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Rob Thomson

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Chicken Eggspert

Chicken Eggspert (2/19)

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  1. Hello all, I wonder if anyone can recommend a vet in the south-west who would be willing to administer Suprelorin hormone implants? There seems to be a growing reluctance to use these - our (otherwise brilliant) vet says he no longer prescribe them due to the risk of affected eggs being fed to pregnant women. Our girls haven't laid an edible egg for about a year so there's not much chance of that! In the same breath he says he thinks the implants are worth considering as they help to prevent peritonitis and are likely to extend the little girls' lives. Anyway, any recommendations would be gratefully received. I'm based in always-sunny Weston-Super-Mare but I'm willing to travel. Many thanks, Rob.
  2. Thanks Beantree. Yes, on closer inspection they do seem to be little pieces of feather sheath and there are new feathers growing on her lower neck. Tonight she's even turned her nose up at mealworm - is moulting really enough to make her quit her favourite treat?! Thanks, Rob.
  3. Hello, Thanks for the reply. Yes, she's up-to-date with Flubinvet, I've never seen evidence of mites, and she doesn't lay soft eggs. She was much more lethargic this morning so she's now booked in to see the vet ASAP. The only other symptom is 'dandruff', can't tell whether it's flakes of skin or feathers, which I haven't noticed previously. Perhaps it's mites. Thanks, Rob.
  4. Hello, One of our BHWT ex-batts seems a little under the weather at the moment. Her unusually large comb is quite droopy and has lost it's usually bright blood-red colour. I suppose I'd describe her comb as looking slightly deflated in terms of its shape and texture. She doesn't seem quite as cheerful as normal, but the change is slight. Otherwise she seems in very good condition. She's as heavy as she's ever been, she's eating normally, she still comes running like a mentalist when I shake the mealworm tub... we gave her a good looking over tonight and nothing is obviously amiss. We've had her since November 2013 (so she's getting on for 3.5yrs old), she hasn't layed for about six months. Any ideas? Thanks, Rob.
  5. Hello all, I just wanted to update this... Evil Pamela has been separated from the other two, and has her very own Eglu at the other end of the garden. While I feel sorry for her, the other two are really blossoming after a fortnight without their bully and they seem so much happier. I hope at some point we'll be able to reintroduce them but for the time being I'm sure we've done the right thing. Thanks again for your help. Rob.
  6. We failed at Bumpabit fitting simply because we couldn't hold her head firmly enough to stop her moving - at least not without feeling like we'd break something. Time to man-up?
  7. Thanks both. We've been using anti-peck and purple sprays but it probably could do with a top-up. They have at least 100m2 between the three of them. We're fairlt sure they're lice/mite-free - Milly went to the vets a few weeks ago and was pronounced clear. We tried fitting a Bumpabit to Pamela about a year ago after one incident when Anita had a big hole pecked in her back. However we couldn't get it to fit, felt that we were hurting her, and gave up. Maybe it's time to try again. Beantree, please could you elborate about feeding at three levels. They spend their days scratching the lawn into a muddy mess, take their pellets from an Omlet Grub, but they don't have anything higher. We have tried hanging things from trees but they've never taken any interest. Please could you suggest how to improve this? Thanks, Rob.
  8. Hello all, I wonder if anyone can offer some advice. One of our ex-batts has gone psycho and is severely pecking the other two. We've had our three girls for about 15 months. They've never been a particularly harmonious flock but (excepting one or two incidents when blood has been drawn) they've seemed fairly happy together. The pecking order is clear; Pamela's in charge (she's a fair bit larger than the other two), Milly's second, and poor little Anita's always been bottom of the tree (except for the mouse that lives in the tree and the wild birds that she takes out her frustrations on). They were in terrible condition when we got them, but Pamela re-feathered within a couple of months. The other two took much longer which we put down to luck of the draw, but with hindsight I reckon Pamela's always had a taste for feathers. However, in the autumn Milly and Anita suddenly re-feathered too, and for a while we had three beautiful hens running around the garden. Since Christmas Pamela has started removing feathers from a patch in the middle of Milly's back, and more recently from around Anita's tail. Last night I went to tuck them up and discovered that Anita had packed her bags, moved out of the coop, and was cuddled up in a corner of their covered dust bath. She was bleeding from several feather stubs on her lower back, and had evidently decided that a night in the cold was preferable to another night in the coop with Pamela. Instead she spent a night in the downstairs loo, tucked up in a cosy box, and had an extra supper of mealworm and corn to cheer her up. The BHWT suggested that Pamela might be vitamin deficient, so for the past couple of weeks they've been on multivits. This hasn't made any difference, if anything she's getting worse. I don't know whether it's relevent, but the little girls more-or-less free range - they have our quite large back lawn (or what used to be a lawn) all to themselves (apart from the mouse and wild birds). Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks, Rob (6'7", 16 stone, 35yr old man crying over his chickens ).
