LL's chicken keeping adventures

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KarenE
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by KarenE »

Hey LL, my Casper also lays double yolkers which are fab! A little less often than she was - I do worry that it might do her some damage - but she's still squeezing them out occasionally. Perhaps the breed is more prone to them? Also she's far more confident around me, comes in to play int he nest box straw when I'm poo picking although any sudden movements and she can scarper off so again perhaps it's a feature of the breed. Remie and Tigger couldn't care less!

Glad to hear Posh has got her new christmas coat. You should post some pics up, we haven't seen any of the White Ladies or the Spice Girls for a while.
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, Mango, Smudge and Coco
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Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly and Willow
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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I've been so busy in recent days that I haven't really had time to spend with the girls as I would have liked other than their morning and evening clean up. Scary's moult is now in full flow and like something out of a cartoon with feathers dropping off her like leaf fall. And she is so not herself, the last to leave the coop in a morning (normally the first to reach the bowl of mash and sweetcorn), and hiding away under the coop/coop run. Hard to believe she was the bully of the flock. Baby has not sussed out that she is safe from the usual pecking and sadly still runs away as per usual with her head tucked down out of the way like a headless chicken. However, tempers at bedtime are on a high with squawks and squabbles while they try and bag the best perch space, Scary preferring one of the nest boxes instead.

Thankfully the sand I put down in the runs has dried off before the temperatures dropped on Boxing Day. The snow on the roofs however has made it dark in the runs despite the bright sunny weather. Last night when tidying up, I was braced for sub zero temperatures and sure enough, it was bitter cold outside but surprisingly not so bad in the main runs. I am so glad I built the roof between the 2 runs which has kept the snow off the footpath and the least treacherous to walk on while the patio is like an ice rink. The girls haven't been outside the runs, bar Liz who managed to find herself on the wrong side of the door as I was closing it. She started to dash off into the garden and then stopped in her tracks, thought better of it but wasn't sure how to re-join her sisters scoffing the treats. The trick seems to be to try and keep the door open (difficult as it naturally swings shut) but have my back to her so it doesn't look like I'm going to pounce on her. With a little hesitation she finally hopped back into the run, phew.

The girls haven't had their Christmas treat yet :oops: but have been enjoying the salad leaves and grapes along with an extra bit of corn, sunflower hearts and peanuts with their mealworms. The Spice girls have gone off broccoli but the White Ladies are becoming real gannets of late and eating anything and everything! My older girls will always be my favourites but I'm warming up to the new ones now as they start to settle in properly and showing individual personalities.

Egg tally this last week was down as the Spice Girls slow down to just 12 with 19 from the White Ladies. On average, 1-2 brown eggs with 3 white ones, but on Christmas day there was only 2 eggs (one from each run) - I guess that was my Christmas present {rofwl} While off work I get to keep the eggs for my own use so the poaching pan is ready and waiting (I just have to finish off the Christmas day left overs first ... maybe I could make an omelette, yum)
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

Hope Scary is soon feeling herself soon bless her. I am getting 4 to 5 eggs at the moment mainly from the newbies. Well what do you think LL freezing cold or rain? I cant work out which is the worse. Do you know there is an allotment comp on tv trust me you should enter , your gardening diary has been fantastic reading this year and so educational )like(
Happy New Year To You, the zigazaggers and oh white ladies who walk through the fields :-D
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Blossom,Merle-Oberon & Lauren-Bacall ,Cyd-Charisse,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Myfawny & Monica-Rose
The Peds…Suranne,Miriam,Jennifer,Nancy,
Vorky Blueped,Ginger,Ninger &Linky

Sunny Clucker was ere July 12-21 2012
Sunny Clucker was ere July 6 2016 to Sept 9th 2017
Sunny Clucker is here , rehomed Aug 18th 2018/
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by lancashire lass »

sandy wrote:Hope Scary is soon feeling herself soon bless her. I am getting 4 to 5 eggs at the moment mainly from the newbies. Well what do you think LL freezing cold or rain? I cant work out which is the worse. Do you know there is an allotment comp on tv trust me you should enter , your gardening diary has been fantastic reading this year and so educational )like(
Happy New Year To You, the zigazaggers and oh white ladies who walk through the fields :-D


Happy New Year to you and your girls )wav(

Scary is not looking her best at the moment LOL but she seems a little less insecure than the other week. Since last week I've been spending a little more time than usual in a morning with the girls while cleaning out the coops, so I've been leaving the run door open and watched the Spice girls as they all wandered out together and said hello to the white ladies (still penned - I'm not that confident they will willingly go back to their run) They all stood and looked at each through the netting - no aggressive behaviour and all very civil. When done and I told the girls it was time to go back into the run (encouraged by the sight of the treat tray), they walked back in without any hassle.

