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Everything posted by kopperdrake

  1. Could be vixen teaching cubs to hunt. They're typically born late March, start hunting with their parents in July and will hunt in pairs, typically, in August. This site is interesting: http://www.nfws.org.uk/fox-calendar-of-events.html But we also know from experience that the run on our Mk1 Cube has saved the lives of our hens twice that we know of.
  2. Hi all, I own a few Omlet products (old Cubes, Gos, Go Ups) but none of the new Cubes. I've come up with something that fits all of our runs, but was wondering if the mesh size (gaps of the actual holes) are still the same with the new Cube runs? Would anyone be able to help me out? Cheers Duncan
  3. I think it's plain and simple - as a chicken lover, how would I feel if I knew my birds contracted it and I hadn't carried out the recommended advice beforehand? And then I'd helped it spread to local people's flocks, many of whom I would know as friends. I think a little tough love now will hopefully prevent a lot of nastiness - just think back to the foot and mouth contagion and the sight of those poor cows - I'll never forget those days
  4. Ooh, you're close to us - how big a bag does the Miscanthis come in, and where from?
  5. We backed away slowly, closed the kitchen door, and waited for her to decide when she'd quite like to fly back out of the open window she'd flown in by. Some things are best left to nature
  6. Bliss bedding - the eucalyptus variety if we can get it!
  7. We've had a mink attack at the farm next door - I think they're the worst; smaller than a fox so can slink through the tiniest of gaps. We've had a fox attack last spring, electric fencing has done the trick there. And we lost a bantam a few years ago, we suspect she'd been taken from above as we found no feathers, and we suspect the local sparrowhawk. She's that prolific around here our neighbour's even had her sitting in his kitchen sink after she overshot her prey and flew through his open window! Picture that, Pete and I stood in his kitchen, not eight feet from this dazed Sparrowhawk, giving us the beadies, trying to figure how on earth you get a set of talons like that our of your house!
  8. This is a tough one, but we're pretty strict when it comes to this sort of thing. My son is 13 and I won't let him watch 15 films or play games over his age rating, unless I really do know the film/game. It doesn't help that he's immature for his age too, so he does struggle to comprehend some things above his age anyway. I know he probably watches/plays stuff at friends' houses that he knows we wouldn't let him watch or play at home, but to me it's the rules that are important in certain situations. For example, every teen knows how to swear, but they need to know that swearing in certain company is not acceptable - we call it 'onion skinning'. You can peel a layer or two off yourself when in certain company, and let your guard down, but it's best to know the boundaries that dictate when you should leave all the layers intact - like strangers, older generation, grandparents etc. The fact my son knows we disprove of him playing or watching older stuff hopefully means he knows that there is a line there and that he has crossed over it, and as parents we're not pleased with it. It's the hardest part of parenting I think, to be a parent first, and a friend second, but I've seen too many children bend their parents around their little fingers, and I never really see it as doing any good for either - often it causes resentment and lack of respect. Besides, a bit of waiting never did anyone any harm
  9. I hate the heat - my melting point's about 24 Celsius I've a choice of either working outside, sweat dripping from *everywhere*, or sitting inside behind a PC screen, spending my time sweating from everywhere *whilst* squishing thunderbugs on the screen before they find their way behind the glass and spend the rest of existence as a small but rather annoying blurry black blob on my monitor Oh how I long for proper seasons again!
  10. We're finally getting crops too - a lovely Italian spikey cucumber is a regular now, the raspberries and gooseberries are in full flow, and the new potatoes are ready too, after a late start. Globe artichokes are also continuing, and raised bed lettuce hasn't totally been eaten by slugs And we too also managed to get to a small cherry tree before the blackbird, though I suspect he was concentrating on the black currant bushes Squash and sweetcorn are still way behind where they are normally though.
