LL's chicken keeping adventures

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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Mo wrote:My older eggs all get used for baking, or freezing for future baking (2 in a yoghurt pot fpr buns or an omlette, or a pound in a marg tub for a batch of fruit cakes - mix with fork before freezing)
Last week I boiled up some of the older eggs that didn't get sold and chopped them up for all the girls
- some hens are well spoilt.


I don't bake :oops: And the eggs really were on the "better do something with them now" age - boiled egg and crushed egg shell is a protein boost plus extra calcium. Dare I mention they had a (34p) small tin of sardines chopped up in their morning mash with a little cod liver oil today LOL

The weather this week has just been awful - dull and rain for the most part - but I'm happy to announce that despite some water seeping under the new run, the roof itself has kept the new girls dry. I have noticed that they would much prefer to be in the darker, smaller mini run - at first I thought this was because they could see me coming with the greens but they'll even pick up the little cob or bit of marrow and take out of the main run and peck at it in the mini run. Perhaps it is just too bright and wide open for them to feel safe so I'll have to consider some sort of cover. The main reason I would prefer they used the main run more is that not only is there more space for them, but I can't really reach that far into the mini run to poo pick.

This week the bedding in the coops seem to be getting soiled a lot more and most likely due to the shorter days and more time spent in the coop. This morning was the worst yet so I gave the Spice Girl coop a thorough clean and filled with fresh bedding and finished the last of the Bliss bedding in the White Ladies. That meant considering my shopping today - I so wanted to go to RE Farms in Derby for some Hydrophane louse powder that was on special offer (normally about £10 but down to £6.95p) but the Bliss bedding is only sold by the chicken shop on the other side of Nottingham near Ravenshead towards Newstead Abbey. I remembered there was a saddlery shop in Risley (between Nottingham and Derby) that I had been meaning to visit where they sold Bliss bedding so set off along the country lanes to find it ...not. Considering Risley is small, I had already driven through it before I realised I had missed the place. Oh well, I carried on and went to the RE Farms instead. As I got out the car, I think the owners were in the big warehouse and I noticed bales of bedding so I enquired about what they sold. We had a lovely chat about the different types (I mentioned that I also wanted it to rot quickly on the allotment) and I got a bale of Sundown Red which is a mix of wood shavings and dedusted straw with eucalyptus )t' In the shop I got 2 tubs of louse powder, a tub of mineral boost and a bottle of poultry tonic drink which should come in handy over the winter months.

Egg tally - 15 from the Spice Girls (slowly dropping off) but slowly going up were 11 from the White Ladies )t' And! The White Ladies eggs are definitely getting bigger with a couple almost the size of the smaller Spice Girls eggs so I'll be able to start charging the full price soon (with the smaller eggs, I've been selling them 50p for half dozen, normally they are £1 for 6) However, one of my White Ladies, presumably the smallest Liz is still laying very small eggs, and they are not as frequent as the others. As it is pay day next week, I was going to put an order in for the Marriages medicated pellets then but in the mean time, I got the tonic and mineral boost to help things along. When I got the Spice Girls, now and again I used to give them Orego Stim which is a sort of tonic added to drinking water but it was expensive so when it was finished, I didn't bother getting more. However, I do think the tonic had some benefit hence I thought I'd try the mineral boost and tonic drink again.

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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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LL I have had to sell my newer girls eggs for 10p, usual price 20p had them in August and now only one small egg. This sundown red sounds interesting, yes it is that time of the year for raking up mud and replacing some woodchip. I don't know how you manage it all with you wonderful allotment too. :oops: My corn has all been buried under and old tree my neighbour cut down and threw over my manure heap!
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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sandy wrote:My corn has all been buried under and old tree my neighbour cut down and threw over my manure heap!


wheat {hug} I think it would have been better to have pulled it up when you had the chance and let the girls enjoy a bit of greens as you wouldn't have got much seed from what you had

lancashire lass wrote:I got a bale of Sundown Red which is a mix of wood shavings and dedusted straw with eucalyptus


The smell is divine, clears my nose anyway and masks a few pongs, the bedding itself also feels lovely and warm but ... it gets wet very quickly. It's possibly the girls are pooping more but I do seem to need to scrape whole lots of soiled bedding out of the coop rather than a bit of poop picking these days, thereby having to replenish it much more often. Of course, there are 2 coops now so I'm aware of how quickly the fresh bedding is getting used up. I'm still debating whether it is economical or not compared to the Bliss bedding ... not looking too good at the moment, and both about the same price per bale. I must try and find that saddlery place in Risley ....

