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About Beantree

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    Chatty Chicken
  1. Is free-ranging enough?

    I think you will find it is illegal not to effectively control a known rat problem on your property Grahamrhind. They spread some nasties including Weil's disease, something a friend of ours died from. They are also very destructive around this time of year, chewing things up to make Winter nests which in our case included a brand new tarpaulin. They can also inflict some serious injuries on chickens; some while ago someone reported one had had its feet chewed off during the night. Perhaps you should reconsider your strategy?
  2. Is free-ranging enough?

    One of our flocks is totally free ranging and they certainly can't find enough feed in Summer, let alone Winter. You could try removing the feeder and scatter feeding mixed grain and pellets twice a day, so early morning and late afternoon, which is when ours return to their feeders to eat. Of course this will bring the rats out into the open where they can be shot. We leave several water bowls all around the property so they can drink whenever they want to without having to return to the the coop feeders.
  3. RATS!

    I would never use poison either. As said an air rifle works well but you need a good telescopic sight as the come out at dusk, when a cheap sight can't collect enough light. Trapping depends a lot on the bait (peanut butter works) and the position of the trap and they won't go near it for a few weeks anyway. We had a huge problem in England which we never got on top of as the rats lived under sheds in the neighbouring gardens and came to us to feed.
  4. Black areas on comb

    You can't rely on Verm-X as a wormer Keymaster and I'm no longer a user of Apple Cider Vinegar as I think it discourages them from drinking and has no real effect on worms. It should only be used for just a few days every month anyway because it's the sudden change in gut acidity that is supposed to have an effect. Have they ever been wormed with Flubenvet?
  5. Black areas on comb

    Had another thought. Have you tried washing it off, as sometimes dirt sticks in patches after soil bathing, particularly if they have eaten something juicy which has splashed onto their comb?
  6. Black areas on comb

    There is a disease called 'blackhead' which is a big problem with turkeys and far less so with chickens which can carry it. It affects the liver I think? Caused by eating earth worms, which is a possibility as your hens are ranging in the garden. There are no drugs to treat it so all you can do is keep your chickens as healthy as possible.
  7. Feeding Cockerels

    Keep him on growers pellets Chick Chick. Layers pellets are formulated to give extra Calcium for egg shells, which isn't necessary for a cockerel and could be argued may be bad for him.
  8. This happens with ours quite often. All we do is clean and dry it then wrap 25mm microporous tape several times around the end of the toe and pinch the end to seal it. Eventually the tape falls off, by which time the end has healed. Sometimes we make a larger arrangement incorporating gauze with tea tree cream. Important to watch for signs of discomfort or swelling, although we've never had any.
  9. What attacked my chicken?

    Another possibility is she got one of her legs stuck somewhere and went into a flapping panic. The ends of some feathers are splintered and she could have just smashed them to pieces? Have a look at her feet and legs for signs of scale damage.
  10. What attacked my chicken?

    Predators want to eat her. So has she flown into anyone else's garden, if so someone has cropped her flight feathers.
  11. If they had an extremely high worm burden the toxins given off when so many worms die can poison them. That's pretty unusual, although I have read of a few cases where the chickens actually died. So it is possible they are a bit under the weather initially, as that's when the worms die. The remainder of the course is to kill any hatching from eggs, so they should be fine tomorrow. We have also had occasions where chickens have reacted to the wormer and therefore increased worming frequency from 6 to 4 months.
  12. Help - I think we have coccidiosis

    We've only ever had one case. She was a three week old Cream Legbar pooing blood and hunched up. Phoned the vet and explained and he said she was too far gone to help. In desperation I tried syringing probiotic yoghurt and filled her crop with it. Three days later and she was perfectly normal! The condition reappeared at 5 ½ weeks and the treatment repeated, again with complete success. She lived to quite an age and even survived a hunting dog attack in the Dordogne (they ripped through the enclosure mesh).
  13. sick chicken

    You could try a dose of Avipro Avian, a licensed probiotic for birds, as food undigested suggests poor or non-existent gut flora. We occasionally get chickens suddenly stop digesting their food and usually it can be traced to eating fallen fruit, because the natural sugars in fruit cause unfriendly bacteria to develop which then overrun the digestive system.
  14. Identify the cockerel

    Gold laced wyandotte I think? We have a blue laced cock who has lighter colouring and gold laced hens which are much darker.
  15. Treating tapeworm

    We had tapeworm years ago in a young flock we hatched and put on fresh ground, so no idea how they got them? We used Verm-X and then apple cider vinegar in the water and it worked; no idea why?