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Posts posted by sarkymite

  1. I grow sweet peppers every year alongside many varieties of chillies. One thing I would say is that I have very limited success with peppers outside. They do best in a sunny, sheltered spot in pots, and even better in a greenhouse or conservatory.

    I've had the most success with Anaheim variety (smaller, pointed, delicious when green so no need to worry about ripening them off) and with Romero (these are the classic bigger red pointy ones you get at supermarkets and markets). I've had the least success with the classic rounded types like the ones we most usually buy in supermarkets.

    I have much more success with hot peppers than sweet... my freezer ends up full of surplus fruits and my pantry full of spicy chutney and killer ketchup :lol:

    Feel free to PM me if you ever need any advice on any peppers (sweet or hot) - I've grown so many over the years, I've learned a lot on the way...!

  2. Neighbour told me the chickens were making helluva racket at 11pm. I didn't hear this but did have a "gut feeling" to go check them around 11.30pm- they were fine but other neighbours dogs were losing the plot over something.

    This morning they had me awake on and off from around 4am but got really loud at 6.50.

    It was a combo of 2 types of racket:

    1) the bok bok bok bok bok SCREEEEECH bok bok bok bok bok SCREEEECH noise and

    2) the loud and grating graaawk grawwwwwk grawwwwwk grawwwwk grawwwwwk GRAAAAWWWWKKKKK grawwwk thing that they do. They were all at it and it only stopped after I'd stood outside with them for 20 minutes sharply saying "shush" every time one opened a beak.

    In between all of this Nancy was also fussing over egg laying so we had some slightly less alarming but nonetheless loud other noises from her too.

    From a glance out the upstairs window I know there was at least one mega peed off neighbour early this morning, 2 doors down. Eeek. He was standing outside in a dressing gown, hands on hips and glaring in the general direction of the run.


    Nice neighbour thinks foxy was paying closer attention to the hens than usual and that's what the noise was about (and was so worried for the chickens!) so I took the precaution today of actually starting the run improvements I'd been planning. I was shocked, when cable tying, how many of the clips have already come open or failed/snapped on our WIR. This incarnation of it has only been up since December and it was all brand new clips!! It is all now securely cable tied up to waist level and to roof height around the door, but I've run out of cable ties now :lol:


    Also I've found one snapped bit of metal on a high up panel (again this panel was new in December, and one slightly bent-out corner halfway up, which is weird. I can't decide whether the run has naturally shifted/subsided a bit (possible as the hens have dug away inside around the edges so it now sits sort of on a ledge in places) or whether it's attempted-entry damage.


    I might shut them in the Eglu again tonight. I'm only half hearted in my resolve to do this because I worry that it seems to get rather hot in there overnight if the donor's shut, and also because with the general trampling and stamping about that they engage in before being let out of a morning, I worry one will get hurt or that they'll smash any early-laid eggs etc.

    Oh! for spare cash for a Cube!!! :roll: That would solve everything. Well not everything but it would be a lot more of a spacious option for shutting them in to overnight!!

  3. Only thing I can suggest is one of those beak things so she cannot peck at the others.

    The name escapes me right now,.


    Bumpa Bit?


    I had a problem like this when I first got chickens. For us the solution ultimately was that we had to take the perpetrator back and exchange her for another chicken (this is after she'd caused serious wounds on one, minor wounds on another and also attacked me, drawing blood!)


    I don't have much help to offer for how to stop the behaviour as in the end nothing worked for us, but I wanted to suggest/ recommend Purple Spray for any red or open wounds. It covers up the redness so the other chickens won't be as interested in pecking at it, and it's antiseptic too. It certainly saved our Henrietta back in Nov 2014! Her whole back and base of her tail was open, bleeding, it was horrific. But with the spray on she was fine to go back in with the others (having removed the evil perpetrator!) . The attack damaged her preen gland and left her with a patch where the feathers never regrew, and as a result she was never again the smartest looking of chickens but purple spray, I'm sure, saved her. Put tons of it on. The feathers will never look the same again but they will eventually moult and regrow and meanwhile she can sport a punk bum-do! Good luck.

  4. What are you feeding them? Do they have access to get? I guess it may be just because she's not got into the swing of things as yet. It certainly doesn't sound like a normal egg production. Other than just that she's still really young, I don't know... will wait for someone more experiences to come along!

  5. I'd second that. If there are future lock-ins, which seems likely, you'll want something you can throw a tarp over which still gives the birds room to move aorund. Also even with a fully enclosed garden you may not be 100% safe from foxes, especially if you're in an urban area.


    I love my hybrids, have never had a pure breed (though am considering a combination in the future as this summer I'm finding 4 hybrids all in lay is almost too many eggs even for my family and all 3 regular customers!) You could have "fancy" eggs with some pure breeds?


    Aah! I love a good planning session!! Can't wait to hear what you decide/choose!

