so I took her to the vet who kept her in to give her anti-biotics and keep feeding her. Vet was pretty optimistic that it was an infection and they could catch it in time. Vet was still pretty happy at lunchtime on Thursday, but then phoned me an hour later to say she had just died after some kind of spasm. She was a great chicken - eccentric and very chatty. She used to chuckle when she got her favourite foods. We got Cecily at the same time as Gracie, and she is now on her own as we have also lost Lottie and Feathers in the last year. Cecily spends a lot of time going broody and so that combined with the fact that we just don't think we can get any more chickens at the moment means we are going to rehome her. A friend has recommended a small farm where there is a small flock of chickens and cockerels who free range in a protected area and are very well looked after. This might also give Cecily the chance to have some babies of her own, which she has always wanted. So, here ends our chicken-keeping adventures, at least for a while. It's been lovely.
  3. Today we bid farewell to Feathers, who was just coming up to 3 and a half. She started life loud and nervy, always following Lottie, who we got at the same time. As she got older she got calmer and was a total sweetheart. Always the first through the kitchen door to hoover up crumbs and the last to bed. We lost Lottie to peritonitis last summer, and Feathers took charge of the coop and newbies Cecily and Gracie. She was never off colour until the start of February when she turned into Darth Vader overnight. The vet diagnosed myco as she thought the vaccine she would have had as a chick must have worn off. She was treated and recovered, and was absolutely fine until Saturday when she lost all her energy and colour. At the vets today they thought she had been hiding an illness for a while as she had lost a lot of weight. She was so tired and weak that they said it was kinder to let her go and she was pts. I will miss her so much. She and Lottie were such stars.
  4. Hi. So our speckledy is broody (always wants to be in nestbox, angry pecking pancake chicken when you get her out). I've been getting her out and shutting the coop around midday for three days. Day 1 she tried to nest elsewhere in the garden but hasn't done that since. Not much eating and drinking and although she is sometimes more normal she is often puffed up as she walks round and making growling noises. The other three aren't responding well to her -lots of scuffles. She did lay an egg today, though, so doesn't that mean she's not properly broody? She is normally really sweet and gentle. We are off on holiday on Friday and although my parents will be here on and off and can get her out of the coop, the rest of the time we just have someone looking in to feed/water/clean up and I'm worried about how things will be. I do have a small wire cage I could use as a broody breaker, but is it better for her to be free ranging since she is still doing that? Is a cool bath a definite no-no? Should I just leave her to it or try to break her broody spell?
  5. Introductions are going well and the oldies and newbies are free-ranging together quite nicely now with only the odd scuffle. The newbies are venturing further around the garden and not being chased off. I hope to get them all into the same coop/bigger run over the weekend. However, I'm surprised how much the newbies are drinking. They are getting through half a glug a day, whereas my oldies can go for much longer (although only one lays). They seem healthy in every other way and are eating well, enjoying free-ranging etc. Poop is fine, if a bit watery (probably not a surprise). They are in the eglu run all day and there's less to do in there, so could it just be boredom? Or because they are still quite young (probably still a month off laying)? Or could it be worms or an infection? The younger one seems to be a particular culprit. I'm putting ACV with garlic in the water.
  6. Our two have been in a 2 x 3m WIR for two years now and then free range when we are home. They have been very happy with the set up. We've just got two newbies and once the intros are done they will all be in the WIR (which I'm extending to 2 x 4m) whenever we are out.
  7. Well, after five days oldies and newbies showing gentle interest in each other through the bars so I let newbies out to try free-ranging together (broom and tin of corn in hand). Just did 45 mins supervised and went pretty well. The four hung out together for a bit with only the merest peck. Then the oldies headed over to the other side of the garden which was obviously a bit far from home for newbies. They enjoyed pecking about (although they clearly dislike blackbirds) and then a trail of corn got them safely back into their run. Fingers crossed.
  8. Well, lots more grumbling this morning from Lottie but my MIL says they were quiet when she let the old girls out when she got here this afternoon. couldn't even get the old girls to eat corn near the new girls' run at all this evening. I think this may take time...