Egg tally dropping again this week - only 14 from the Spice Girls and just 7 from the White Ladies. I managed to sell a dozen normal eggs @ £1 for 6, 6 small for 50p and a mixed 3 and 3 for 75p. Income from egg sales are definitely dropping these days. Unfortunately I couldn't put my order in for a delivery of the medicated layers pellets due to work but have now ordered it today (along with a sack of the mixed corn treat - has all sorts of other grains, seeds and fruit. It gets doled out in small amounts)

Re: work - I was encouraged to go on a one day conference to Coventry by my line manager last week (hence I couldn't place an order for the pellets due to the delivery) As I've managed to get out of going on previous courses, I got the feeling I was more or less being volunteered to go rather than being asked :oops: After checking out the various ways to get there, it looked a whole lot easier to go by car than train and I got there well on time. The homeward journey however, was a nightmare ... it took me 4 hours to get home (it's under 60 miles from the course to my house) }hairout{

Suffice to say, the girls got their first experience of no evening treat. Now that the clocks have shifted an hour, I may be lucky tonight but thereafter I'll be coming home in the dark. Last year I bought a couple of stick on LED lights for the chicken run but the silly things kept falling off so I've splashed out and got a couple of lanterns like you would have for camping. I'll just need to get a couple of hooks for the ceilings to hang them up. I'm not convinced they'll be bright enough but they'll have to do for my budget. It's not so much about getting the girls up early although come mid winter it is dark both in the morning and evening when I set off and come home from work, so I would not see them at all if it wasn't for the lights!
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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You could get a head torch? I got one a couple of years ago and got laughed at by various family members and friends! However, it has been worth its weight in gold when sorting the girls out during the winter months and it won't be long before it is out again!
No girls at the moment but look forward to getting more in the future. Proud mummy to Hector, a Bedlington Terrier x Jack Russell
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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jemberelli wrote:You could get a head torch? I got one a couple of years ago and got laughed at by various family members and friends! However, it has been worth its weight in gold when sorting the girls out during the winter months and it won't be long before it is out again!


The lights are to encourage the girls to come out of the coop so that I can get to poop pick - I like it nice and clean and job done in a morning and ensures the eggs (if any this time round) don't get dirty. I've just bought a super bright torch for myself to see where I'm going as the back of the house is pitch black and a wee bit hazardous to get to the chicken runs. A head torch actually sounds like a much better idea now that I think about it, especially when I've got my hands full with feeders, drinkers and bowls. Maybe an early )x( present for myself hee hee

This morning it was lighter much earlier than has been due to a completely cloudless sky, but still on the dark side by the time I got to the chicken runs ... that didn't stop the girls bounding out of the coop for their warm breakfast mash when I opened up LOL. Last night I managed to finish work early (time in lieu for the Coventry trip) but I only managed 10 minutes with the girls and then they were off to roost. By the end of this week, I think it will be dark by the time I get home.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Well as suspected, the evenings are drawing in quickly and the girls had already gone to roost by the time I got home both on Tuesday & Wednesday despite finishing work a little early. The flubenvet treated pellets and the chicken treat arrived yesterday so I wanted to get them out of the car and into the back before it got too dark to see. While I had the sack barrow, I also moved a bag of sand for the runs. Then I got on with poop picking and general tidying up. I only managed the Spice Girls run so just got the feeders out of both runs and changed the pellets to the worming ones. The White Ladies are not too messy and as I looked in their run, I could just about make out some slices of marrow from the morning (seeds in the middle gone with just a fleshy skin) but I decided to leave it to do in the morning.

