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Everything posted by Beantree

  1. Beantree

    New keeper, first time chicken problem!

    That looks like Northern Fowl Mite. The scab is formed over the area where the tiny mite are feeding under the skin; you will need a magnifying glass to see them. We treat that with Frontline spray which isn't licensed for chickens as it is a treatment for lice on cats and dogs, which has to be very carefully applied to avoid overdosing and can only be prescribed by and supplied by a vet in the UK (in France you can buy it in pet shops). So I think a trip to the vet is needed.
  2. Beantree

    Messy eaters!

    You don't say what feed they are given, but one thing to avoid is putting grain in with pellets because they will dig out the pellets to find the tastier grain. We use the round green floor mounted feeders with adjustable height and dividers in the trough to stop them digging. However, because the adjustment is spring loaded, they can scratch and loosen the assembly to the extent that they can't reach the food. So we've switched to the fixed (red in UK) ones which now need an occasional shake to free the pellets into the trough. Here in France that's all they seem to sell anyway, although they are better quality with feet to raise them off the floor (and purple). Sorry I haven't any pictures.
  3. Beantree

    Baby chick lying on its side

    Never had this problem, but lying on his side he will struggle to breath, so you need to get him upright. All you can do is make sure he continues eating and drinking and hope he grows out of the behaviour. As you suspect it could be a vitamin imbalance, but good quality chick crumb will restore that.
  4. Beantree

    The Weather Thread #9

    After 6 weeks of heat and drought we've had a decent amount of rain here in the last week and some of the grass is returning. Water butts are overflowing at last, for free! Now there is a band of thunderstorms moving slowly towards us; hopefully no hail or strong winds because the tomatoes will then be wrecked. Despite all the rain there are still 30 Departments on red alert for drought. One area said that up to now they have only had 250mm of rain this year and the normal for the whole year is 750mm, so the grape harvest will be very poor indeed.
  5. Last time I went to an auction (Penkridge), a rather sick looking cockerel died in the cage a few minutes later. They laughed it off and sold the hens that with him anyway and also the birds in the cages either side of him. Needless to say we bought nothing and never returned. My only concerns with keeping hens at an allotment are security (theft and predators) and visiting twice a day without fail to check food and water, clean out and collect eggs. It will be a lot of work.
  6. Beantree

    Gardening thread

    All our potatoes and onions are out fortunately, because we've had so much rain overnight I could see them rotting in the ground. We tried the suggestion of taking tomato plant shoots from the early plants we bought and potting them to get more plants. It takes time so we had to take the first shoots that appeared, but all 8 are now climbing curly sticks and are 3' tall with the first trusses fruiting. Means we will get tomatoes all season and the second lot are free!
  7. Beantree

    Chickens in the heat

    105 degrees DM? We put ice blocks in the drinkers. It's 38C here and the first, an 8 year old TNN has come in. The first and the only sign of heat overload is a lot of squawking, after that...... Obviously they pant a bit first and that's the clue to watch carefully. We are spraying the runs with loads of water. They don't like direct spay so send it into the air and they think it is rain. We haven't deployed the fans yet- they are keeping the freezers, us and fridge cool.
  8. Beantree

    The Weather Thread #9

    Goodness it's hot already; 31C inside the garage. Forecast says 38C today and a blistering 43C tomorrow, which I hope is wrong. So we are set for another 4 day heatwave with a third predicted in mid-August. We might get some rain on Saturday, when it gets cooler, which we really need now as almost all the grass is burned, something we haven't seen here before. So 7000 litres of tap water now used and we will be watering the chicken enclosure for the next few days which means a rather large bill due in October!
  9. Beantree

    Dirty knickers and softies

    Problem with antibiotics is the wreck the digestive flora, so whilst she appears to be eating she won't be digesting much and her poo will be sloppy. I'd give her a dose of Avipro Avian Luvachicken. Takes a week before you will notice any change, but it's something we use quite a lot.
  10. Beantree

    The Weather Thread #9

    Good news about our red alert drought; it only applies to the NW of the Department and the rest of us are not on any drought alert level whatsoever. So we continue to use tap water on the vegetables, left for 4 days to allow the Chlorine to come out. Most of our veg is out now (potatoes and onions), so our usage has dropped considerably, but we've still used 6000 litres of tap water this year and with a heatwave forecast for next week, with still no rain, we are set to use even more.
  11. Beantree

    Is this a lash?

    The rubbery stuff is the lash; layers of shed oviduct lining. Perhaps the liquid was egg white?
  12. Beantree

    Is this a lash?

    It looked huge, until I saw the end of the key, so I would say yes. To be sure cut it in half. It should be the same creamy layered material all through, although the few I've seen were paler in colour. Perhaps there is a yolk inside?
  13. Beantree

    The Weather Thread #9

    Well we survived the heatwave, as did all the chickens. The eagerly anticipated thunderstorms didn't arrive yesterday so we only got 10mm of rain, whereas 20Km North they recorded 38mm. So now we are 'red alert' for drought and are not allowed to use tap water for our plants. So looks like we are going to have pump out our little (2m3) pool to keep our stuff alive!
  14. I wouldn't bother HappyFeet. There may or may not be a legal definition somewhere, but you won't find that out from the builder. In fact you would need to employ a barrister via a solicitor to make any headway, but believe me getting legal definitions that way will be very expensive. I think you asked any pet owner if they thought chickens were included the answer would be a resounding yes. Problem people will be those who have no pets at all and have never even thought about animals in that way.
  15. The builder probably doesn't know the scope of 'normal domestic household pets' HappyFeet, because the solicitor will have included that phrase because it has been used before, but they probably won't know the definition either. To me it is any animal kept without intent to profit financially and given the number of domestic chicken keepers there are (Defra defines a domestic flock as 19 or less) I can't see chickens being excluded.
  16. Beantree