Freezing cold or rain - I can almost cope with rain except for the water seeping from the back of the shed into the new girls run or coming through the holes in the Spice Palace roof where the cherry tree branches go through, but not the cold and ice. If I had to make a choice, then I guess rain.

I'm glad you are enjoying the gardening diary - but I'm afraid I'm not competition material (photos can be editted so that you don't see the bits that are not up to standard LOL)

I did my final tally for 2014 today (my weekly tally runs from Sunday to Saturdays) and the statistics are: 20 eggs from the White Ladies and 13 from the Spice Girls. In 2014 the Spice Girls laid a total of 1138 eggs, bringing the grand total since getting the girls to 1519. The White Ladies started off well then went downhill soon after and only after they had been wormed did their egg production start up proper - since getting them in September they have laid a total of 233. That brings total eggs laid from both sets of girls to 1752! Egg sales from September to Christmas eve came to £65 ... expenditure for consumables (bedding, feed, oyster shell, treats, treatments etc) in the same period came to £211. Some of that spending however was part of the set up but even so, it's clear that the income from the egg sales simply isn't enough to cover the cost of their keep {rofwl} so as well they have other attributes such as the manure and enduring qualities.

The snow and ice between Boxing Day until New Year's day did not affect the girls other than the snow on their run roofs made it dark, but they coped well with the cold. Liz once again managed to dodge the closing door and found herself outside the run ... she is becoming quite an escape artist these days. This time she was making her way up to the patio so I opened the mini run door which swings out and she was back inside without hesitation though confused how she came out one door and back in through another.

Today I decided to go to Ravenshead to get supplies when I noticed the White Ladies had emptied their oyster shell cup and I had no more to fill it up. I made a note of the mileage and the round trip was about 25 miles - so I stocked up with twice of what I would normally get as it is just a bit too far to pop in as and when. A big tub of Bio dri (£20), a bottle of Orego Stim (£10 - I think this is more effective than the Battles poultry drink), 2 bags each of oyster shell and grit (£2 for a kg each), 2 kg of sunflower hearts (only cost £4), a big bag of mealworms (£7.50p), and 2 bags of the Garvo shrimp and silkworm treat (£4 each) Hopefully that should last a while.

Ginger and Baby are the only ones of the Spice Girls that are laying at the moment but I had noticed a few more ginger feathers in the coop than normal so I think another is starting to moult now. It's a bit difficult to see with Baby after Scary went through a bully/feather eating craze last year (which I think has stopped) So I've been giving them a little extra protein in their morning mash - a little boiled egg or tinned sardines. The probiotic drink have lost their initial appeal so I might stop giving that to the girls now. The White Ladies on the other hand really look forward to their fresh fruit and veggies with seeds - it's hard to believe they used to look at it with total distrust, favouring the familiar pellets instead. I think the mealworms helped them to get over it. Talking of which, the local robins have been lining up for their morning treat as well - I like to encourage robins as they eat the insects and pests in the garden in summer, but mealworms are just a little too expensive to be feeding the wild bird population.

KarenE wrote:Glad to hear Posh has got her new christmas coat. You should post some pics up, we haven't seen any of the White Ladies or the Spice Girls for a while.


I also think I should take some piccies soon - I'll try to post some in the coming days )t'
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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As promised, some piccies of the girls )t'

Posh (looking very proud of herself with her new coat but in fact was waiting on the pallet shelf for me to lift her off on to the ground LOL)

Image

Scary on the other hand looking a bit moth eaten:

Image

And a couple of group photos of the Spice Girls together waiting for the treat:

Image

Image

Image

As are the White Ladies (with very full crops - this is before I gave them some of the Garvo!):

Image

Liz is at the front, Lesley on the left (with the purple bum) with Pearl on the right (has a brown smudge on her tail which she has sported from day one - I don't know if it is just dirt or some other stain)
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kitla
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by kitla »