After getting the breakfast out (a warm mash - despite it being the same pellets, they like a mash), but as I went to clear the White Ladies run, the slices of marrow were .... gone. I know I didn't have time to clean their run last night, so that can only mean one thing - we have guests. A quick poop pick, then I let the girls out and got on with cleaning their coops. I glanced into the White Ladies run to peek at the girls eating, and a cheeky mouse was actually in the middle amongst the White Ladies. They didn't take any notice of him whatsoever although he was twitchy every time the girls moved. Definitely a mouse not a rat, maybe more a field mouse than a house mouse. He looked kind of cute but I'm afraid he's going to have to go. I suspect I know how he got in too so that's next on my job list.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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The girls have been on the flubenvet treated pellets since Thursday and already I'm seeing an improvement in the egg laying numbers. Up till Wednesday, just one egg from the White Ladies while the Spice Girls were more or less the same (3 eggs one day, none the next) I'm really not worried about the Spice Girls and quite happy for them to stop anytime soon and enjoy a rest this winter but the White Ladies have definitely not been paying for their board and keep - White Stars are supposed to be prolific layers with a good efficient ratio of feed to egg laying (simply put, eat less and still lay good quality large eggs) which these girls are not doing. Whether it is just coincidence, but 3 days after and already they have laid as many eggs than the whole of last week )t'

With reducing their daily treats, poops are also drier and "more normal" - could also be due to the treatment as well. The Spice Girls (or at least one or two) were doing very wet poops which soaked the coop bedding and I needed to replace a lot with fresh more often than usual. This morning was the first time I wasn't scraping the wet straw and shavings from the floor. As for the White Ladies .... their poops have taken on a black look similar to the Spice Girls, much different from their usual tan brown toothpaste squirts. I never knew if the colour of their poops was down to the breed or the fact that their runs have got sand down, but now wondering if the girls had needed worming from day one. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on their progress in the coming weeks. For good measure, I might just keep them on the treated pellets for longer (you can feed them up to 10 days) just to be sure.

Having said all that, the egg tally for this week was 16 from the Spice Girls (a slight improvement) and okay, only 4 from the White Ladies, but 3 were laid during the treatment. Already 2 laid today and this is day 1 of the new week so can only get better >fi<

As for the new guest, by the time I'd got all my shopping and other tasks done yesterday, I didn't have time to do a thorough job of closing all the gaps in the new run. I knew there was definitely a gap under the back board so I was able to block that one, and the other was in the corner near the greenhouse. I wedged some wood pieces along the gap under the shed but one piece was just slightly too long ... this morning the wood had been pushed out and there was a lot of mouse droppings in the run suggesting more than one was running around. Given how heavy the wood was, I was a bit surprised that the mice were able to push it out of the way and I do wonder if maybe there might have been a rat as well yike* Yesterday I bought some mouse traps (same type as the rat traps I got last year but these should hopefully be more sensitive to their smaller body weight) so I will be setting them tonight as well as the rat traps too.

This morning the coops got their weekly clean out and given a hefty dusting of louse powder and diatomaceous earth. In recent days I have been bitten by some insect on both my arms and the one on the left is right on the line of the wrist cuff of my gloves suggesting the bites came from the chicken runs or coops while cleaning up than from any other activity. For all I know they might be fleas from the guests. Even the one on my elbow is where I would have rolled my fleecy jacket sleeve up before poop picking. I also noticed a robin and a sparrow have made the gap between the runs their home where I put a roof over. This morning the 2 birds kept flying around at one end waiting for me to go away so they could take shelter from the rain. As they were most likely going to try and land on the ledge and nest box lid, I decided it might be a good idea to put loads of diatomaceous earth and louse powder round those sites ... I don't want them introducing red mites to the coops! I might also put some ant powder (contains pyrethrum) along there too for good measure (should be safe to birds but apparently deadly to cats)
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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The White Ladies egg tally is definitely on the increase so the worming treatment is working very well )app( I have noticed that both sets of girls really seem to be enjoying the pellets and I saw a couple even prefer to eat the pellets than the mash in a morning.

The mouse traps that I set on Sunday were totally ignored ... my fault really. I hadn't thought it through what to use as bait and thought something sweet like jam would entice them. So last night I put a dab of butter with a peanut on the traps - this morning both traps in the 2 runs had a dead mouse each. I really felt quite sad actually but it had to be done. The one in the new run was a little worrying - I know I said the mouse was small but this one was clearly a baby and not the one I saw so there might be a nest somewhere.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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This past week I've definitely been getting home from work in the dark and wishing the 2 lanterns I'd ordered would arrive soon. Finally on Thursday I was able to set them up in the runs and I'm so pleased with them, I've even ordered another to put between the 2 runs - THESE are the ones I got but not from this seller @ just £5 each with free p&p (all the way from China LOL) Three light settings, the brightest really lights up the entire run and much better to see than with a torch.

