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Beantree

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Beantree last won the day on November 14

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  1. We've given this some thought recently. We have some very old hens in large coops and are considering ceramic emitter bulbs, also called black or dull emitters, fitted into an E27 screw heat lamp. Problem is the output must be very low indeed, the emitter must be well away from the chickens so that needs a tall coop. Ideally there should be a thermostat, but a thermometer check should be OK. Another alternative is a small electric hen suspended from the ceiling to give gentle warmth. Even in our big coops (6' x4' x 4' high) I think 50 Watts will be sufficient and a smaller coop perhaps 25W. We have two electric hens and plenty of heat lamps but our smallest bulb at the moment is 75W. They use these bulbs for heating pets, so perhaps that's a place to start? We're OK for cabling as we have camping connector extensions, which are damp (but not water) proof, so they can be left on the floor under a cover. We had a big freeze down here in France 9 years ago. For two weeks the daytime temperature was -12C and the night time -18C; the plumbers made a fortune mending burst pipes. It's an event like that we are planning for, because we haven't enough space inside for all of them. Anything down to -5C and we won't worry. I think in your case Grantos, the hay on the floor will be sufficient and if not you could bring her in at night.
  2. Lovely photos, very neat setup and that Jacaranda tree is amazing. Welcome to the forum Helen.
  3. Our second frost, on time this time, is quite hard. Taken two hours to burn off with the sunshine and poo picking the runs had to be delayed because I couldn't see the poo. Maximum temperature will be 11C says the forecast, but the sunshine will make it feel warmer. The house temperature had dropped to 15.5C this morning and if it doesn't get to 16C the central heating will have to go on. Temperatures rise from Wednesday apparently and no rain due. Hopefully the grass will stop growing for a while. I was surprised how many people there are down here from Scotland; we've met four since we moved. They must see a massive difference in the weather and daylight hours; far more than us from England. The biggest foreign group is Dutch, perhaps drawn here after visiting a local campsite called Le Haget; Dutch owned fairytale style chateau with an amazing collection of trees.
  4. Sounds like you are all having a miserable time. I think the fundamental problem here is lack of space and I know you have tried to enrich that. I agree with Luvachicken, splitting them up is the only option and it sounds like Lilly has developed a feather eating habit that you may not be able to break. We have been in the same situation and eventually despatched the problem hen, having tried everything (including a two month separation), like you, to resolve the situation. Perhaps Mabel needs a new home with a pair of younger hens? I'm not a fan of anti-peck spray as it stops the injured hen preening, so it needs more drastic measures to protect her. Difficult situation and I hope you can resolve it.
  5. Sadly, we've experienced this far too many times Pippa W, but it has never been anything contagious. So we just opened the coop pop-hole in the morning and one didn't come out. No warning signs, young, perfectly healthy and often laying. We have only once done a post mortem on a dead chicken when we had two with the same symptoms; turned out to be a grass impacted gizzard. Put it down to an unfortunate part of chicken keeping and concentrate on the other two.
  6. I beg to differ about chickens feeling the cold as I know someone who decided not to go outside when it was forecast -12C to shut the pop-hole of a small coop in a sheltered spot and the 3 buff Orpingtons froze to death. As well as security it is a question of temperature, location (wind direction) and breed. From tonight I'll be shutting the pop-hole for our Cou-Nu because it's forecast 2C, they have less feathering and the coop is in an exposed location. Below -2C and we bring our bantams inside.
  7. Beantree

    Blood

    It could be shed intestinal lining, combined with some bleeding, but that is extreme so I'd be concerned as well. The answer will be apparent if she does it again.
  8. Beantree

    Blood

    Forgot to mention the typical stance so you can spot her; standing motionless, hunched up with tail down.
  9. Beantree

