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SuburbanChick

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Chicken Eggspert (2/19)

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  1. Okay, so the chickens love their woodchip and we have covers over the top of the Omlet run BUT when it rains the woodchip gets wet at the side (rain runs off the covers and into the run) and then the wet seems to spread... The outcome is very wet woodchip all over after a bit of scratching by the chooks. What do people do to combat this??? Second question - just how do you poo pick woodchip? We end up throwing a bag of woodchip away every week. I've seen recommendations to hose the woodchip down but, seriously, how many weeks of the year could you do that? We use Stalosan evey week to try and keep the woodchip smelling nice but it's costing us a fortune topping up/replacing the woodchip and it doesn't work if it's wet. I love aubiose and use it in the nest box but how do people use it in the run and keep it dry? Any suggestions on how to improve the whole chicken poo problem gratefully accepted!
  2. Thank you so much to everyone who has replied I'm going to keep my fingers crossed and persist with the free ranging and see if that helps. It gives them a much better quality of life and seems so much more natural to me. I think I was feeling unhappy about keeping them in a run for most of the time anyway. [sorry Omlet] Having said that, it is pouring here today so they are still in the run I don't think I'd ever bother with bumpa bits again they seem to have had no effect whatsoever
  3. No lice or mites and they have oodles of woodchip to scratch around in! I regularly add fresh woodchip and change it completely a couple of times a year. I'm feeding them Matador pellets which I understand is a good feed and they have dandelion leaves when we've got them. I put Orego Stim in the water a couple of times a week. They don't care much about pecking blocks and aren't bothered about cabbages or apples etc. They do love pumpkin or squash but it is gone in half an hour! I think it must be a space issue and I'm somewhat disillusioned with the whole idea of keeping chickens in a suburban garden. In complete desperation I've cordoned off the woodland bit at the top of my garden and I'm just letting them out to free range. They're absolutely loving it but it is a big risk because I can't watch them all the time........ Not sure if it's a responsible thing to do
  4. It was one chicken to start with and I hesitated to fit a bumpa bit. To be honest, I think that was my mistake because then they all seemed to pick up the habit.. They seem happy enough in their own way and are all laying but I find it so upsetting especially when I see pictures of other people's lovely chickens. I've tried really hard to give them a good life but it just hasn't worked out.
  5. I’m so distressed by chicken keeping that I really feel I have to give up! I got my little band of four last year and installed them in a lovely new Cube and run with two extensions, gave them a perch and a lovely big dustbath. All was well until they came into lay and then the feather pecking started. I tried anti-peck spray, then bumpa bits, then longer bumpa bits but nothing has broken the habit and all four have bare bums and/or legs as well as feathers missing off their breasts. I was initially told by the breeder not to bother letting them out of the run because what they never had they wouldn’t miss but I started letting them out hoping that they would forget to peck and eat each other’s feathers. I think the crunch came a few weeks back. My gentle little brown hen was pecked really badly on her chest and I had to separate her from the others and nurse her back to health. After a few weeks all her lovely feathers had grown back but as soon as she went back in with the other chickens full time her feathers were pulled out. My dilemma? What on earth do I do now? No-one will want to rehome feather peckers......
  6. Thank you for your support gavclojak and your recommendation to fit larger bumpa bits Beantree. I felt Redwing well and truly slapped my wrists as far as my chicken keeping was concerned I have 4 chooks + 1 Omlet cube + 2 run extensions = 4 metre run with woodchips, full width perch and dust bath. The chooks are also let out every day for a wander in another 4 metres underneath the apple tree. They are all laying well and have had no health problems since I got them in April. I feel I have been a resposible chicken keeper but I really feel like giving up now.
  7. Earlier this year feather pecking [and eating] started in my little group of chickens I fitted bumpa bits to three out of my four to be on the safe side and it seemed to work for a bit. A couple of weeks ago the bumpa bit fell off the original bully and within a day she had attacked the smallest hen and made her mark so a bumpa bit went back on. The trouble is this seems to have started a whole new season of feather pecking and eating and two of my chickens are able to do this even with bumpa bits on. I have tried feather pecking spray and purple spray when necessary but I'm at the point of despair now. I was led to believe that if they had bumpa bits on for a while, my chickens would forget the habit of feather pecking. Adding to the problem now is the fact that my smallest and most pecked hen has gone broody and is pulling her own feathers out!!! What on earth can I do now? It's all very upsetting especially as they're all bravely laying wonderful eggs regardless of whether they are pecked or not.
  8. "gamey" describes it perfectly Egluntyne and yes I can smell it in her eggs. I was using lots of eggs in baking yesterday and the others were all fine - I sniffed all the broken shells and only hers smelled strange.
  9. Gosh Beantree I find that really disconcerting I could get the same smell on the inside of the egg shell when I cracked it - I wonder if the eggs are safe to eat? Very worrying because I have been eating them
  10. I have four hybrids and I've noticed when picking them up to check them over that one of them definitely smells rather "chickeny". She seems quite healthy, is laying every day and loves to dustbath so she is quite clean. It isn't a pooey smell, just an "animal" smell. I've thought that some of the eggs I was eating were a bit strong in flavour and as I was making a cake yesterday I noticed this smell as I cracked some eggs. Has anyone any idea what is going on? She's a lovely white and brown Amber hybrid.
  11. Yes, so far so good They haven't attempted to fly over. Any escape is underneath I haven't got any experience with bantams though.
  12. I think that if you buy the 12metre fecning kit and you want to keep it in one spot AND in the shape that Omlet show, then the amount of poles might be adequate. [if you use the pegs as well to anchor it down] However, I like to move the fencing around and my set up means I have to be a bit creative with the shape! The number of poles was rather inadequate and I had to order more straight away. I have four hybrids and they just love to stick their necks right through the bottom of the netting to reach whatever is outside I also have one escape artist who mangages to to wriggle underneath if everything isn't pegged down carefully! I only let my crew out in the fenced area when I'm around to police them
  13. Just came back on the forum and found this Dogmother. Think I'm going to see how things go this week. I've stopped using the anti pecking spray because, as was pointed out, it's really punishing the victims. I'm also worried that I've maybe used too much of it. If the pecking starts up again I'll have to isolate the perpetrator in the cage and definitely get a bumpa bit fitted on her. Leaving the Cube door open though seems to be working at the moment.
  14. Eeeek ...... I've been pretty liberal with the spray I've been using Johnsons anti peck for a about a week. I've sometimes sprayed twice a day though I've just read the instructions and it says "use daily" and I've found it impossible to spray from 12 inches away so it's been more like 6inches. I may have sprayed more than than I should when I found Jasmine's leg bare on the inside What are the implications? I'm really worried now. I thought it was just something that tasted nasty in order to stop the pecking.
  15. Thank you for your kind offer Dogmother. I may well take you up on it but at the moment I have fingers crossed that things are going to be okay. I isolated the offender for a bit, used lots of anti peck spray and, most important of all, I've stopped locking the Cube up at night. I feel sure that the pecking was happening in the early morning before we opened the Cube up because the mornings are so very light now. With the door left open I have no idea what time the chickens get up but I know they are all pootling about before 5am.!!! I did start getting up to let them out at 5am. but I really didn't thing that I could keep that up The really good news is that Florence, who was looking a bit oven ready, is beginning to grow new feathers underneath already. As I said though, fingers crossed ......

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