Love Lesleys purple pants & Pearl looks like she has a little star hung on her tail,
they must be getting dressed up for a party!
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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LOve the piccies )like( I swear the Spice girls are zigazagging in their group photo. LL decided I want the hard frozen ground back!
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Blossom,Merle-Oberon & Lauren-Bacall ,Cyd-Charisse,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Myfawny & Monica-Rose
The Peds…Suranne,Miriam,Jennifer,Nancy,
Vorky Blueped,Ginger,Ninger &Linky

Sunny Clucker was ere July 12-21 2012
Sunny Clucker was ere July 6 2016 to Sept 9th 2017
Sunny Clucker is here , rehomed Aug 18th 2018/
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Although Scotland, Northern Ireland and north England have been battered by storms, the wind last night and today here in Nottingham has also been phenomenal! As per usual, it was dark when I got home from work and by the time I went out to close the coops, the strength of the wind really picked up. At first I was amazed at how mild it was (the thermometer reading 15oC) and thankfully the westerly wind was blowing from the back of the shed so it didn't seem so bad in both runs, but now and again the gusts of wind slammed into the gardens. Although the huge ash tree in the neighbour's garden has always been of concern, now that it is leafless I am not so worried until that is, one almighty gust and the structure of Spice Palace run shuddered like in a pressure wave - I was expecting the roof to be ripped off and the tree to come down yike*

I know it got worse when I got back into the house as the windows in the front room creaked with each gust so I just hoped and prayed that the girls would be safe outside. It was a surprise this morning to find that there was no damage in the garden at all. I had taken a sheet of PVC down that I had propped up against the balcony mesh window (keeps the warmth in) as it was flapping about, and as a result the only damage was the rain that had been driven into the run during the night. The girls on the other hand are none the worst for the weather although I suspect the noise is not encouraging them to clamber on to the balcony. One good thing, all the autumn leaves and reed matting I couldn't reach on the roof have blown away LOL

Well, it was back to work from the Christmas break on Monday - expecting the traffic to be bad, I was all ready for an early departure but when I went outside to let the girls out it was still ... dark. I put their little camp lights on while I cleaned their coops and by the time I'd finished, it was light enough to switch them off. However, on Thursday it seemed to stay dark for much longer and in the end I had to switch the lights off and leave the girls wandering around in the dark :oops: So much for increased daylight hours - it's even darker than ever. On top of which, coming home in the dark is a pain too. I suspect the girls had also been watching out for their afternoon treat and at work I felt kind of sad thinking about it but I'm sure they soon got back to wolfing down the pellets.

The egg tally this week is ........... drum roll: 21 eggs from the White Ladies (first time all 3 girls have laid an egg every day )app( ) and 13 from the Spice Girls. There was a softie in the Spice Girls coop on Thursday which could have been one of Posh's - she laid another egg today and it had that fragile shell look about it, so although she had started laying again, the shell quality has once again downhill. The only other egg layer seems to be Baby as I think Ginger and Scary have decided to give it a rest.

sandy wrote:LL decided I want the hard frozen ground back!


Don't speak too soon - it looks like we might be in for snow next week .sn<
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Snow? Is that the forecast??? )gr:

I hate this time of year. Is it me or is it even harder to get back to work this year? I am struggling big time. We've had terrible gusts of wind here too (I'm just a bit down from you LL) and I was surprised this morning that there wasn't anything blown down but so far so good (fingers crossed). The girls though were blown all over the garden today - I put them back in their run for safekeeping at one stage.

Your White Ladies (well done on the laying!) do look so like my Casper; I think her comb is even bigger and floppier than your girls' though, if that's even possible!
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, Mango, Smudge and Coco
Chief servant to Marley the cat
Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly and Willow
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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KarenE wrote:Snow? Is that the forecast??? )gr:

I hate this time of year. Is it me or is it even harder to get back to work this year? I am struggling big time. We've had terrible gusts of wind here too (I'm just a bit down from you LL) and I was surprised this morning that there wasn't anything blown down but so far so good (fingers crossed). The girls though were blown all over the garden today - I put them back in their run for safekeeping at one stage.

Your White Ladies (well done on the laying!) do look so like my Casper; I think her comb is even bigger and floppier than your girls' though, if that's even possible!


