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Beantree last won the day on May 17

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  1. When we were rearing in the Dordogne we bought some rearers pellets from the local store. After a few days the stench from that area was truly absolutely unbelievable. Turns out the protein in the feed was based on fish, so whatever you do don't feed them that because you will have Environmental Health Department all over you! We've fed ours on scrambled eggs when we had a glut and no buyers; no ill effects and they love it. Meal worms is a great idea and plenty of people buy them, but aren't they a bit expensive?
  2. It's been 30C here for nearly a week now @Daphne and set to be 35C on Sunday. No rain so we're using tap water left for 4 days to let the Chlorine out; already clocked up 1400 litres and it's only May! Earthing up the potatoes was impossible, but yesterday evening I soaked one potato bed and have been able to earth it up this morning. Now adding leaf mulch to the South face for heat protection. Had to re-home a very large toad in the process. We're at just over 200m and are working to keep the house cool. We open the windows and doors first thing in the morning and close them about 8.30. No cooking in the house now. We have an area outside with electricity, BBQ and a gas hob. Normally only used mid-Summer, but not this year.
  3. We don't use ACV at all @EllieFRG; complete waste of time and money in my opinion. Whether there are any long term effects I don't know, but used continuously it changes the acidity of the gut flora and it may take some time for normal healthy gut flora to re-eastablish? Nothing wrong with your pellets. We used them for years in the UK without any problems I can recall. We used to 'bulk buy' 500Kg at a time, which worked out at £10 a bag including delivery, but that was 10 years ago. Giving them treats with a low protein level does, in effect, reduce their overall protein intake. We give our layers a scattered grain treat in the evening, but we add sunflower hearts to bring the protein level up to what they require. Works out at 3 scoops of mixed grain to 1 scoop of sunflower hearts, but I have to admit with the ridiculous price of sunflower hearts here I've gone down to half a scoop. If the price keeps going up they will just get a much smaller amount of grain. We get grain mites in the pellets here. Judging by what other things they eat I can't see a few mites causing a problem
  4. Vinegar in their water should be a maximum of 1% and only once a month, so one drinker. In the hot weather I wouldn't give them any as it discourages drinking. The Calcium for the egg shells comes from a store in their bones. If the feed isn't good they will exhaust the store, so what you need is good quality (so not the cheapest) layers pellets with 17% protein and an 8:1 mix of calcium and phosphorous. Usually layers have 3% Calcium, so that would be about 0.4% Phosphorous. That ratio is required to put the calcium back into the bones and then to the eggs. Stopping laying so soon and poor moulting points to a feed deficiency of protein. Are they free ranging before they fill up with pellets? We had this problem early on when we let the hens out to free range too soon in the day. The result was they filled up with 'rubbish' and the egg production halved. We then kept them in the run until they had full crops of pellets before letting them out.
  5. Yes they do have periods when they don't lay, so when it's too hot, too cold, after a disturbance by a predator, or when they are moulting. Perhaps none of these apply? Basically they will only lay in an environment suitable for hatching, even if they don't (hopefully). Otherwise they will stop when they have no more to lay. 12 months old is very early for a hybrid; I'd expect 18 months, but perhaps you are unlucky? They do all look in perfect health and very happy, so no welfare issues there. Can't add any more I'm afraid.
  6. Without knowing what breeds they are and how old I can only guess that she has run out of eggs to lay? A very old study I came across mentioned in a book called 'Poultry for the Many', published 1918, said that chickens only have 600 eggs to lay. In my experience, sometimes it can be as low as 200 and in one case we had a very pretty Wyandotte who lived to over 10 years without ever laying an egg.
  7. The thunderstorms forecast for yesterday didn't arrive. We had just enough rain to wipe off my garden chair. It's now 9C above the seasonal average and will remain so for the next week with no rain forecast either. Summer here is our least favourite season because it's so hot; seems it's going to be extended into late Spring this year.
  8. You've reminded me of our first attempt under a broody @mullethunter. She was a Buff Orpington and was given 12 eggs to sit on, which she did very well and we had to lift her off every day to make her use her legs, because they can sit too long and cripple themselves. But in our inexperience we picked a hen that was too young and she ate the first 6 that hatched; we kept finding broken egg shells but no chicks and no other possible conclusion because the coop was rat proof. We rescued the last 4 and finished them in an incubator.