  11. We home grow ours too - wash it, spin it in our ageing salad spinner to dry it, place it in a ziplock bag (the freezer ready kind), with as much air out as possible before sealing, then into the *bottom* of the fridge where it's coldest. Works perfectly and even crisps up the limp leaves picked at the wrong time of day
  12. Where are you based? If you're anywhere near the East Midlands, we use Minster Vets - they have a very specialised poultry service which would tell you what you have, but they do charge. However, I don't remember them being worse charges than a standard vet, and they seriously know their stuff. They have poultry specialists in York, Hereford, Sutton Bonington, Leominster, Carlisle, Lancashire and Wrexham. http://www.minstervets.co.uk/contact
  13. Our first ex-batts were named after the witches in Terry Pratchett novels - we had Granny Weatherwax (Granny), Agnes Nitt (Aggie), Gytha Ogg (Oggy) and Magrat Garlick (Maggie). We made the mistake of letting the children name a flock of random rescues, and ended up with Spotty, Snowy, Blackie, Ginger, Lonely, Bluebelle (the bluebelle) and Quickie. It wouldn't have been so bad if there had been any sense of irony with the names, but there wasn't. Lately our cocks are named after kings, so we've had Charles, William and Ethelred the Unready (Cooked) but now we're on Colin, which kind of spoils things a bit as we didn't name him. The girls are named after plants and flowers - Daisy, Holly, Mistletoe (two winter birds), and also the old fashioned names, Maud, Emma, Betty, Florence, and we have one called Jackie after my mother-in-law, as she's Colin's favourite, and that happened to be my father-in-law's name.
  14. Just a thought, but with new chicks we place a light inside the coop and they tend to gravitate towards the light as the night draws in. Could you maybe try that?
  15. It's good to be informed, but like you, I have had to learn to be a bit less stressy about them. You'll find the more you know, the more relaxed you'll be, as you'll have seen it before and know what and what not to do. You'll also build up a handy cupboard of remedies for various ailments over the years, and find your own way For example, to help combat thin shelled eggs, our older resuce chooks get a 'porridge' on a weekend of mashed potatoes, a little live yoghurt, cod liver oil, garlic granules (or fresh garlic) and poultry spice. It's a mix of stuff we've read over the years that helps for one reason or another, and it seems to work. But more importantly, the chooks love it and therefore love you even more With our overweight chickens it was obvious - they were podgy to the hand when lifting them up - not nice and firm. They were that podgy it was hard to hold on to them with the mix of podge and feather! To give you an idea of the utility strain, the header pictures on the webpage linked below show the three sisters when they came to us (and Spotty the rescue banty photobombing in the background - she was a darling) - and the other header picture shows Charles the cock we put them with - much slimmer and not as large in relation to them. Their babies were gorgeous - the cockerels grew large enough, larger than their father Charles, but were a lot 'neater' and less fat. One of them, Colin, is now in charge of the flock, and a good job he's doing! http://www.merrybower.co.uk/blog/?page_id=1782 Below is Daisy, the last of the three initial 'chubby' sisters from the header image above - her favourite position on the treadle feeder! She passed away earlier this year, having been the mother to four lovely girls and several cockerels last year, and is buried under a nice patch of daisies beneath the walnut tree. The motley crew below (apart from the lighter headed girl on the left who's a rescue) are her offspring, from which we're hatching this year - see the body shapes are a lot more solid, although Emma - the one in the foreground on the right - does have a tendency to be more lazy and food gobblery like her mum! She also has the same slightly wobblier comb that Daisy had - it's lovely seeing the similarities, knowing your favourite chooks are living on in their children. Colin the cock is Daisy and Charles' son, so we're running brother and sisters together as a one off, to get the flock going. Charles died whilst performing 'the act', with a smile on his beak, and his sons have the same very gentle temperament, something important to us. They're not loud either, hardly crowing much. Colin wasn't our first choice as the new leader of the flock - his brother Ethelred the Unready (Cooked) had that honour as he was a handsome chap, but the fox took him last spring, which was awful, but he put up such a fight that he saved his ladies, giving us time to realise what was happening and running down to the orchard. He really was a gallant fellow. This is why we now have electric fencing in the orchard where they live during the summer. Luckily we'd found homes for all of Red's brothers, so Colin came back to Merrybower to live with us and start the flock up again - and he has the same gentle temperament. The two-legged hen in the background is Mrs Kopperdrake, cleaning the Cube out Sorry - I've rambled!
  16. Six average hens would be a doddle. We have a couple of cubes between 12 hens and it took a while to convince them they should really try and use *both* coops...
  17. A belated thanks for the compost mix sjp - appreciated! I'll make a note for next year's sowing I'm about to give up with the brassicas I sowed and just buy some plugs - which I hate doing! On the plus side, after reading this forum and noting people's raspberries were already out, I mumbled to my dear wife about how wet and damp and cold this part of the country must be, as ours are still green. A week later and they're all ready!! I've been munching them as I walk past, and the cherries are on their way too!