It's definitely been harder to get back to work - and worse, I seem to have got thrown in at the deep end with the work load (I may have got a promotion due to changes in my job but until a replacement is appointed to take over the other half of my old job, I'm carrying both at the moment }hairout{ )

I looked at the photo of the White Ladies and it doesn't do them justice - their combs are enormous and I'm convinced they must get a headache or neck strain every time they jerk their heads LOL

Well this week has been a little quieter with some winter sun and the wind chill a bit more noticeable but at least the storm force gales have subsided a little. I really did expect to find the roofs ripped off one day last week and was wondering what I would be able to do if that happened. Not so much the girls getting out but what could jump in yike* I'm still amazed that the structures are still standing. We didn't get any snow but clearly there was some nearby as I noticed a couple of cars covered in an inch while waiting in the traffic. Now we seem to be in for some really cold nights - yep, I don't like this time of year either.

Posh is back to full egg production while Scary is gone off completely so numbers from the Spice Girls has gone up. Baby has decided to be even noisier than ever in a morning - I can't decide whether it's because of the dark mornings or she seems to lose out on the morning mash with the sweetcorn added - not so much because she is bullied but has learned that in the pecking order she might get a reminder - and only shuts up when I throw the greens and seeds around the run. However, I like to do this just before I leave for work because I can pick up those big stinky poops they like to drop just as they come out of the coop and then the run is cleaned out so doesn't seem so messy. One morning I picked her and at face level told her to shut up - it was quite funny really as her feet were up in the air and she turned her head to look at me - but no sooner had I put her down, she went into a full vocal complaint.

The White Ladies are definitely getting more relaxed now and not so skittish - clearly getting into the routine and sensing that life here is much more interesting, especially the additional foods (I'm convinced they had never tasted a green until they came and had had nothing but dry pellet food) As it is dark when I lock up, the girls are already in their coops - as I have to bend down in their mini run to close the door, and need a torch to see how to slot the rod through the catch, the girls pop their head through the door to watch me. One night, one of them had actually used the door frame as a perch and seemed reluctant to move out of the way LOL.

Egg tally was definitely up this week with another maximum 21 from the White Ladies and Posh's contributions bringing the Spice Girls back up to 18 (from recent 12-13) I had a good sale too but will have to start looking for some new customers, especially if I get the quail this spring as planned! I've even been considering to get some ducks (I'd been looking up Campbells) - after a little research, I think it would be possible to set up a run for them further down in the garden. I still have to give it more thought and get myself geared up before spring as that is when you should get them. We'll see - things have a habit of going very wrong LOL and I'm not sure what my neighbours will think about even more livestock in the garden.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Are you still considering the Quail plan then? I hear ducks are very messy but I guess that can all be composted as well. You definitely have The Good Life at heart LL, you should just go for it and set up a smallholding. Call your goat Geraldine.

I would love to do that too by the way!

What breed is Posh? She is very like my Remie but not quite. Remie is a Copper Black.
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, Mango, Smudge and Coco
Chief servant to Marley the cat
Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly and Willow
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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KarenE wrote:Are you still considering the Quail plan then? I hear ducks are very messy but I guess that can all be composted as well. You definitely have The Good Life at heart LL, you should just go for it and set up a smallholding. Call your goat Geraldine.

I would love to do that too by the way!


Maybe 20 years ago (with today's skills and experience) I would have loved a smallholding - over the years I've dabbled and tried various things (still haven't done the cheese-making yet but something I'd like to give a try) And oh, a couple of goats would be perfect LOL But yes, I really do want to get the quail this spring - as for the ducks, I hadn't considered getting any until the day I had to go to the farm to get feed and they had ducklings for sale. Aw, they just looked so sweet and I was very tempted to get them there and then but decided I ought to read up on them first. Apparently if you've kept chickens, moving on to ducks is not that much different with just a few changes.

Not a lot to report this week - the girls are doing well, Scary's back and wing feathers look new and neat (her chest and bum is still a bit moth eaten), Posh has found her voice again and joining in the morning chorus with Baby and Ginger. I'm wondering if Baby (Amber Star) has been in a small moult as now that we have a little more daylight when I get to see them in a morning, I've noticed she seems to have more brown tinged feathers especially round her neck than she used to have.

What breed is Posh? She is very like my Remie but not quite. Remie is a Copper Black.


