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Vallot

COVID 19-related chicken thefts (the world has officially gone mad!)

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Did anybody else receive an email from British Hen Welfare Trust this morning, reporting that they've stopped taking orders from newbies due to concern for chicken welfare, and warning us all to be vigilant again chicken thefts?

"As interest in hens has surged and our phones have almost crashed due to demand from those suddenly wanting fresh eggs, we have taken the decision to stop taking any reservations from anyone unless they are on our database already, so we can be sure the girls are going to good homes...
...Finally, we want to draw your attention to the security of your hens, please be aware that in these strange times they may be more vulnerable to theft than would normally be the case. Think about ways in which you can protect them, especially at night and/or if you are away from home during the day (as a key worker perhaps)."

Panic-buying - and/or stealing - animals is absolutely disgraceful behaviour. But looking beyond and above this, I wondered if we could share some tips on how to keep our girls safe? Mine live at the bottom of my garden in an Eglu Classic and walk-in run - although the Eglu Classic is an ideal home for them 99% of the time, I'm wracking my brains trying to work out how I could possibly stick a lock on it!

Of course, if this issue has already been discussed in the past in another thread, I'd be very grateful for directions! 

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Posted (edited)

I wondered if this would happen when I saw that the supermarkets had sold out of chicken.   Yes.  We’re in a mad world.  It’s not as though egg laying chickens have any meat on them! 

Years ago, there was a thread about locking cubes and classics. Maybe someone else remembers it?  

Edited by Patricia W

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Yes, there was, and I think that someone fitted a lock. I have my eye on this one as I have a side access alley between my house and the next one. There's a gate at the street end, but some charlie keeps leaving it open :roll: my garden is secure, but someone could bunk over the fences if they felt so inclined. I like to think that the neighbours would see something odd happening, and if there's any noise after dark, I just let the lurchers out - that'd scare the wits out of anyone!

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Posted (edited)

Utterly ridiculous isn't it, Patricia W - my ladies are ex-batts and don't even lay that many eggs any more! My grandfather used to tell me about how his neighbours would steal one another's chickens when times were properly hard in WWII - I never thought I'd have to worry about this sort of nonsense in 2020.

Our back garden backs onto a private lane - somebody could scale the fence and get to our ladies if they really wanted to. Sadly, unlike The Dogmother, I don't have a trusty lurcher to fall back on!

I'm wondering whether a motion sensor that makes a noise might be the way to go?

My other half thinks that the ladies would make enough noise to wake us up... In my experience though (and I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this!), they seem to be quite quiet if woken up at night - it seems to take an awful lot to properly rouse them from slumber.

Edited by Vallot

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I'd suggest putting up a webcam which links into your phone and signs along the fence which state this. That might make them think twice.

I have a set of cams, donated by a friend, just not found the time to put them up :oops:

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When we had the storms, I put my girls in a broody cage in our dining room and put them back in the run in the morning.

I might do this again.

I'd hate the thought of someone taking my chickens, especially an elderly one, for the thieves to find they don't even lay eggs any more.

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I’ve been worried about this since he beginning of the week when one of our local poultry places started selling out of POL hens by lunchtime every day. I would be absolutely gutted if anyone took my girls - they are proper pets to me. I would feel silly about it and they would hate it but I’m half thinking about bringing them in at night too. OH and I are both working from home at the moment so they’re OK during the day.

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I reckon on the Cube you could use 2 chains. One over the top of the house down the middle of the front underneath and up the middle of the back. That would stop or at least make it very difficult to slide the roof open or remove the back door. And another across the roof from side to side and over the egg port - if it was tight enough and went through the mesh under the house it wouldn’t slide far enough to the side for the egg port to open. Then padlock the run doors. 

Obviously it wouldn’t stop a very determined and prepared thief, but it would make it difficult and noisy enough that hopefully no one would bother - and for chooks in gardens it would wake up the humans.

 I was also thinking about sticking a sign on the run that says ‘We’re tiny, skinny, bantam pet chickens who don’t lay many eggs’.

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You could put a sign on the run saying 'Warning; Chickens in Quarantine' or, if it wouldn't get you into trouble, 'Warning; Infected Chickens in Quarantine'. That should stop 'em!

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49 minutes ago, soapdragon said:

You could put a sign on the run saying 'Warning; Chickens in Quarantine' or, if it wouldn't get you into trouble, 'Warning; Infected Chickens in Quarantine'. That should stop 'em!

I once did this when I had an egg thief - I put signs up on the housing saying "these chickens are on medication which will make you very poorly if you eat the eggs". Soon stopped them!

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I’ve got an empty cube and a classic.  I’m now regretting not restocking, but because we’ve been spending more time away, I’d wanted to reduce the burden on neighbours.  I could certainly get some now if I weren’t self isolating.   But who saw this coming? Hindsight is a great thing. 

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6 hours ago, Patricia W said:

I’ve got an empty cube and a classic.  I’m now regretting not restocking, but because we’ve been spending more time away, I’d wanted to reduce the burden on neighbours.  I could certainly get some now if I weren’t self isolating.   But who saw this coming? Hindsight is a great thing. 

You could order fertile eggs... 😉 they come in the post.

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9 hours ago, Patricia W said:

I’ve got an empty cube and a classic.  I’m now regretting not restocking, but because we’ve been spending more time away, I’d wanted to reduce the burden on neighbours.  I could certainly get some now if I weren’t self isolating.   But who saw this coming? Hindsight is a great thing. 

I can get some hybrids and drop them off for you Tricia.

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OMG The word has gone bonkers.  Kept chickens for over 10 years and rand up several breeders and suppliers as having moved to a smallholding we want to have more and every one said that they could not keep up with demand.  Seriously worried about the glut of abandoned chickens after this is over, particularly when they realise the cost per egg of setting yourself up for chickens  vs the cost of supermarket eggs.  It is a serious problem. I wish more breeders would suspend selling until this is over.

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A lot of suppliers are being quite strict on who they will sell to, but they are still running out. Feed and bedding are also in short order.

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