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Everything posted by sadieatthebridge

  1. Calling all chicken experts.... I'm just after some advice re. introducing new birds to an existing group. We currently have 3 ladies, in pecking order: Hetty (Gingernut Ranger); Margot (Columbine) and Adelaide (Speckledy). Next week we are getting two rescue barn hens and I'm just wondering about how to go about the introductions. All of the official advice seems to call for weeks of quarantine, multiple runs and coops or fenced off areas, whereas the anecdotal advice seems to be 'chuck 'em together and keep an eye out' The girls currently have a coop in a large run. However, the run door is permanently open and they free-range in a large walled garden. I was thinking that I could confine the newbies to the run for a few days while the two groups get used to each other - but what happens at bedtime? Are they all calm enough to roost together on an evening? My existing chooks do occasionally spend the night in a tree (when we forget to check them), so could that be an option? The Big Three in the tree and the New Two in the coop? Obviously that isn't ideal due to predator risks. Any ideas? How did you manage your introductions? TIA
  2. Thank you. She is acting normally today, but just with yellow ears. She has however started losing feathers around her neck, but this is where my Gingernut started her moult a few months ago. When we called in for food at the breeders in the Summer, we did mention the balding neck of the Gingernut. They did mention something which could cause this, but discounted it as it was rare (can't recall what it was) and seemed to think it was just a moult. She has now almost fully regrown her neck feathers. Could it all be connected?
  3. Our Columbine's previously white ears seem to have turned yellow She seems otherwise well, though she isn't laying at the moment and is moulting. There's been no recent change in diet - she free ranges in the garden most of the day, and gets Garvo pellets along with treats. I assumed that she was just having a moult and a break from laying, but with the yellow ears I'm now wondering if it is something more sinister. Any ideas what is going on?
  4. Thanks everyone. I guess I didn't hold out much hope for the metal bins being slug-proof, especially as the little blighters somehow get through UPVC doors into our conservatory. How do they do that?! Might upgrade to a metal bin, and shove a brick on top. It's worth a try!
  5. All of our chicken bumpf is in a Keter plastic storage shed. We used to keep our pellets in one of these from Ikea: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/small-storage-organisers/waste-sorting-bins/sortera-waste-sorting-bin-with-lid-white-art-10255897/'>http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/small-storage-organisers/waste-sorting-bins/sortera-waste-sorting-bin-with-lid-white-art-10255897/ but the slugs kept getting in. I stuck copper tape all around but it didn't seem to make any difference. We then switched to one of these from Ikea: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/small-storage-organisers/waste-sorting-bins/ but it hasn't made any difference. The chickens free-range during the day and frequent the chicken storage shed (for mealworms and corn ) so I assume that slug pellets are out of the question. Any words of wisdom or suggestions? TIA!
  6. I did think that it could be a moult. I was just distracted by the injury and the alarm call. The chickens are around 16 months old. They've lost a few feathers in the past but nothing significant. And they've always laid regularly, apart from broody times. Is it usual to lose so many feathers so suddenly?
  7. Just a quick update: All chooks seem physically fine this morning. Speckeldy has a bald breast but she has just come out of a 8 week broody phase so that could be the cause of that. There were quite a few feathers in the hen house today - from all 3 chickens I think? Hetty, the Gingernut was stalking around the outside of the run/playhouse making a fair racket - could she be perturbed by a nocturnal visitor?