    Keeping Chickens 4

    Nice job Peter, but you will need to fix weld mesh over the window aperture inside to prevent rats and mice getting in at night.
  17. Beantree

    Keeping Chickens 3

    Good idea to make it so it can be dismantled Peter. Know someone who spent a lot of time building a lovely big coop then discovered it was far too heavy to carry and left it behind when they moved house. Makes it a lot easier to repair and paint as well. All of ours except one we bought are 'flat pack', simply so they could be transported from England to France. The one that was too heavy to move stayed behind. Internal pop-holes are inherently secure although more difficult to build, whereas external ones can be easily torn off. Like the thought of opening them from your bedroom window, then going back to bed.
  18. Beantree

    Keeping Chickens 1

    That looks like a nice spot for chickens Peter. We have ours on lawn in front of the house; saves cutting it as well. One thing worth mentioning. Before you put chickens on grass it needs to be cut very short, the reason being because sometimes they gorge on it (if they haven't been reared on grass) and if it is long it will impact their crop.
  19. Beantree

    Mon emmenager en france/My move to France

    Oh that did make me laugh Cattails! They open all the windows with the aircon switched on; I wouldn't like their electricity bill.
  20. Beantree

    Mon emmenager en france/My move to France

    Controlling the temperature inside a house here is a bit of a juggling act and requires the basics to be in place. We have 9" of loft insulation under a ventilated roof space and all the small windows are shuttered. All the windows and doors are opened just before daybreak, when the temperature outside is low and everything is closed up tight as soon as the outside temperate reaches the inside temperature. All sources of heat inside need to be avoided, so energy saving bulbs and absolutely no cooking in the house. Based on experience, things that don't work here are open staircases, loft conversions and Velux windows. We had those in the last place and the bedroom was often 34C and so we had to sleep downstairs. Problem is once the heat is inside the building you struggle to reduce it unless you have expensive air conditioning. Sometimes it just doesn't get cool enough at night so the house gets rather stuffy. The inside temperature got to 24.5C in the heatwave, which isn't a lot but means or fridge goes into overload without a fan blowing air through the heat exchanger at the back.
  21. Beantree

    **Thread of little facts & things**....3

    Yes they are great photos and of two species we don't have here. I've never seen a grey squirrel in France but dozens of red ones and we have one that wanders down the lane to take our walnuts; plenty enough to share. We don't have mice now after two years of concerted pest control as the house and out-buildings were infested, but we do have short-tailed long haired field voles which our terrier is controlling. Problem is they get into the veg plot and eat everything, as do the slugs and did the 40+ snails which have now been re-homed.
  22. Beantree

    Mon emmenager en france/My move to France

    Nice garden and chickens . What works well for shade is bamboo as it allows the hot air to escape. Of course it isn't water proof so only drinkers can go underneath. We have tarps on the runs but have discovered that they only last one season before the sunlight destroys them. We've considering rearing for the pot, primarily because of the cost of chicken here. It is reared to high standards and that's probably why it costs so much, but €10 seems a bit too much. Hope you are managing in this record heatwave.
  23. Beantree

    Understanding maggots

    A bad side effect of antibiotics is that they destroy the digestive flora, so food just goes through without the nutrition being extracted. I suggest giving her Avipro Avian 2 days after finishing the antibiotics course. This will restore things as quickly as possible. As DM says, antibiotics should not be prescribed without good reason and I thought that was now standard practice in view of the health risks to humans eating eggs from a hen that has been treated with antibiotics. It's about developing an allergy to an antibiotic that may be needed to be used in future on humans who have become allergic to all the current antibiotics used I believe.
  24. Beantree

    The Weather Thread #9

    The soil is quite thin here DM, so anything over a foot and it is hard clay which is rock a foot further down, although it varies over the whole plot. So digging a hole deep enough would be nigh-on impossible. We have two surface concrete butts of 1000 litres each at the moment, but they were installed when the house was renovated and now the septic system prevents heavy equipment accessing the back of the house. I've seen some plastic 500 litre pots which could be set to cascade down from one to another to another and another, giving us an extra 2000 litres. Perhaps next year? 27C already here and they are now saying 41C in central France (the Limousin). No rain on the cards for at least a week.
  25. Beantree

    The Weather Thread #9

    35C here on Sunday with low humidity felt nice, but yesterday and today at 33C with high humidity is stifling. Forecasts vary, but we have at least two days to come around 39C, perhaps four days. No rain for the next week so more tap water added to the butts making a seasonal shortfall so far of 2300 Litres. Will have to do the maths at the end of the season to see if extra rain water storage is economical and how much we would need between periods of rain to avoid using tap water. The spare freezer is now on preparing ice blocks for the drinkers ready for tomorrow. We have some chickens that are smart enough to stand in their water trays to cool down, but unfortunately we have some that are not, so the cages in the house are set up ready. There is a good Easterly breeze though coming up the valley, so we're hoping that just hosing down outside the runs will keep everyone cool. The other problem is keeping the house cool, which means opening doors and windows at first light when it is coolest, then keeping everything closed during the day.