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sarkymite

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Everything posted by sarkymite

  1. OOh yes can I see a photo? Am looking locally for paving slabs as I wanted some for my veg garden anyway so hmm yes I may eventually be able to put slabs under the eglu and around under the skirt
  2. Petula is a big squawky fatso too - maybe it's in the genes
  3. Thank you so much cattails - now how did you do that?? Have I got too much code there or something?
  4. If this works, this is Petula our Oxford blue.
  5. No guttering arrangement - it's an eglu classic extended run with the long cover on it - not sure I could rig up guttering that would stop the rain dripping/blowing back in tbh. Definitely going to order hardwood chips instead of the bark chippings. There isn't a lot of space for a fox to dig around/under the eglu or run due to the layout of the garden but we are thinking of laying a wire mesh sheet under the eglu itself (as there is no skirt there obviously) as I know how fast and efficiently they can dig - I imagine one could dig right under the eglu itself and into the run that way if it wanted to. Also getting out there with cable ties later this afteroon to beef up the run security - I already broke one of the plastic clips that hold the run together completely by accident so I imagine a fox could do a lot of damage just by climbing on it. We had the girls free ranging this morning and basically one of us followed them about wherever they went! Paranoia has well and truly set in despite that I've never even see the fox around here (OH has seen one recently down by the bins at the local supermarket 5 mins walk away but that's the first one he's seen in years too) - the fact that a neighbouring garden has lost hens to the fox is I suppose enough to make anyone paranoid. Longer term I am on the lookout for a Cube (for the extra space, ease of use and the fact that it's skirted all the way around) and longest term I am trying to think of ways to raise a few hundred K to enable me to persuade OH to move to a property with a much bigger garden where we can custom-build a walk in run with sunken concrete and mesh barriers all around!! Seriously I've lost the plot and gone chicken-nuts!!!
  6. Ooh congratulations! Hoping to see pictures once they have settled in
  7. I have about another hundred questions....! I have been away for a few nights for work leaing OH to look after the chickens. Was quite excited to see them when I got back today!! I went straight down to the run when I got home and found that despite the run having a full-length heavy duty rain cover on it, all our lovely fresh new bark chipings have turned into a slimy, muddy quagmire. So... clearly bark chippings aren't the answer. Have done more research and now thinking hardwood pellets. There's a poultry website that recommends laying a turf protector mesh under the wood chippings - has anyone done this and does it actually help keep the mud at bay? Do you find the chickens kick the hardood pellets out of the run more than they do with bark chips (as the hardwood chips are a bit smaller) ? Onto another question or seven - This afternoon while the hens were free ranging OH went indoors for a minute and when he came back out he was a bit confused as there were 4 chickens - there was on sitting on the fence at the rear of the garden (which is about 5 foot at our side but lower from the other side if you see what I mean). It was about to jump down into our garden so he shoo'd it away (as far as I understand from his story telling which isn't always entirely coherent...). Moments later a chap in the garden that just about backs onto the very end of ours (the gardens are a funny shape (ours especially) so we actually share fences with 4 other properties) yells over to him "have you seen my chicken?". We knew someone nearby has chickens as they have a rooster, but we hadn't realised it was this neighbour as you can't actually see in his garden from ours due to his shed. So OH says yes he had seen it, and points what direction it went in - this bloke then reappeared behind his shed (too late to find/catch the escapee, who had vanished) and introduced himself and they had a chat over the fence and the bloke told him that the fox got a load of his chickens. My OH didn't think to probe as to when and how - but it's left me scared! We have the eglu classic and extended run. We've just started leaving the eglu door open at night and I'm now wondering whether that is really safe - the clips holding the run together don't look all that sturdy to me (I might attack it with a load of cable ties tomorrow!!!) and so I'm guessing a fox could get in if really determined even if he can't burrow under. We've agreeed this evening there is to be absolutely no unsupervised free ranging (OH had been popping in and out while they were free ranging but I think we will say one of us HAS to be in the garden). Is there anything else we can do to deter/prevent fox attacks? Lastly, presumably there's a million reasons why the cube is better than the classic - when free ranging Hen and Wilma like to jump up to sit on a wooden pole that we have in the garden (which is actually there so I can drape fleece over frost-sensitive veg crops) and I thought if we had a cube they could have a "look out bar" actually in the run as enrichment - is that the sort of thing they'd enjoy? Why didn't I get a cube to start with?! Am I completely mad to already be thinking about upgrading? According to the measurements on the eglu website the cube should olny take up 5cm more width than the classic at its widest point - so we could just about fit it in instead. Would anyone recommend this as a sensible waste of a lot of money? Oh, and Petula still hasn't laid an egg
  8. They are all hybrids. Petula is an "oxford blue" - which is rhode island red x coucou maran. I think possibly very similar to the bluebelle type. Hen and Wilma are brown hens based on rhode island red but my understanding is they are each slightly different parentage as one has black feathers speckled in, the other has white (and their eggs are slightly speckled accordingly) - the breeder said they were different strains of the same hybrid basically?
