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Eggshell last won the day on January 15

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Chicken Eggspert (2/19)



  1. Humiliating as it is to discover I’m being challenged by bottom chicken, I think you may be right about the pecking order idea, Beantree and Cat Tails. I picked them up a lot more earlier in the autumn, especially as my daughter wanted to come into the run and cuddle them. With avian flu that got more complicated, and the result is they’ve been picked up much less recently. This morning I went firmly in and picked Daisy up and it did feel like there was a standoff going on; although passive when held, she went straight back to threatening to peck me when I put her down. So she has been picked up many times today and the other chickens several times too. I think she may already be starting to reassess - this afternoon I didn’t get any pecking threats. Here’s hoping…
  2. I don’t think she can. She has always squatted very docilely when stroked. She seems calm once I pick her up. It’s just getting harder to find a easy moment to do it!
  3. Yes, she’s been laying all through the winter. It hadn’t occurred to me that she might actively want to be cuddled - I’ve had chickens since 2014, but only the same three until this autumn, so not much range of experience - they were never keen to be picked up. I’ll try that and leave her to sleep where she wants and see if that helps. Thanks!
  4. I’m hoping for guidance about how to deal with Daisy, who arrived point-of-lay with a friend in November as company for my one remaining 8-yr-old chicken. A brief history: Daisy was nervous of lots of things from the start, but placid and friendly with me and very easy to pick up and cuddle. Her pal soon migrated from the new girls’ eglu to the old girl’s eglu, leaving Daisy alone at nights and bottom chicken. I’ve tried moving Daisy over after dark, but she’s still refusing to join the others of her own will. My problem is that she’s started pecking me, to the extent that I’m getting nervous and cross with her, and she then gets nervous of me. She’ll come and take hold of my trousers and keep yanking at them until I push her off. She’ll peck other bits of me if she can reach - she left a bruise once - so I no longer squat down near her and I’m finding it hard even to put a bowl of food down without my hands being in danger. I don’t exactly think she’s being aggressive - she seems more like an out of control toddler who can’t distinguish between what’s worth going for and what isn’t. I did wonder if she was actually hungry, being bottom chicken, but they always have some food available, and once I’ve arrived with more in the morning there are three different places they can feed, and there is still food there by evening. I wondered if letting them taste bokashi bran was a mistake, because clearly both the young ones would happily sell their souls for it, and they become little hooligans if they can see it’s coming. I wondered if being on her own at night is disturbing her - or if being put with the others at night when she doesn’t want to be there is disturbing her. In short, I’m at a loss. The problem has only developed over the last few weeks, but it’s making going into the run more of an ordeal than a pleasure at the moment. I think I need a chicken whisperer… Any suggestions?
  5. I’ve attached a clear tarpaulin tent to the chicken’s run so that they can have a bit of extra ground. So long as the open end is covered with fine mesh and there are no gaps to let anything in, I’m assuming that this counts as ‘indoors’, the same as a covered run?
  6. Not to worry - just wondering. I do find that if I use essential oils in the eglu, I can smell them for a few days. Would that mean they are still sufficiently present to be significant? And do you think it would be irritating for the chickens always to have smellable oils in the eglu?
  7. The government website also says this: “The AIPZ now in force across Great Britain, does not include a requirement to house birds. However, this is being kept under constant review.”
  8. I was looking at an old post by Lewis about neem, thyme and garlic oils used against mites. Hoping Lewis might see this: what concentration would be suitable, and how often would you need to spray a coop to make it have some deterrent effect - and would too much be overwhelming for the chickens? Thanks for any advice.
  9. Will do, mullethunter - thanks. No sign of it during the day at the moment. She has had a bumpa bit before, when she went through a patch of being particularly mean to one of the others, so at least I’m prepared…
  10. I don’t think she can still be moulting - she’s already moulted this autumn and seemed to be finished a few weeks ago (unless the tail end of moulting can dribble on for weeks and weeks?). I’m a little wary of forcing them together against their will, because Penny isn’t the most laid back of chickens and I’m worried that she’ll start pecking the new girls if she doesn’t want them in her eglu, even though things are going well outside - she’s only doing reasonable ‘top chicken’ pecking during the day, but that’s enough to make the new girls a bit wary of her. Not sure if there’s an obvious course of action…
  11. Is it possible for a chicken to peck out its own feathers out of stress? My elderly hen Penny (now nearly eight) always used to peck feathers out of my bottom chicken. Bottom chicken died recently and I got a couple of young ones and integrated them after 3 weeks of living side by side; however, they are still choosing to sleep in their separate eglus. In the last couple of weeks or so I’ve noticed a lot of small downy feathers when I open up the eglu of my solitary-sleeping older chicken in the mornings, and it seemed particularly bad after the night of the big fireworks display. I’ve checked her for lice and checked the eglu for red mites and can’t find any signs of either. Could she be doing this because she’s on her own at night and stressed (but not stressed enough to join the two new girls)?
  12. With avian flu appearing again, I’m wondering if there are any advantages to registering voluntarily with DEFRA. Or any definite disadvantages. Looking at old posts, it seems like a lot of people (not everyone) have been quite wary of registering - but these are posts from maybe 15 years ago. What are people’s views these days?
  13. Do any experienced chicken keepers out there have views on wormwood for chickens? I’ve seen a couple of ‘worming’ products available based on wormwood (plus cloves, garlic, etc- Farm and Yard Remedies and Pets Purest), and though I wouldn’t use this in dealing with a case of actual worms, I’m interested in it as part of an anti-worm regime for healthy chickens. Does anyone know of any concerning side effects on chickens? And would it affect the eggs? Thanks for any thoughts.

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