  18. You've got the answers! Noise is nothing to worry about - I particularly like the low burbles you get when they're happy and snuffling around your feet for dropped treats We started with ex-batts, like so many, and they were definitely the most rewarding - watching them pull through, their feathers growing back, getting the chance to just be chickens and wallow in a dust bath. It's such a great feeling to know you've given them a life they may never have experience - thumbs up to you. Problems? Chickens are relatively short lived compared to other pets, and their lives do seem all to short often, but the things you're most likley to encounter, plenty of people here will have encountered already. You'll even surprise yourself as to how much you pick up on the way! And for the majority of the time, they're like any other pet - happy and healthy! I remember having the same panic when I was bought a book on keeping chickens, just before we got our four ex-batts. I made the mistake of opening the large section on 'disease and illness', and almost called the whole thing off - you must remember that if your chicken had anywhere near a handful of those problems, then it's a very unlucky chicken indeed. And also remember, that a chicken's metabolism is so fast that they also heal very quickly too! I've seen injuries on a chicken that you think would kill it, and a month later it's as if nothing had happened! Also from experience, the Omlet runs are *very* fox proof - we've had two attacks on the runs before we installed electric fencing (they free range out of sight of the house), and the fox could not figure out how to get in. Have fun!
  19. As others have said already, if you're mainly feeding them layers and the treats are a minimum then they're unlikely to be overweight. As far as treats go, an eggcup full of mixed grain per bird on an evening is plenty - it gives their crops something to work on overnight, and in the winter that helps keep them warm. All this said, however, a lot can depend on the strain of bird you have - we had three Light Sussex hens who *were* overweight, and would sit at the pellet feeder for hours. They were so fat that two died of a heart attack (cockerel induced) and we finally learned that they were sold as 'utility' Sussex - bred for fast weight gain and decent egg laying ability. The last one we mated with a slimmer cock and their offspring are a lot healthier in weight and size, which is how we prefer them - less cruel in my opinion. So some of the your chooks might have some utlity use built into them, which could lead to them being bigger girls
  20. Hi from another relative newcomer Noise? I don't really think chickens are any noisier than most pets, except rabbits of course! Dogs are louder - I wouldn't worry about the noise, but I suppose you could always plant some waist high bushes in their area, which will help break up any sound. It'll also give them somewhere nice to shelter from the sun and rain - something like lavendar will also help with the odours too. Another thought would be to plant some fruit trees on dwarfing rootstocks (M26 is a good one for apple trees, or MM106 for something slightly larger). That way your chickens will help fertilise the trees, and peck the bad bugs from the ground beneath the trees, and will also eat the dropped fruit that likely contains bugs. Plus you'll get some fruit, and they'll love the shelter. Good luck!
  21. Chickens will fall asleep at or just after dusk, if they're not in the place you'd like them to be, you'll find them somewhere, asleep. But it has to be after sun-down. 9pm is too early at the moment, we're closing our coop doors around 10pm - just the thought of running after them to force them in before they decide to go to bed makes me ache If they're safe in their run, and you can wait until after sundown, once they're asleep, then you should be able to, quite easily, walk up to them, pick them up, and place them into the coop where you want them to be. In a few days they should get the message, and make their own way to the coop at sundown (or a little after).
  22. "Cage of Shame" - love it Has anyone tried the aspirin method of breaking broodiness? I think it works on the basis of lowering the body temperature, which is elevated in broody chickens. I've never used it, and don't really like the idea of popping pills into my chooks needlessly, but I'm curious if anyone has tried it? I'd rather pop them in a draughty cage, but in reality we just keep taking them off the nest until they give up
  23. That's awful news Cinnamon - they really are scumbags BraveSirRobin, I've had two similar experiences - my car was a left-hooker and so the sticky ticket was fixed to the driver's side window, but teh Derby City Council employee couldn't see through glass and gave me a ticket. That one was squashed easily by showing the ticket. The second time was when Birmingham City Council employed a bunch of scooter boys to stick tickets on. They gave me a ticket five minutes before the cut-off time to move (cars had to move from the street by 7.45am and it was 7.40am) and they even marked the time wrong, as 7.40am! It's a problem of 'by the book', knowing they get rewarded by fining people. I really hope it goes well for your daughter Cinnamon!
  24. Thanks sjp, that would be appreciated if you get the time We've been lucky with garlic the last eight years, but I know I was late putting it in this year so it's my fault really. And yes, I've noticed the peat free stuff (Horizons) does have more wood in it, quite large chunks, and some seem to have paint on them! Their tomato growbag compost is better, but then that went through a bad time a few years back and was quite large and lumpy. The local nursery is stopping selling it though, so I won't have much choice in the future I imagine.

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