  9. C'mon already Petula!! I'm getting impatient!! Seriously, can anyone shed any further light on the "point of lay" business and what is the range of ages where they will start laying? The breeder said all of our hens are "about the same age". She checked them all when boxing them up and said going on the positioning of the pelvic bone they should all be either laying already or literally on the point of starting. We've had Hen and Petula since Saturday 1st Nov, and Wilma since Saturday 8th Nov. Hen laid her first one (well, the first with us) last Wednesday, and then missed Thursday, and has given us an egg every day since then. Her eggs are small (but getting bigger). We know they are hers as she laid two in isolation and her eggs have a faint but noticeable white speckle on the brown shell. Wilma has been with us for just 4 days and has given us 2 eggs - on Sunday and Monday (nothing today!). We know they are hers as she makes an incredible fuss over laying them and makes sure everyone knows she is in the nest. For Hours. And Hours. They are smaller than Hen's and have a faint but noticeable dark brown speckle on the brown shell. But Petula..... *sigh*..... still no egg! Physically she's the biggest and we thought she'd lay first as her comb and wattle are the most grown up looking. So what gives? We think the hens are about 6 months old. Patience isn't one of my strong points....
  10. The day has gone really, really well!! We haven't had a single s"Ooops, word censored!"! We had all 3 out free-ranging from late morning until half past 4. Petula spent most of the time in the run despite having her freedom. I caught her doing some weird kind of chicken-yoga one time. OH tried to pick her up at one point and she squarked and flapped the neighbourhood down. Hen and Wilma have developed a nice friendship and roamed the garden all day together. Well, after they'd both laid their eggs that is.... This morning there were no eggs and we waited and waited but when we let them out she raced up the garden and found a way to jump up into the hutch (I'd left the top open to air it in the sunshine) and started nesting (makes sense I guess as she's been stuck in there the previous 2 days due to having to be separated from the evil one) So we were treated to watching her entire egg laying routine bless her! I expect she'll go back to the nest box during the week as she won't have a choice. Meanwhile Wilma fussed about with her egg more than I thought possible - she retreived and replaced all the straw that they'd pulled out of the box yesterday, also popped in some torn bits of radish tops and a whole radish for good measure and then spent 2 hours fluffing the nest up, getting it "just so" and popping in and out of the eglu to check for more straw before she finally produced! Petula still hasn't laid an egg. Hen is really bold and really friendly and attention seeking - we've all picked her up and cuddled her today and she's found her way into the greenhouse (argh, my plants!), the shed, the garage and had a good go at trying to get into the house too. She "helped" SD and I turn the compost heap (if by help one means scratted a load of it onto the path, tripped us both up, and sat happily on top of the heap eating worms. So yes, we are all happy, the hens are happy, it's all good
  11. I've got my fingers crossed - it seems to be going really, really well so far! Advice from the poultry farm was shut the newbie in the eglu for half an hour and then chuck all 3 in the run and see how they get on, being ready to separate if necessary, and if there was any overly aggressive behaviour, separate the run and have newbie on one side during the day, but plonk them all back in the eglu together at night. So.... we did as instructed. During the half hour (well, ended up being 1.5h as we had some other stuff to do) newbie (now called Wilma!) was in the Eglu, Petula kept trying to push her head through the air vents to see who was in there. We let Wilma out into the run with the other two. They completely ignored her for the first 10 mins. Then Petula had a quick go at her - just a few not-very-hard head pecks and a bit of forcing her to sit down quietly. Then Hen did the same, and then Petula had a go at both Wilma and Hen, and then they just all resumed their normal business - was all over in 5 mins. So then later I noticed that Wilma was hiding in the eglu a bit as she seemed scared to come past Petula so I let Petula and Hen out to free range so that Wilma could eat and drink in peace - which she did. They were like that for 2-ish hours and then back in the run all behaved perfectly. They all put themselves to bed together before SD managed to get out to shut them up, and I let them out at 6.45 this morning - Hen was first off the blocks as always, Wilma came out last but was fine, clearly un-pecked and un-concerned, and has been eating and drinking with the others. The atmosphere in the run is soooo much calmer than it was with the leghorn present. Hen and Petula have visibly relaxed and although still flappy and anxious, Pet is really coming out of her shell (as it were). They are doing nomal chicken things - scratching, rearranging the bark chippings, pulling the straw out of the nest, eating rain drops from the run bars (CUTE!) rather than pacing up and down anxiously. So I'm very happy and just hope it continues to be this good Latest news is that we were trying to have pancakces for breakfast and are STILL waiting for the egg-that-will-complete-the-batter-mix SD checked 45 mins ago and said both Hen and Wilma were sitting in the nest box - so fingers crossed. We will go and check again in a sec when OH gets home with other SD (who doesn't like chickens at all but who is unlikely to object to pancakes!)