  9. Leghorns are very poor broodies and ex-batts are a Leghorn derivative, so I don't expect them to be much better. No point in putting eggs under them if they are going to lose interest after a day or so because the eggs will get too cold. Broodies would sit tight on eggs for the first 7 days to maintain the temperature. Looks like you will be shopping for an incubator. We have Spanish and Italian semi-autos, so you need to turn the eggs by pulling or pushing the handle 3 or 5 times a day. Humidity is controlled crudely by water bowls in the unit. Cheap enough and they work well for us. Get a hygrometer to check the humidity as you may find you don't need any water at all for the first 18 days. Then you need a candler to check the development of the air sac and the fertility of the eggs, so infertile can be removed. Don't forget the steriliser solution for the eggs prior to setting. Good luck.
  10. Well we bought it in France @redhotchick. We always work on the basis of buy small. so give the youngster time to adjust to its environment. Mature trees do tend to suffer when moved. We make sure the hole is at least twice the diameter (perhaps 3x) of the pot and fill the outside with good quality compost and soil mixed. In the first year it needs watering. If it does die it didn't cost much and the hole for the replacement is already dug.
  11. We pruned our cherry down from the top @Daphne, so we halved the height and took off everything we couldn't reach anyway. But we still have a poor crop because all the early buds were wiped out by the frost, so we have perhaps 20% of what would have been. What's there might be ripe in a few weeks and we are hoping that the thunderstorms predicted of Sunday do actually arrive to fill the fruit out, knowing that they usually split from over-filling. Few leaves on the figs now so I can see the dead branches to cut them off. After extensive watering we actually have some carrots coming up, so on that basis I've decided to put a row of beetroot in, which are set much lower than carrots so stand a hope (1.5cm v 0.5cm) of staying damp. Not much of a risk really because they are leftover from a packet used last year with an expiry date of 12/2021; if we do get anything at all it will be great.
  12. I don't think is coccidiosis because that would be blood in the poos which shows as black. Bright orange poos are cecal from a stressed bird and is possibly hair worms. Harkers is a wormer for pigeons and doesn't work for adult chickens (tried that). You need Flubenvet, which is best pre-mixed into the feed. There will be nothing better for them than to free range, but make sure there is no long grass. They naturally eat grass to clear out their digestive systems. Until you have a sample tested you won't know for certain, but it sounds like your vet isn't worth a second visit.
  13. We eat an awful lot of potatoes @Daphne, mainly as chips. Potatoes are grown much further North, so the only source is the small market gardeners that charge the same prices as the supermarkets, if not more. Decided to abandon the seeds this year at the moment because they are drying out too quickly, so shoot and then die. You only have to miss one watering, as I did yesterday and you have lost the lot. Just hoping we do get a cooler spell otherwise it will be potatoes, onions and tomatoes only this year.
  14. After the frosts 6 weeks ago the figs are at last showing signs of life with small buds appearing on the branches. The white has suffered the most damage, with the top 8-12" of the branches now shrivelled and dead; the black has just lost the tip and the first fruit. We're having a heatwave at the moment, so it's too hot to seed the leeks (15-20C) and perhaps we won't use the seeds this year. We do have a fair few tomato plants though, so that bed won't be wasted. Potatoes are loving the weather and soon everything will be earthed-up and the South side of the beds covered in leaf mulch to protect them from the heat and retain the moisture. Having to water the onions and carrot seeds three times a day though and the water butts are emptying quickly. They are predicting a drought this year, with each month so far having been well short of the average rainfall. We were discussing wether to bother growing all these potatoes next year, considering all the work, but they are rather expensive and with fuel and food prices soaring perhaps we have no choice?
  15. Check her throat for cankers, which are cream coloured growths which may be obstructing her respiratory tract. These are the result of a parasite that can be treated if caught soon enough. Are her poos normal, or a green colour because that would indicate a respiratory infection? And it could be, as Cattails says, simply a pollen allergy.

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