  8. Following on from my thread in Chicken Clinic about my limping columbine, Margot and a possible cat attack.... Well, after a couple of days in chicken hospital (isolation/rest) Margot is no longer limping. She is still sitting a lot though so is perhaps still recovering. I have an automatic door which was set to close this evening at 21:30. I have just been out to the chicken run after hearing a commotion (~21:50). Heard the repetitive alarm call Bok Bok Bok Bokquark Bok Bok Bok Bokquark. Found all three chickens in a huddle, stretched necks peering about. None in bed and the door shut. They were perhaps late to bed tonight and missed the door closing, hence being locked out. However there were LOTS of feathers about. All from my Speckledy Adelaide. I'd estimate 100-120 feathers. And when I picked up Hetty the Gingernut Ranger, several came off her too. The sawdust in the hen house as disturbed, though this could be because one had been to bed then got herself up again. Margot has been retiring early since her injury What has happened? Could it be a repeat cat attack?! Would they loose feathers like this? I could see no injuries on them, nor any obvious bald patches, but will have a closer look n the morning. I'm worried about my ladies - what's been going on?! Thanks in advance
  9. Brilliant, pleased the chicken hospital is a good idea. I've just taken her out and put her back in the run with the other two. She is hobbling, pecking and sitting a bit. Her foot looks normal apart from slight swelling and a couple of small marks. It's a big garden so she could have easily got herself caught in something. Blimey, I hope she's better soon - I can't take the stress! We've had broodiness (2 months!) from Adelaide and softies from Hetty already this year. Margot was top of the class until this happened
  10. Hello there, Hoping for some advice as I am a fairly new chicken keeper! We have 3 chickens. They are about 16 months, and we've had them since last July. They have an open top run with coop, but free-range in a large garden for most of the day. Just setting the scene.... When we came home on Friday, we noticed that Margot, our columbine was limping. All three usually peg it across the garden when we come home as they know they usually get some treats. Margot was sitting under a bush and limped her way over to us. I noticed she had a couple of cuts on the top of one foot. She was also dropping her wing down on that side. She was eating fine, so gave her an inexperienced check and put them to bed. She is eating fine, and can limp around, plus she has laid a couple of eggs in her outside nest this weekend. On Saturday her foot seemed swollen, so we removed the roosts from the coops so she wouldn't do herself any more damage Last night we build a small 'chicken hospital' as I was worried about her A) injuring herself more by dashing to greet us every time we went to the back door; and B) not eating and drinking enough as she is spending a lot of her time sitting. Could she have had an altercation with a cat? When we discovered the injury, one of the other chickens was up a height in an area of the garden she never goes - though that could be a coincidence. Also, the dog was running around sniffing a lot - which could indicate a cat, or that she is just a bit loopy...who knows?! Anything else I should be doing? Do I need some antiseptic spray or gentian violet? Is it best to keep her confined? I'm a bit worried (she's my favourite...shhh! Don't tell the others ) Thanks in advance.
  11. Thanks chickabee. I worked them with Flubenvet at the beginning of the month. Thankfully Hetty is much improved today. She's laid a proper egg - a bit lumpy on the shell, but looks normal enough, and she's been pecking around like normal. I did a bit of digging for her this morning so she had herself a few tasty worms which will have helped on the protein front Hopefully she's back to normal, thank goodness. Margot however, hasn't laid for a week. Should I be worried about that? She's laid once or twice a week this month after being a 4 pw layer.
  12. Thanks sjp. I actually ran out of mealworms last week but bought some more today. I'll try that first then get some Life Tonic if things don't improve. Hetty was out and about today and running for treats so I'm just pleased she's okay
  13. Oh, and Margot stopped laying so regularly a couple of weeks ago. She was never as prolific as Hetty, perhaps 4 eggs pw, but she suddenly stopped for a week, laid on 17/3, then stopped and laid on 23/3 and 24/3 and hasn't laid since. Could this be connected? Or is she just starting a moult?
  14. Thanks Beantree. Is it the milk that is a problem with porridge? I have recently started to make it with water as I read dairy wasn't good for chickens. I've been back out to see them and Hetty looks good. I'll keep a close eye on her over the next few days but fingers crossed it's nothing too sinister. We've only had the chickens for 9 months and we had our first death within 3 weeks I don't want to go through that again any time soon....
  15. Right, I have an update... Thankfully, this morning found Hetty quite chirpy, though she was second out of the house which is unusual. However, we did find 2 soft-shells: one under the house and one under a perch in the house (with some poo). Could these both be from Hetty? She is a prolific layer. Is it possible for them to lay more than one soft-shell per day? And do they sometimes just appear with poo? Hetty ate her porridge today then wandered off to the nest box. I have checked since and she hasn't laid anything. I'll re-check in a while. They are fed Garvo layers pellets as recommended by the breeder we bought them from. I have just changed their oyster shell to Feathers & Beaky, but presumably that shouldn't make a difference. Not sure how much grit they actually eat though. They get other s"Ooops, word censored!"s, porridge every day and, since the restrictions lifted, they free range for an hour or two daily. Off to Google soft-shells now, but any advice from experienced chicken keepers would be much appreciated
  16. Thanks guys. Is it safe to assume that the eggs were broken healthy eggs rather than soft-shelled eggs? The shell seemed flattened, but still crunchy. I'm a little bit worried about Hetty. She has been quiet today and i just found her roosting under the hen house - she never does this. She is always first to bed and always sleeps in the house. I gave her a quick once over. She felt okay to my inexperienced hands. Her bum felt normal and squidgy, as did her crop. But she wouldn't take a grape out of my hand Hopefully that was because she was already sleepy?