  12. Loving all the chicken impressions! I'm starting to recognise H's egg laying announcement I think, and her let me outta here/give me something nice noises. We also know her "that hurts" noise due to having had to put antiseptic on her twice a day, this sounds like a sort of harsh version of a chirrup. Petula is very quiet, doesn't make much noise as yet. We've taken the leghorn back this morning and exchanged for another brown one. We can tell the 2 browns apart as the new one has black feathers in her tail, wings and on her breast, while the original one has white ones. SD has yet to choose a name. We chose one that came up to our feet at the farm and which was hand-tame and squatted when we bent down to her. I am feeling much relieved. I think she is going to fit in really nicely.
  13. Yes, dont worry - the hens will free range every Friday afternoon and on Saturday and Sunday through the winter, and almost every evening through the summer - we just can't have them out when there's "Ooops, word censored!"ody home (though who knows as we get more used to hen-keeping and less anxious!!). We had been advised to keep them shut in the run for the first week - but OH had Henrietta out free roaming this afternoon/evening as she is so tame and she loved it (and has done a great job tidying up a veg bed that needs digging over!). Petula will get a turn at it tomorrow along with Henrietta (just as soon as we've got the purple spray to put on both their wounds so they don't go for each other), and when the new chicken is settled in she will join them. I am glad I didn't let the leghorn out though - might never have got her back in! She will have plenty of roaming when she is back at the poultry farm and hopefully she will do better in a bigger, wilder flock. My next mission is to learn what all the different chicken noises mean....
  14. We have just had "the conversation" with SD - she is quietly disappointed but said that she understood the issues and that there wasn't much point in sleeping on it and that she agreed to taking Willow back. She said she had been looking forward to cuddling Willow this weekend and getting to know her and I think the dawning realisation that Willow is not a cuddly hen has probably helped soften the blow. She went so far as to say she didn't mind but she's very quiet and has taken herself to her room for a bit - she is being very mature but I think she is quite upset. It must be quite a crushing issue for a kid, I remember how quickly I got attached to pets when I was a youngster and you don't want to think that your pet is capable of that sort of behaviour - youngsters do attribute human qualities and human feelings to their pets We have looked at the available other breeds with her and are veering towards a Nera, which is black with golden flecking in the front bib - I have read a few "reviews" online that suggest that they are very docile and placid (in fact one poultry seller advertises them as "ideal for the eglu") and the Nera perhaps lay more eggs and are slightly less prone to broodiness than the Sussexes. However the choice will be hers and she will decide tomorrow when we get to the poultry farm. I feel awful for SD and bad for all 3 hens that they've had such a traumatic week (and I need a very large glass of wine myself right now!) but I also feel very relieved. I was not looking forward to having to try out isolation/reintegration techniques that might well not work and having a chicken that remained wild and unfriendly for the rest of its days. I am just glad that Henrietta appears to be recovering from her ordeal (and so grateful that we have at least one very friendly hen! Maybe with two friendly hens we will persuade Petula not to be so scared of everything...)