Posh is a Black Star - when I was choosing my hens, she had more yellow on her neck and chest than the others so was easy to pick out (when asked which ones I'd like, I didn't have any experience in what to look for other than all the girls seemed to be in good health)

Egg tally this week - an almost steady 3 eggs a day from the White Ladies (which has basically been for a solid 3 weeks or more) but only 2 on Friday, bringing the total to 20. Posh, Amber and Ginger have also been laying almost every day and this week a total of 20 eggs (again, only 2 on Friday .... makes me wonder if this is coincidence or based on the feeding prior to lay) 2 of my customers had not been buying eggs for a while and have requested some next week, so I'm hoping my girls are up to the challenge of meeting the demand LOL.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Not much to report this week - the girls are well and laying, Scary is starting to look less moth eaten and her new coat is coming on nicely while Posh is back to her old self at last. Weather-wise we are once again going into a cold snap ... at least the wind is coming from the north or east this week so the runs should be fairly sheltered, but I'm still not looking forward to the chill factor. It also means that I will be having to bring their water containers inside at night to avoid them getting frozen - it adds another job in a morning which I could do without.

The mice in the White House have moved underground }hairout{ I put the paving down long before I got chickens so I didn't lay any mesh down first. The first paving are actually proper street paving (extremely heavy concrete affairs about 45 mm thick and well, paving stone size) which were part of the paving the previous owners of my house had laid at the bottom of the garden ... presumably for a barbecue by the pergola(?) I lifted them up (winched more like - I can't stress how heavy they were LOL) and after filling a pit by the shed with hard core (bricks and rubble picked out of the lawn and garden), put these down on top. It's where the glass greenhouse stands. Somehow, the mice have found the tiny gap between the concrete base of the shed and the paving and dug a hole underneath. The chances are they may now be able to come up into the greenhouse. I think poison is my next course of action as clearly I'm not on top of the problem, but I will have to make sure the girls are safe.

The egg tally last week was a respectable 40 with 20 eggs each from both the Spice Girls and White Ladies. It meant I managed to sell a few extra eggs too. Just as well because I needed the money on Saturday when I had to drive to Derby to get 2 sacks of pellets and a bale of bedding - unfortunately the shop had run out of Sundown Red (a mix of chopped straw and wood shavings) and only had Equine Green which is chopped straw double dust extracted with added eucalyptus. At least the girls will be snug and warm in the coops now LOL
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Hi LL

I meant to say - we were talking about Posh and Remie. Remie is also a Black Star. The farm I got her from advertises her breed as Copper Black on their website but also lists marans seperately so she is definitely not a copper black maran. They are lovely girls and full of character.

I took your advice today and got a bag of garvo for the girls. They haven't had any yet but I think they'll be very impressed!

Sorry to hear you have persistent mice.
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, Mango, Smudge and Coco
Chief servant to Marley the cat
Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly and Willow
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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KarenE wrote:They are lovely girls and full of character.


I find that each of the girls have their own little personalities - talking of Posh, her new feathers should mean that her wings will be fully grown (I had them clipped when I got them having never had chickens before so not sure what to expect) I know they all climb up to the balcony during the day (with all the poo as evidence LOL) but are all in their coop by the time I get home from work so Posh is quite capable of getting up and down on her own. Yet on Saturday she made a point of climbing up to the pallet shelf when I came down to the run before they went to bed and it was if she really wanted me to pick her up {hug}

The White Ladies are becoming less skittish when I open their main run door and even get a little in the way - the other day when I went in to do a bit of poo picking (when I let them out for their morning mash, I like to pick the morning deposits before scattering the seed and greens), they almost stood their ground but out of arm reach. Unbeknown to me, one had skirted to the back of me and the other two had decided to jump into the middle run instead. I finished and closed the door but when I turned round to go into the Spice Palace run, one of the girls was outside yike* Unlike the first time when it was a mad panic run towards the patio and garden, she calmly walked to the door and waited to be let back in {rofwl}

I trust the Spice Girls and often leave the run door open now while I clean their run in a morning - they see this as an opportunity to wander out and gather in front of the White Ladies who are waiting for their treat. It's looks so cute {hug} There's no need to herd them back in when I've finished because they are quite happy to go back in for their morning greens and seeds.

Egg tally this past week was 39 - 19 from the White Ladies and 20 from the Spice Girls. And eggs have been in high demand due to a bake sale (Cancer Research - there is a research lab where I work) And I've also got orders for this week so I've asked the girls to keep up the good work )t'

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