  9. My OH feels similarly and we only have 4... Gave them some corn together this evening (oldies free-ranging and newbies in their run). Looked lovely with the four of them scratching around fairly close, but Lottie then seemed to remember she was being indignant and stropped off clucking. She was definitely saying, 'as if I am going to have tea with these two...'
  10. Thank you all. The Rod Hull/emu comment really made me laugh. Have had a better look today. Her upper beak curves a little to the left but she can eat and drink fine. She has been pecking away at grass and corn on the ground too so all seems well. She's a sweet little thing.
  11. I think I'm going to need to post updates on how the introductions between my new and old chickens go in order to keep my sanity... Lottie and Feathers (the old girls) realised that something was up this morning even though Gracie and Cecily were still in their coop. They did a lot of standing around nearby looking very tall, and then Lottie kicked off with a series of alarm calls (she doesn't normally do this at all - she's normally very chilled). L and F were then free-ranging before I went to work so weren't that bothered, but when I left for work, I put L and F back into their WIR, and at this point, G and C decided to venture out into their run, which is next to the WIR. They were very happy munching on some grass and enjoying the sun, and entirely unfazed, but Lottie was not happy. She spent a lot of time in the WIR stalking up and down and making loud protests. She is top hen, even though she hasn't been well recently and has an implant to stop her laying now, but she clearly didn't want anyone thinking that she wasn't still the boss. We will keep them separate for a while before we try some communal free-ranging, but I'd like to have them integrated into the one run and coop by July as it will be easier when we are on holiday. I will now be at work until 5pmish, so I only hope my poor neighbours don't have to put up with angry squawking all day... at least I'll be able to promise them eggs again once the two newbies start to lay...
  12. Thanks for the replies. I've come a long way with chicken keeping but I think beak clipping might be a step too far for me... She is a good size and looks healthy so she must be able to eat OK. I've seen her peck up some corn today without problems, and I'd hope the Grub will be deep enough. They will join the other two in free ranging once the introductions are over, so I guess I'll keep an eye on how things go. Knew I should have come on here first instead of Google!
  13. So it's been a long time coming, but we got our two new girls today. Gracie is a beautiful Bluebelle and Cecily is a lovely Speckledy. Lottie and Feathers (Goldline and blacktail) have been with us more than two years now, and I worry that Lottie may not be long for this world, so it made sense to go for two now rather than later. They are in an eglu classic and run I got at a bargain price on ebay, next to the WIR so we can take the introductions slowly. We popped them straight into the eglu when we got them home mid afternoon and they haven't ventured out yet. They are cuddled up together at the back of the coop looking a bit shellshocked. However, we have noticed that Gracie's beak looks a bit odd. It is not scissored, but the top bit is a little shorter than the bottom. I wish I'd noticed at the breeder (who has a really good reputation) but I didn't. Gracie is obviously the younger of the pair, as her comb isn't very big at all, so might it just sort itself out as she grows? I don't want it to be a problem, and wonder if I should speak to the breeder, but the children are already getting fond of her (she is beautiful) so I don't want to take her back if it will probably all be fine... Any advice gratefully received. I knew I would start the worrying again as soon as we got the new ones...
  14. Thanks, Beantree. I will try. She's a Goldline hybrid so I wonder if she's just been bred to be such an egg-producing machine that she keeps on trying regardless . I wish she'd have a break... I was strangely happy having to buy some eggs for the first time in ages last week when she wasn't laying (our other hybrid chicken who isn't moulting seems to have decided not to bother laying either).
  15. Well, Lottie is now properly moulting. She still looks fairly fluffy but she's losing a lot of feathers every day. She's happy enough in herself and eating and drinking fine. She's still trying to lay - I have had two smallish eggs from her this week - and last night she laid another softie in the coop. I was worried that she hadn't passed the shell (like last time ) but can now see it's stuck to her remaining tail feathers and the area around her vent is quite sticky. I've tried just to pull it off but it's stuck fairly fast, and she's not keen on being handled at the moment so it's awkward to do. I'm assuming trying to wash her is out, because of the moult, so should I persevere with trying to get it off or leave her and hope she manages in a dust bath? I'm worried about creepy crawlies getting interested... Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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