  15. Thank you so much to everyone who has posted replies and given advice. I am really grateful. Today's update is that this morning leghorn (Willow) and blue (Petula) seemed fine so I left them together. Brown (Henrietta) gave us an egg in the rabbit hutch last night!! I put H into the partitioned off bit of run again this morning and left W and P together in the other half - went off to work. When I came back briefly at lunchtime W had removed a circle of feathers from P's back near the base of the tail and all 3 birds seemed agitated. So I thought I'd put W in the rabbit hutch (which has a ramp to some downstairs space on grass so not as cramped as you might think and would have "done" for the rest of the day) but when I tried to catch her she lunged at me - she got me under my fingernail which hurts like heck and bled a lot (pathetic me!) and also on the back of my hand where she has broken the skin and given me a bruise. I realised that if I got hold of her and then lost my grip on the journey up the garden I may never catch her again - so decided moving her was a 2-person job. Her wing is clipped but boy she can move - I suspect even with clipped wing she could probably scale 5 foot fence... So, reluctantly I left her in with P and put a load of Vicks Vaporub on P's back - which didn't have the desired effect as W seems to actually like the stuff! Also sprayed the anti-peck spray on P for good measure (got it on my fingers by accident and had a nasty surprise when eating my sandwiches later!!). My OH gets home early on Fridays so at 3 o clock he came back, noticed the circle of naked skin on P is now red so he let H out to free range, put P in H's section and left W in the other half of the run - she promptly found a way through the barrier she was so keen to get to P - so after a bit of barrier-fortifying he then left them in that configuration until dusk. W put herself to bed quite early and was sleepy so reluctantly (and as P was getting quite distressed at not being able to get into the Eglu) we've put P back in with W for the night, liberally sprayed in antispetic - they will be separated again first thing in the morning. H followed us round the garden until well after bedtime and then came running when called (what a CUTIE!!!) and sat to be picked up and have cream put on her wounds (which look like they are healing nicely) and then back into the hutch for the night. We are going to talk to OH's daughter this evening/tomorrow AM and strongly persuade her to take W back. I phoned the poultry farm this afternoon for advice and she said she would swop W for a different hen and agreed that it didn't sound "normal" - so we are hoping to persuade SD that it would be best for all concerned (including W who clearly isn't happy if she's behaving like that) if we swop for a more docile hen. I understand that the choices available are likely to be: Oxford brown Oxford blue (can't have another of these, they are too big - eglu will be too crowded!) Nera White Sussex Speckeldy Sadly the Ambers are out of stock and we aren't going for another leghorn! Of the available hens I know the browns are very docile (and we could leg-ring the new bird so that we can tell them apart) but I don't know much about the other ones, including what sort of size they get to (and mindful that they have to be in the run during the day while we are at work because of foxes so ideally a docile, medium sized breed). I suspect SD would choose a White Sussex as she is so keen on white/pale feathers. What would people recommend?
  16. Aah thanks - its good to know I'm not alone! I think we will try separation for the leghorn and put the Oxfords together (plus lots of purple spray!!!), as a first resort - then if she doesn't calm down we'll have to take her back. But I know step-daughter will want us to at least try before we give up on her.
  17. [quote="Cat tails" You might want to stick the Leghorn in the rabbit hutch and keep the two Oxford together. Seeing as it is her that is causing the trouble and not the brown. But I shouldn't put the brown one back in with anyone else til she's a bit healed, right? I've read they'll peck at bloody wounds out of fascination/attraction to red/liking the taste of the blood - so pesumably for the time being the brown one has to be on her own until she's back to being brown again? Hoping we'll have purple spray tomorrow - if I liberally douse her in that it would be safe to reintroduce her to the blue?? I'd love to put the leghorn in the hutch for my own peace of mind while I'm not there to supervise - but it can only be one or the other.
  18. Yes - I understand this (and I'm already starting to dislike her for the stress she's causing the other two!) and I am sure she will too if it comes to that - just a real shame for her as she's been so excited about it and put so much thought into choosing "her" hen, and she doesn't have the benfit of age with which to look philosophically at things. But she had to admit that the brown hen's injury is nasty - so we shall see how the weekend goes, talk with her, and take it from there. We'll try free ranging with two/three of us supervising to break up fights this weekend - have heard a water spray can be a good training tool for aggressive birds - is there any truth in that? If we do get rid of her, would it be feasible to introduce a different bird at this stage or do you think we should wait a while?
  19. Dolly - this leghorn is quite noisy too. Not screeching (except when we try to pick her up) but she's always muttering about something.
  20. Thanks for your replies. From what you've all said I'm guessing I am right in thinking that this isn't normal "establishing the pecking order" behaviour. I might try separating the leghorn for a while and reintroducing her - but how long should I separate her for? I can't really do this until the brown one is healed up a bit anyway as I can't put her back in with either of them until she's less raw and we simply don't have space to keep all 3 of them separate (we can't free range during the week while we're out because of risk of predators - the run will only split in 2 and we only have the 1 spare rabbit hutch). Step-daughter will be gutted as the leghorn was her choice and is "her pet" and she was dead keen on having specifically a leghorn (she wanted ONLY Leghorn or Amber so we had to find a place that stocked those specific breeds and then they didn't have any Ambers) - if we do have to contact the place we got them from (a reputable poultry farm) I doubt they'll have another leghorn available (they only had a couple left last week) and I don't think she'll want to choose another type so we may end up with just two hens and then maybe have to introduce a 3rd in spring but that will be difficult too won't it? Also will the farm be willing to take her back? I sort of thought that you sort of take pot luck when buying poultry - or would they be willing to help if she really is just a nasty bird? Should I expect my money back, or an exchange or should I only expect them to take the hen off my hands? By the way I think she's eaten all the feathers she's plucked - despite how many the brown hen is missing, I can't find a single one. Ugh this is all causing me so much anxiety - I feel bad for step-daughter, bad for all of the hens that they must be miserable, and really bad for my OH because he really didn't want chickens, he took a LOT of persuading and the brown one was his choice and she's such a sweetie, and in less than a week she's almost been murdered by her companion, looks gory and mangled and is in isolation in the rabbit hutch :( What would happen if we free-range them all together on Saturday under close supervision? Or is that just a terribly bad idea?