This week has been all about bonfire night - only we've had fireworks nearly every day for well over a week now and the 5th November was no different to the other days except for my stupid new neighbours who had set off fireworks in their garden right next to my coops }hairout{ They might as well have put the fireworks inside the coops they were so loud and I honestly thought I'd be opening up next day to find 7 dead chickens. Instead, the girls all leaped and bounced out of their coops like any other day eager for their breakfast LOL.

Well, the new run still has a resident mouse / rat because the wood I had used to block the gap under the shed was moved out of the way. Yesterday I gave the girls some slices of marrow and the new girls got the end bit which was a little chunky. When I came down to close the coops last night and clean out the runs, the big piece of marrow had clearly been moved right up to the gap under the shed as you could see where it had been dragged across the sand. It was not a lightweight piece of marrow which makes the resident rodent either a supermouse or a rat! I haven't put the traps down since Monday but might be time to do it again. Touch wood the Spice Girls run seems to be rat / mouse free for the moment.

And finally .... drumroll .... the egg tally this past week is 15 from the Spice Girls (I'm happy with this despite the falling numbers) and 12 from the White Ladies. There should have been 13 white eggs but one had got smashed in the coop and I bet that had something to do with the relentless fireworks this week. Another reason why I think the egg tally isn't as good as I had hoped given the extended worming treatment but considering there were only 4 eggs the week before, a massive improvement )app( I emptied the last of the treated pellets into the feeders last night - considering it was a 10kg bag, I'm surprised at just how much they've eaten in 10 days (just under a kg a day to feed 7 chickens) The weather has been a lot colder and damp this week, plus a frost, and very reduced treats so I shouldn't be too surprised. Also, the size of the eggs are on the increase and most now go for the full asking price. Last week I sold 2 dozen eggs and only one of the packs of 6 was for 50p.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Those lanterns look the biz - winter is a pain in the arris for chicken keeping.

Where do you get your flubbed pellets from? Worming time is looming for mine and I usually do the grape method but my current 3 are beggars when it comes to nicking each others treats so pre treated pellets might be a better option. Mind you, I've only got 3 so I might end up wasting them.

I'm amazed if you've got mice in the run, I would've thought the girls would have that straight away. I know my Remie would, she's a real raptor. I'll keep my fingers crossed it's a mouse and not a rat, especially after reading Kitla's post about hers!

That's a great egg tally. Are you selling the white ladies eggs for more (ie will people pay more for white eggs)? We'll be able to eat our Casper's white eggs from Thurs which is exciting as we haven't had them for about 3 months!
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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KarenE wrote:Where do you get your flubbed pellets from? Worming time is looming for mine and I usually do the grape method but my current 3 are beggars when it comes to nicking each others treats so pre treated pellets might be a better option.


I order mine from Farm and Place - I have to have it delivered to my place of work but the p&p is not cheap (cheaper than driving to pick it up myself though!) I also buy the girls a sack of the Dr Greens treat at the same time which is full of interesting things for them to eat. All I can say is that the delivery is very quick and efficient (I even get an e-mail to say what time to expect it) When ordering the flubbed pellets, you'll get a telephone call from a "vet" who will ask a few questions like how many chickens and then a bit of advice about how long to keep them on the pellets, no treats, no egg withdrawal etc and then the order is despatched and no hassle. Despite the p&p, I've been very pleased with the service.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Thanks for the link - the price of the pellets isn't too bad and I like that they do smaller packages as I'd never get through a bigger one as I only have 3 ladies. The postage is a bit of a killer though - ouch!

Didn't you used to give your girls a treat with shrimp in it?
Karen
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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KarenE wrote:Didn't you used to give your girls a treat with shrimp in it?