  9. I just wanted to add that we've suffered a cat-attack. Opinion seems to be that cats won't attack chickens, but I can confirm that they will! Thankfully we were home and heard the cries for help. There was little visible damage but she didn't eat or drank for two days before finally deciding she was okay... Thankfully she's still going strong six months later, protected by 10,000 volts of cat-zapping electricity.
  10. Ours is great, we've had no problems at all apart from having to mow the grass a little more often than I'd like! We have a little voltage meter keyring device which means I can easily check the fence every morning. With cut grass the meter shows 10kV, which is probably a bit optimistic, and as the grass grows it slowly drops. When it gets to 7kV or so I'll cut the grass. At the moment that's three or four weeks of growth so it's not too onerous. Anyway, the meter is great as it gives you the confidence that all's well. Ours came with the kit but I think they're about £20 and well worth the money for the peace of mind. The little girls still shock themselves every now and again but the local cats seem to steer well clear. I'm yet to see a fox in the garden even though the neighbours tell me they're everywhere!
  11. It was my other-half who suggested that we get some ex-bats and I was initially a bit sceptical about the idea (mainly because I knew I'd be the one getting up early to let them out!). It's seven months since we collected our three little chickens from the BHWT and I think it's fair to say it was one of the best things we've ever done, I really can't imagine living without them. They're just wonderful little girls, they have such interesting and distinct personalities, they're so much fun to watch going about their daft little antics... honestly, they're just great. We have a large urban garden and initially (well, after a few weeks) we fenced off a large section of the lawn with some plastic netting so they could semi-free-range all day. This was fine for a few months, until we had an incident with a cat. Thankfully little Milly survived but it made us realise we'd been chancing our luck, and an electric fence soon arrived in the post. This seems to do a pretty good job, the neighbours cats all keep a good distance and we haven't had any problems at all (apart from the silly little chickens ocassionally reminding themselves what 10,000 volts feels like - but a couple of minutes of squalking and all is well). I let them out at 5:30am, they run about all day, and I shut them away after they go to bed (10pm at the moment) - doesn't seem too bad a life to me! Even though they've got about 150m2 of nice safe garden to run about in they love being let out to explore the rest of the garden, but only under strict supervision. Today I had a long and stressful day at work but came home and let the chickens out for an hour. I'm sure the neighbours think I'm mad chaperoning three little chickens around the garden but watching them scratch around the borders is such a good way to unwind and forget about the stresses of life. They're just fabulous little creatures. Get some.
  12. I'm pretty well trained at staggering downstairs, sorting out their food, letting them out, changing their water, checking the voltage of their fence, staggering back upstairs, climbing into bed and falling straight back to sleep. My better-half always sleeps through no matter how loudly I slam the doors in protest at our one-sided chicken keeping relationship.
  13. Hello, Thanks for all your replies. It seems I get up really early - I've been letting them out at about 5:30am! I've always had the impression that any serious pecking occurs while they're bored waiting to be set free in the morning, so I've been getting up at dawn when I can. When dawn got before 5:30 I decided that was early enough! Anyway, I left their inner door open on Friday night. Typically I woke up at my usual time on Saturday morning and when I looked outside there were three bored looking chickens looking slightly forlorn in their run. They looked a bit perplexed when I let them out into the garden, and then spent quite a lot of the day standing around looking unusally sleepy/p*ssed-off so I'm not convinced they like their new sleeping arrangements! So it was back to normal on Saturday night, and another early start on Sunday morning. The power these three little chickens have over me is ridicuous! I'm glad mice nibbling on tootsies isn't a problem, I'm sure I read that it was quite a common problem but perhaps that was a dream... Cheers, Rob.
  14. Thanks! I'm happy they're safe from foxes etc, but what about mice nibbling on their tootsies...?! I reckon I'll give it a try tonight. Leaving the door open I mean, not nibbling on their tootsies. Cheers, Rob.
  15. Hello all, Just curious whether or not people close the inner door of the Eglu at this time of year? We have an Eglu classic. We always close both the inner and the outer doors (i.e. the plastic flap and the run's mesh door) at night, but we're wondering whether it would be a problem if we left the inner door (plastic flap) open so the little girls can let themselves out in the mornings. We currently keep it closed for a couple of reasons: 1) Maximum security from predators. 2) Draft exclusion (and water-proofing when it rains). However, they're pretty safe within an electric fence (they get to free range from dawn til dusk) and the Eglu run has about 18,000 pegs holding down the skirt. Basically, what I want to know is whether I can have a lie-in tomorrow? Cheers, Rob.

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