  21. Hi, I've just joined the forum, and we have just got our very first chickens (brought them home on Saturday). Bear with me, this may be a bit long and rambly - we haven't exactly had a smooth run of it this week... We have an Eglu Classic with extended run which we got 2nd hand having read up that it could house up to 4 medium chickens or 2-ish large ones. We got 3 hens on Saturday. All are POL and all have been reared together from tiny chicks, and have been kept free ranging in a large field and sleeping in a luxuriously large barn with lots of other hens, until we got them. We have 1 white leghorn, one Oxford blue and one Oxford brown - the blue and the brown are both based on rhode island red, the blue is crossed with coucou maran, not sure what the brown is crossed with. We each (me, my OH and his daughter) chose one. The white leghorn must've already been laying - she laid a small white egg Sunday morning, a large White egg Monday morning, small ones on Tues and Weds mornings. The other two hadn't started laying, but on Weds AM we had one small brown egg, we think possibly the Oxford blue as she looks more mature than the brown going on comb/wattle appearance. Over the few days we've had them we'd noted the white leghorn to be quite dominant, the brown to be very human-friendly (really sweet and lovely and friendly) and the blue to be scared of everything and very flighty. During the day on Wednesday though we had a serious pecking problem while we were out at work - got back to find the brown one missing half her tail feathers and all the feathers down one side of her rear, bleeding profusely and very subdued. Luckily I got back in daylight (unusual) or I wouldn't have seen it til morning. I separated her from the other two, cleaned the wounds and in the absence of having any chicken-specific antiseptic took the advice of a chicken owning friend and put savlon on her. She spent the night in our old wooden rabbit hutch and was quite perky this morning. I spent half an hour at 7am today dividing the run into two using garden canes so that she could be outside and close to her companions over the day without being pecked - this worked well. However, this morning we had two weird eggs in the eglu - one soft one (membrane but no shell) and one very tiny slightly deformed white one, neither of them in the nest box - both fallen through under the roosting bars. DUring the day things have deteriorated - I worked from home this afternoon and found the white leghorn is now attacking the blue - same location, starting at the base of the back near the tail feathers and she really isn't leaving her alone - it's incessant pecking. I've managed to catch the flighty blue one and apply anti-pecking spray but it didn't make a difference - white one just wipes beak on ground in between pecks and carries right on pecking. Blue one not injured or bleeding yet but her feathers are starting to look ragged. So.... this evening we've put brown one back in the rabbit hutch to keep her safe while she heals, and the other two are back in the eglu. Someone recommended vicks vaporub to deter pecking?? I've ordered purple spray and stockholm tar but they won't arrive for a few days (or I can get some on Saturday). So, what is going on with our hens? The leghorn is the smallest. The brown is medium sized and the blue is bigger than we thought she would be - I'd call her large. So we have a large hen, a medium and a "small-medium" - is the Eglu too small for them? Are they stressed because they are used to having acres of space to roam until they came to us? Is it likely to settle down? Is the leghorn actually aggressive and likely to continue to be a problem, and can she be trained out of it? Are the 2 weird eggs this morning anything to do with it? What are we doing wrong? How long do we keep the brown one separated and how do we avoid problems when we put her back in? I must say that I'm already regretting getting the eglu classic rather than the cube just cause the classic looks a bit small and you have to get down to ground level to do anything with it (and I was commando crawling in the run at 7am today to sort out feeders/water further in so that it could be divided down the middle - which wasn't nice!) - but there weren't any 2nd hand cubes available and the classic seemed to be suitable for 3 hens. I feel like we're failing in our quest to own chickens before we've even started! Sorry for the really long post - I'm getting quite attached to the hens already and really worried we aren't doing the right things despite all our extensive pre-chicken-purchasing research.

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