I did - it was only a small (600g) pack called Garvo 1070 from a local chicken shop. However, the shop closed and moved to the other side of Nottingham and now just a bit too far to just casually visit. Before I found the farm shop in Derby, I would do a big shop (say a bag of layers pellets, bedding, grit, oyster shell, disinfectant etc) and get them at the same time. I still might have to go soon as I am running out of some things that the farm shop doesn't sell so it will be a Christmas treat for the girls.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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I shall have to keep an eye out for that, my girls would love it.

I daresay Christmas presses will be crossing the girl's minds soon :-D
Karen
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Weather-wise, it has been a miserable, dull, damp week for the most part with one day very windy (always worries me that wind will lift the roof off the runs or bring branches down from the neighbour's tree on top of them) Despite the clocks moving back, the times to get the girls up in a morning is now getting later and later so it won't be long before I'll be going down in the dark and putting the lights on. Meanwhile, despite it just being day-break, I can still hear them all begging to be let out.

Well, the worming pellets are all used up now and they are back on to the normal layers pellets and treats. They don't seem so happy about the switch especially the morning mash - the veteran Spice Girls just get on with it but the White Ladies have turned their beaks up, preferring to pick out the sweetcorn and peas and leaving the rest. However, all are hammering the pellets and appetites have definitely increased (I thought it was the other way round if they have worms :? but perhaps it is the weather and the shorter days?) I seem to be filling up their feeders much more often - I suppose it is more noticeable because the flock has almost doubled compared to last year.

With having 2 coops and runs to clean out, it is taking me much longer to get it done - it could be because they are in the coops for longer now so lots of droppings (I'm happy with this because I will have more to take to the allotment), and having to replenish the bedding much more often. As a result, sometimes the girls finish their morning mash before I'm done and the Spice Girls have quietly been wandering out of their run and eye-balling the White Ladies. Scary in particular has been the more curious but no confrontation. It doesn't take much for me to encourage them all back into their run - I don't even have to throw treats in, but just stand at the open door and tell them to get back in (who said you can't train chickens {rofwl} )

This week has been about the mice - yes, plural - from the new run. When I was building the new run, I thought I had taken steps to prevent rodents from getting in but clearly they are much more determined than I realised. In my defence, I was thinking rats and not considered mice. I think their nest is in the boxed in part of the pallet wall which will be difficult for me to dismantle without dismantling the coop to get access ... and that is not going to happen considering how long it took me to build it! So I've been laying snap traps and so far caught a baby and 2 adult mice (and one in the Spice Girls run) Thinking I had caught them all, I set the traps without bait and blow me, another }hairout{ and a tunnel keeps appearing at the edge of the paving near the greenhouse where they are digging their way out and under the netting I had stapled down on the outside to prevent them digging in. Yesterday morning I blocked a hole in the run to where I think is the nest with sand (I don't want to permanently block the hole as they will only find another route out and do damage or worse, get into the coop) and it had been shifted out the way. Once again, traps have been laid but it won't be long before they suss out these are dangerous and to be avoided.

And now for the egg tally ............ a total of 36 eggs! 18 from the 4 Spice Girls and 18 from the 3 White Ladies. I thought the Spice Girls were slowing down for the winter as they are into the 2nd year, but I think Posh is dropping a proper egg in the nest now. I've definitely seen her going into the coop soon after cleaning in a morning and making all the right noises but when I've come to collect the eggs, a couple are so similar I can't tell the difference as to who has laid them. I wonder if she just doesn't like summer LOL. Or, the absence of an evening treat means they are having to eat more pellets (not that they ever got a big treat) The eggs from the White Ladies are definitely getting bigger and just a shade smaller than the smallest of the Spice Girls so are now sold the same price. Meanwhile, the smell that I noticed when I got the White Ladies is now completely gone and their poops have taken on the same appearance of the Spice Girls which are more big, black and blobby and not the tan toothpaste squirts as before.

Meanwhile, just as egg numbers are on the increase, a couple of my regular customers have said they don't need eggs (one is going away on holiday so running her fridge down, the other normally takes eggs to the caravan in Skegness and with winter, is not going so often ... I haven't worked that one out as surely she'd use just as many eggs regardless?) So I've had to try and find some new customers this week and managed to get a new sale - we'll just have to wait and see if he asks for more in the future (that will most likely happen when the Spice Girls finally decide to have a rest knowing my luck LOL)

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