  6. I agree it's probably just a blip if they're young and only recently came into lay.

    We added some new hens at Easter and the last of those to start laying had a really patchy start, we had 2 with no shells, one that was covered in what felt like sandpaper, and a virtually oblong misshapen one too, and she's still not quite consistent but she's improving.

    It can be quite common when they're just getting the hang of the laying thing.

  7. That looks lovely! Do you have just the four girls? Is that a 3x2m WIR?


    Without measuring it I now have no idea what size it is off the top of my head. If wash panel is 1, then yes it would be 3x2.


    Yes just the four here and currently banned by the OH from spending any more money on chicken stuff. If I could extend the accommodation (I would need a cube too as only have the classic at the moment, def no room for more than 4 in there) I'd get more... to be honest it's probably for the best that Omlet stuff is expensive :lol:

  8. I'm with Sarkymite here (lovely name girl where did that come from?) I am a messy lady. So long as girlies are fed watered and wormed and happy I am happy too. Lifes too short for perfection but each to their own.


    Ah thanks!! I made it up when I was 18 and had just gone off to uni, was my first real exposure to "online" and my then boyfriend said I had to have an online name. I invented it from my (not entirely desirable) penchant for sarcasm + my love of marmite :lol:


    At work I'm 100% tidy and organised. At home.. . Erm... not so. :oops:

  9. Chicken bits all over the place here :lol:


    So, feed and treats are in a secure metal bin outside next to the Eglu for easy access for feeding. (It's water tight and rat proof)

    Bedding, DE etc and the less often used / tried and abandoned medical/treatment bits are in the shed. Shed is right by the Eglu too so easy access for stuff for cleaning out.

    Cider vinegar, tonic, vitamin drops and any current (or currently favoured) treatments / medical bits are under kitchen sink (ease of access for adding liquids to water as our outside tap is broken so I have to get water from inside).

    On the dining room floor by the patio door is, randomly, one bag of herbal treats, a couple of empty plastic containers which I use for taking fresh treats down the garden, some empty large milk cartons for carting water down the garden and most importantly, my gardening clogs (more accurately referred to as my chicken clogs :lol: )

    I think the pet carriers for transportation are on OH's tool shelf in the garage, also a spare run cover, and the most recently purchased bag of bedding is under the stairs in the hall.

    My OH despairs...

  10. . I do worry but to be honest it's our job to keep our girls safe not the foxes job to keep out our garden.


    Wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. Much as I'm terrified of/about them I recognise that we co-exist and have competing interests as it were. I'm going to cable tie everything this weekend and put galvanised wire mesh under the eglu itself as I reckon the grey arch bits either side just where the skirt finishes are a weak point.


    I'm also going to look in to extending the skirt so it's wider, and will consider paving in the future as we may move the WIR at some point in next ywar or two as we get to geips with the layout of the garden and that's a massive job so we could pave it's new location at the same time. Moved in 7 months ago and still not sure what we want to put where!! :roll:


    I shut them in overnight last night and popped down at 6am to let out. I'll try for 6.15 tomorrow and then see if I can stretch it to 6.30. I find they make more noise if they aren't able to get up- maybe that's just because they're used to being able to get up at dawn. They usually get up around 5ish and move to the WIR where they have a lazy breakfast and then sit and snooze on the outside perches lol! Knowing they were shut in did mean I slept better even though I heard a fox calling at some point in the night (or did I dream it?!) :anxious:

  11. Rather than more ground pegs, I would put stones/slabs/logs on the skirting. My skirting has "disappeared" into the ground. Also placing the run on paving slabs instead of ground would help I guess.


    I thought putting paving slabs on top of skirt would encourage the fox to try digging a little further out, where the paving slab ends? The skirt on ours is disappeared into the grass in places but I think that's what makes it work- the fox can't see it / understand there's a barrier. What worries me is the bits where it's now slightly proud of the ground, as if something HAS tried to dig it up...

  12. . Urban foxes are after an easy meal, so making it difficult will deter them. I would add an additional lock such as a carabiner clip to the run door and a brick or two at the back where the tray comes out.


    Also I'm not really sure whether we're dealing with urban or rural foxes here. We live on the very edge of suburbia, with open fields, farmland, waterways and woodlands just across the road, but in the other direction it's all suburb-type housing and the village centre.

  13. I'm getting paranoid. Since OH seeing foxy out the front I've had long chat with neighbours who say they see the fox walking up side of their house nightly, at 10.20pm, and it sets all the local dogs yapping. So I've listened out night after night and realise she's right. Dogs next door and the one behind them (which also borders our garden) all start up pretty much same time every night.

    I've taken to a walk up the garden with a torch around this time but I'm not always able to stay up this late!

    Also I've realised after reading some other posts on here that what I thought was cat poo, right by the run, is actually fox poo. We've also found it in other areas of the garden.

    So I know foxes will persist and come back night after night after night. It has probably been visiting since we moved in and so far no mishaps, but I'm now finding parts of the run skirt where I'm thinking it used to be more well "stuck down" than that, and a shallow hole has appeared behind the run where activity is hidden by a tree and a fence. It's right where the skirt ends. I had thought it was the chickens making a dust bath when they free range but now I'm not so sure and wondering whether they've simply decided to bathe in a hole made by something else.