    Blood

    Pretty unlikely to be Cocci, unless your ground conditions are very poor. They are usually immune to it after 6 weeks old. Would normally be damage to the vent after egg laying, so a broken shell or very large egg, but if yours are not laying it may be some internal problem. See if she does it again. Usually internal bleeding results in black sticky poo, so Cocci can't be ruled out here. We've only had one case of it and that was a 4 week old chick who did recover and lived to 3 without a repeat.
  10. Two weeks into the 'second wave' lockdown in France and the numbers in hospital are the same as the peak of the first wave, but they say there are signs of improvement and the 'R' number has at last fallen to just below 1. Intensive care beds occupied is lower though, but still 4900 of the 7700 available in the Country. No surprise that nothing is going to be eased until at least 1st December and then it isn't going to be much; perhaps shops for Christmas presents? No surprise that recovery is slow either, with 60% of people interviewed 'off the record' admitting to having broken the rules at least once and no surprise that the organiser of the illegal 300 person party last night has been arrested. Another 12,000 people caught for breaking the rules in just 24 hours: the police carry bank card readers to take the fines!
  11. The Cou-Nu I have seen before were much darker brown Daphne and the ones at the farm were mostly darker. I don't know if the farmer picked these out specially? One is almost buff coloured; called 'Blondie' of course. I get surrounded at the gate now and they follow me everywhere in the hope of getting an early grain treat. Not sure feeding them from my hand was a good idea as Blondie and Miranda are getting very close. Even now we are getting 4, 5 or sometimes 6 eggs in a day Luvachicken and usually all before midday, so despite the smaller weight they are actually producing well. They are in a spot that gets full light and we do get longer days down here in Winter (mid-Winter 1 ¼ hours more than England) plus it's much warmer, so that all must help. Longer term it remains to be seen how well they lay, as we have no idea how the first moult next year will affect them.
  12. What a brave little chap! Pleased he survived, as not many do in our experience. Pleased he saved all the hens as well, as he should try to do. As you probably know, the cock is the National symbol of France because of their bravery. I agree with what Daphne says, you need to improve your security. Sure the dog will be back and it could so easily have been an urban fox.
  13. No ideas at the moment without seeing her poo. Presume you have checked her crop in the morning and it is empty? She should be laying now, if not is her abdomen swollen/ very firm? If she is unwell the others will try to remove her from the flock. Removing her in a crate inside will make re-introduction difficult; removing the bully will knock her down the pecking order for a while so that may be an idea? The puppy may have caused stress that has depressed her immune system and caused something else to flare up. You need to keep the puppy well away. They may all be stressed with not being allowed out and that could spark aggression. Perhaps a fenced off area of the garden for them to free range in would help?
  14. I imagine an anti-crow collar could cause problems with swallowing food and will be a big irritation on the neck feathers, so not something I'd fit. Unfortunately we are a bit far from you to re-home your boy, but Wyandottes are very gentle and very good with their hens in our experience, so I hope someone will give him a place to live.
  15. You may have seen the pictures of our new enclosure on a previous post (which is now completely finished) but I think it’s worth showing who now occupies it, because you won’t see them in the UK. Cou-Nu are one of the French breeds for the table. The farm nearby has 4 barns with perhaps 2000 in total in them, so it’s not intensive. They all free range in generous enclosures and sometimes fly out to range in the fields outside. This is a breed in its own right and comes in 3 colours being brown with yellow feet (ours), black with grey feet and the white are for show only. They were extremely timid when they arrived, simply because they are not handled during rearing, just arriving as chicks up to 4 weeks old and leaving for the abattoir at between 12 to 26 weeks, 14-16 being normal (5 1/2 in the UK a vet told me). The photo shows ours at 20 weeks, having arrived at 16 and having finally plucked up courage to come out of the run. 1 The first thing that struck us was the amount of feathering; much more than expected, based on those we saw further North. The second was the size of their bright yellow feet and legs. They are very large and powerful chickens and unless they have a large area to run around in and are motivated to do so, they are quite happy to sit, eat and get fat. This means scattering grain for them to scratch up and then clearing the moss regularly. Just 6 of them in 220m2 have stripped out all the moss and eaten all the shooting grass in two months. Their powerful legs will easily propel them onto the run and then onto the coop roof, which is about 2 1/2 metres high, so high fencing is essential. There is some confusion about this breed. They are not the Transylvanian Naked Necks that you see in the UK. The TNN is a pure breed from Romania, although Transylvania is a region of Hungary I’ve been told. This is a photo of Prescilla. She is a very good (and pretty) example of a pure bred TNN. Her ‘father’ was hatched from a batch of eggs imported from Romania. 2 Note that her neck and crop are entirely naked. Any neck feathering is a serious defect in the breed and is a result of cross-breeding. Cou-Nu are therefore obviously a cross-breed between TNN’s and some mix with other breeds, a mix which has become forgotten in time (my French breeds book says). You will also see that her feet are much smaller and her overall movement is quite ‘dainty’ compared with other breeds and certainly the noticeably clumsy Cou-Nu. She’s 8 years old and perhaps two thirds the size of the Cou-Nu at 28 weeks, even though she is the largest of our TNN's. She also ’speaks’ a different language; more ordinary clucking, rather than the growling noises of the Cou-Nu. We bought these chickens for eggs so, despite the pullets only costing €5 each, first eggs were a major disappointment. The first started laying at just over 20 weeks and the rest followed at 23. Lots of soft shelled eggs laid off the perches at night and lots of double yolks, but for such big birds the eggs were TINY. 3 The egg on the left is an early Cou-Nu and weighed 42 grammes. The next is a bantam at 43 grammes. Next is a Cou-Nu double yolk at 64 grammes and last is a single yolk Marans at 70. Fortunately the eggs have, in 5 of the 6, increased is size and now average 60 grammes, which is only medium, but one (not sure which) is still consistently laying 45 gramme eggs. 4 This is little Lily, the bantam that laid the egg in the previous photo. She’s a Brown English Leghorn and weighs about a fifth of the Cou-Nu and consumes about the same proportion of feed. So if you want eggs at lowest cost, that’s the breed to go for. They don’t go broody either and would you believe it, at just 26 weeks Ermintrude (black tail) has, big time! Well, I don’t regret getting them. Nice to give them a chance to live a full life (only 2 years we are told) and they occupy an area that would otherwise be useless and are conditioning it. Their lack of feathering should allow them to cope with the Summer heat, although I have had to drag out 80 metres of hosepipe to water the run a few times because they were panting a bit. The eggs are OK and the poo will give us lots of top quality compost. We always have the option of getting a cockerel and breeding for the table and for replacements, although we have been warned that the huge cockerels can be dangerous, so perhaps tread carefully with that idea. They are very different to any other breed we’ve had and I’m sure in time we’ll learn more about them. The size of coop, run and enclosure they need means you need a lot of space to keep them and they are becoming very confident so may become a handful; I don’t think they will be a first choice for many keepers and I doubt they will mix peacefully with other breeds.

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