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Beantree last won the day on July 8

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Chicken Addict (8/19)



  1. Talking of bunnies. Whilst streaming INSIDE the chicken enclosure we today disturbed a leveret. Now we know that mummy hare will reject them if touched by humans, so we left it alone. But that explains why the chickens have been giving the alarm call for no apparent reason over the last few days. The previous ones met their end from our terrier, but this one should be quite safe if it stays inside until it is able to sneak out through the netting, avoiding the electric lines, then find cover at the far end of the field which we have set aside for just such an event. There are no rabbits here. The ground is so hard digging tunnels is impossible.
  2. Re-introducing the broody went OK @Dom T, so no violence. But I'm not sure she is entirely out of it, so perhaps we should have done 3 days and nights? As you, this is not an egg issue but one of welfare; we don't want a broody to burn out and get sick. Our views are similar, but a bit flatter, so we have had to add draught netting to the run.
  3. Certainly does sound like the start of a moult @mullethunter, but she would have to be older than the others because they don't moult in their first year. It is possible that the breeder slipped in an older one because, with the movement restrictions from Covid and Avian Flu it is possible that they had been unable to sell all their older stock. Did she have a redder comb than the others when you bought them @Narf? Did you get an egg much earlier than all the others?
  4. Please don't think you are invincible, just better protected. 3% of people in hospital here have had both jabs. 97% have had one or none. Cases in France are doubling every week, but it's the young now who are hospitalised as the oldies are generally fully vaccinated. You can't do much here without a health passport for good reason. We still don't feel safe as only 50% have the double dose and despite that they can still be carrying it.
  5. My guess is that she simply doesn't feel secure enough to lay. Being lowest in the pecking order is going to make her nervous, but with the heat and noise on top that's possibly put her off. She sounds healthy enough so my advice is just wait. The deep rooted instinct is that they are laying eggs to eventually hatch, though fortunately most of them don't try. They will therefore, in theory, only lay in a secure environment. Obviously this instinct has been suppressed by breeding, hence battery hens laying in those disgraceful conditions. But there will be the occasional hen who is still true to her ancestry. She sounds very sweet and another guess is that if any do go broody she will be one of them.
  6. I'm sure you now realise @Dom T that there are varying degrees of broodiness. At one end of the scale we had a Leghorn that was lifted from the nest box only twice before giving up. At the other end of the scale is young Ermintrude who had been taken out of the nest box 4 or 5 times a day for 4 weeks and was getting more resolute. Previously she went broody at just 6 months old and lasted a week. She lives with 5 other hens so blocking the nest boxes or shutting the coop are not options. We have foxes wandering about so we could not risk a broody cage in the run (which is against the outside fence) and her being scared and possibly injuring herself. Anyway I am pleased to report the the relocation method was a complete success. No longer broody and reintroduced without any bullying, which we did at grain treat time as a distraction for them all. Definitely a technique we will use again, but much sooner as Ermintrude has lost an awful lot of weight. We have another persistent broody, but putting her in a separate run in sight of her coop does work for her; three days and nights being sufficient on several occasions. But we did move her immediately every time. Perhaps if we were too slow to move her we may not be successful?
  7. The real danger with cool baths and ice packs is they try to raise their body temperature to counter them and that can very easily lead to a heart attack. We've had a broody for 4 weeks. Tried a separate run but she could still see the main coop and we suppose knew her chicks were in there. The result was her body temperature went so high we were convinced she was going to die. In desperation we moved her into a completely different enclosure out of sight of the original. Seems to have worked. She's been there for two days now and we are going to try re-introducing her this afternoon. Problem is she will be seen as an outsider now and the other hens may attack her? I was told years ago the best way to break a broody is to put her in someone else's garden where she has no reference point, but had never tried it until now.
  8. Night night Peggy. Always hard to lose a pet and they do leave a big hole in your life @Luvachicken. We lost Minnie a few days ago. She was the last of the chickens that came to France with us. She was 11 and half years old and doing surprisingly well after losing her sister Margo 6 months ago. She started crowing! But a combination of things caused her to leave us earlier than perhaps she should have. Slugs and snails started to eat her food. Then we cut her enclosure without the grass box. She had a grass impacted digestive system and we think that her food became unpalatable leaving her hungry, then the cut grass arrived. So she gorged on that and it killed her. So many years of experience and we are still making mistakes. We thought she had made a turn around after several poos of grass. She became very active for a short while, but as is so often the case it was a last fling. Minnie was very pretty as well, despite her age her feathering was amazing. A gold laced wyandotte. Night night Minnie.
  9. We have a regular 'claim to be laying' here. Top hen takes the pot egg out of the coop and puts it in the nest box then comes out proclaiming to have laid. When one of her daughters lays she throws them out of the nest box and sounds out to claims the egg is hers. Quite possible that this is hierarchy behaviour, but one not documented anywhere I have seen. Chickens are complicated. Underestimate them at your peril.
  10. They are, just because it's not the newbies space. If there are no territorial problems just pick the pullets up and put them in the coop. To avoid fighting in the morning let them out before daylight, otherwise you may have problems. What we do is move the oldies out and let the newbies take possession of the space. Then let the oldies in. They will fight and feel they have conquered the area, but will allow the newbies to stay there. Anyone who thinks keeping chickens is simple is just that; simple.
  11. We had a hybrid many years ago that only laid green-shelled double-yolk eggs (Gracie). Given that a large egg is over 63g (if I remember correctly), her 126g largest egg was quite amazing. Unfortunately she only lived 12 months and I'm pretty sure the strain of consistently laying those huge eggs (always over 85g) took its toll on her. I hope your ex-batt fares better. Is it a double-yolk @Chookchat?
  12. All of one of our flocks have runny poos at the moment. It's been quite hot (32C) for a week now and they are drinking a lot and not eating much. Grainy looking poo can be due to a lack of grit and it may be just one of them isn't eating it? Alternatively, I noticed for the first time today undigested grain in their poo and my theory is their digestion is so fluid and quick that the grain isn't getting ground up in the gizzard because it's not there long enough? The fact that your hen is the most robust and best feathered, she may well be the one most affected by the heat and is drinking correspondingly more.
  13. It's all going to depend on the design of the automatic door, because my preference is to fit them internally. If that is possible you could just heave the existing door open?
  14. Try preening her. Go over all her feathers at the base and remove any sheaths. She will preen herself and that may kickstart normal behaviour. Long shot I know but I'm trying that now with one of ours.
  15. They don't need grass but they do love it. Makes for a better coloured yolk as well. Don't know what size your gravel is but they will trash it digging for grubs and their poo will fertilise the ground and you will get even more grass. Eventually you will have your lawn back.

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