  17. I have three chickens, all just over a year old and all laying regularly. They are, in order of bossiness: Hetty, gingernut ranger; Margot, columbine; and Adelaide, speckledy. Yesterday I found a smashed egg in the hen house. It was white so I know it was Margot's. Today I found a smashed egg and a lot of poo in the nest box. This one was Hetty's as she was the only one who slept in the house last night and she favours sleeping in that nest box (though she usually lays in the other box). My first question is: are they smashed eggs? Rather than defective eggs? The shells were flattened, but still a bit crunchy. And the contents of the egg were soaked into the Easibed/straw. Are they eating them? I go out to the chickens several times a day. The first egg could've been missed for a few hours as it was in the house rather than the nest box. I clear the house of poo every day without fail, so I suppose theoretically it could've been there for 24 hours. Or could they have smashed the eggs by accident? It seems a bit of a coincidence that that would happen two days in a row... Any ideas? I'm new to this chicken-keeping business and it is proving a steep learning curve!
  18. Oh no! How sad. We have a retired racer and chickens and I can see how easily this could happen especially with a new hound. Try not to blame yourself. xx
  19. Oh, and I'd say Broody is definitely bottom hen now, but was probably deputy before the broodiness struck!
  20. We did only clip one wing, but we seem to have delinquent hens! Will try locking them out of the run tomorrow. There are a couple of garden chairs next to the run, so I'll move them in case they are providing a convenient leg up.
  21. Thanks Chickabee. BroodyHen can actually get back into the run when the gate is shut - she can fly quite well (uncovered 6ft high WIR). We clipped her wings back in July. How regularly do they need doing? Maybe the broody cage is the way to go. It would end up with a solid back and sides and a mesh floor and front. How would I keep her warm overnight? I can put it in the run where it is sheltered but would she get too cold? Thanks for your help
  22. Hello again! Does anyone remember this thread? Well, BroodySpeckledy is STILL broody. I'm still getting her out several times a day. She has a stretch and a grumpy cluck and eats and drinks. She even free-ranges for 15 minutes at a time if I force her, but she soon heads back to the nest box. She looks healthy enough (to my untrained eye) although she is bare on her chest underneath her big feathers. Her comb is small and pinky red. She has always had a very small comb though so I can't really tell whether it has shrank much. Her eyes are bright and she seems alert when she comes out. She has actually on occasion come out of the box of her own accord (for porridge ) but I have to remove her myself a couple of times a day usually. TBH, I though she would just naturally come out of it herself, but obviously that is not happening. I have an empty chest of drawers so I could, in theory, cover it with chicken wire and fashion a broody cage. Is there an alternative? That seems a bit harsh. Would removing the straw from the nest boxes make any difference? (Bearing in mind we are in Northern England and we've had a few hard frosts recently and the hens often sleep in the nest boxes) I'm getting a bit concerned for BroodyHen now. This level of inactivity can't be doing her any favours. Any suggestions? TIA
  23. Thanks Chickabee. I have been turfing her out a couple of times a day and have seen her eating and drinking. Then she is locked out of the run for about an hour every day to free range so she should be alright. She is getting pecked by the top hen when she does come out though. Just a couple of pecks at her head. Is that normal? She hasn't laid since Wednesday though, so I'd better buy some eggs!
  24. Okay. I have just been outside due to an awful lot of clucking. Hetty, the Gingernut Ranger was creating a fuss and there were several of her feathers lying around. As she is top of the tree I assume that she plucked these out herself? Was she nesting because I had blocked off access to the boxes? I have reopened the hen house, and Adelaide took herself straight off to her box. (I assumed that the feathers belonged to Hetty - they were orange at the tops, and white lower down. They weren't Adelaide's (speckledy) and our other chook is a Columbine.)

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