    The other day I found a pole clip loose on the run floor but I can't for the life of me work out where it's come from.

    Should I be doing anything to make it even more secure? What I've thought of as possibilities so far - will any of these help?:

    * cable tie all the joints

    * get some galvanised metal mesh to extend the skirt so it is twice as wide.

    * use lots more tent pegs to hold skirt down

    * place a sheet of galvanised mesh under the Eglu itself so nothing can dig in under that

    * shut them into Eglu overnight (But v v not keen on getting up at silly o clock to let them out... why can't you get automatic openers for Eglu?!


    What do you all think? FR time is already more limited than in the old days and I've shouted at OH for letting them out and leaving them unsupervised during the day. We have thick conifer hedges on 2 sides and lots of bushes, loads of places for the fox to hide. No chance of getting rid of the hedges either as the small and rotting fences behind them offer no privacy at all and it'd be thousands of quid worth of fencing to fix, though we have started removing the lower branches off the conifers so we can see under them, if you see what I mean- less cover.


    I'm losing sleep over this which is stupid... I grew up with a huge fear of foxes as we had really bold ones in London where I lived and they lived in our back garden and dug a huge den which made our patio collapse. As a kid I was terrified of them and they got my neighbours guinea pig and rabbits. The adults used to threaten us kids that the fox would come for us if we were bad and I remember there being repeated unsuccessful attempts to get rid of them. So all this old buried anxiety has resurfaced and I'm literally sleeping with one ear open all the time as I k ow foxes are most active hunting when feeding cubs (like, now).


    If I kept the Eglu shut overnight what time would I have to let the birds out in the morning?



  14. Hi, welcome!

    When I first got chickens I had similar concerns as yours; I have a very busy life and was worried about fitting it all in. I have to say I find my hens not only pretty low maintenance (with the exception of me coming down with a case of morehens, which did end up taking over the 4 day Easter weekend entirely whilst I supervised introductions, re-decorated runs, etc! :lol: ) but also a really welcome, "simple" distraction from my hectic pace of life. I make time to spend with them even when I don't need to (any excuse to go sit and watch them!!), it's peaceful and quiet (mostly!) and straightforward, and I think it really does me good.

    When you are so busy you can't fit it all in, I find I can deal with feed/water and egg collection in 5 mins per day and have got weekend cleaning out down to a fine art; can do it in 30 mins if I have to, though as I said, I tend to make time to spend longer down the garden with the hens.

    I find a fox proof (hopefully!) run is invaluable as I don't have to shut them into Eglu at night or let them out in morning, I leave Eglu door open (into run) on all but the severest sub-zero winter nights. I also have a deep layer of hardwood chippings in the run and find i generally dont need to poo pick etc as the hens turn it over and droppings fall through. A hose down every now and again (i used to let the rain do this but find life easier with a tarp over the run roof now) and then I replace the chippings when they start to degrade (approx 6-9 months I find). So all i have to do regularly is clean the Eglu itself and that can be done super quickly if short on time.

    So if you create a low maintenance set up from the start I'm sure you'll be fine :D

  15. So soon, so fast!

    Little Amber Nancy has struggled to fit in with the flock as she's been terrified of the big girls and nothing has persuaded her to overcome that fear even when she saw her pal Nova bravely going for it. She fast developed a bond with humans though, coming running for nothing other than a hello, taking all opportunities to get in laps, loving a cwtch and babbling baby chook noises at us. She pretty much never left my side this weekend, "helping" me build a fence, weed the garden and all sorts of other jobs. As she's been so terrified of the big girls and as the big girls have been especially territorial over the Eglu,, ever since Nova got integrated enough to put herself to bed with the big girls, she's been sitting forelornely by herself in the WIR at dusk until I go down to put her to bed. When she's seen me coming down the garden she started making these little noises that sound like a performing seal and stood up ready to be picked up. I'd scoop her up in one arm and she'd rest her head on me and curl one foot around my finger, and I'd walk her round and pop her in to the Eglu through the egg port.


    Tonight she's put herself to bed for the first time with the others, all by herself. I could hear quite a commotion going on in the Eglu so I took a look and the biggies were being pretty mean but both littlies were coping so I've left them to it. I feel a little pang of sadness though as I was coming to really love my dusktime cuddles with little Nancy! (white chicken)

  16. Ok first attempt at a photo for a few years after a 5 day battle with photobucket... the Amber (called Nancy) and Nero (called Nova) are our newbies and one of the two oldies, Wilma, is also in the foreground, she's the brown one. Pic showing the redesign we completed on the WIR last weekend. Hope this works and I'm rely sorry if it comes out the wrong size and too big. Its taken all my patience just to get logged in and get the picture uploaded!


    2nd attempt... think I've managed to make it smaller:



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