LL's chicken keeping adventures

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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by lancashire lass »

)wav( Hello, long time no see in the chicken section (busy busy in the garden bit) Actually, there's not a lot to report - we seem to have got through winter fairly unscathed, the rat(s) are still residing in the Spice Palace, and the White House now has mice (so small and look so cute, must be field mice - the gap they effortlessly squeeze through is barely big enough to slide a £1 coin through!)

Peace still reigns in the Spice Palace and the girls all get along well. Even Baby has stopped her headless chicken act (tucking her head in so much just so that Scary would not do a beak bite on her neck) Ginger has occasional senile moments - "who am I, where am I, what am I doing here?" And Scary is scarily more friendly than usual. We sometimes have a conversation in a morning - while tucking into her breakfast feast, especially if it is something special and tasty, she'll make "uh, uh" sounds as if enjoying it. If I mimic her, she'll reply - we often do chicken talk but I have no idea what we've said LOL

There is still war in the White House but to be fair, not so much the bloodshed but more like loss of feathers. Over winter all 3 girls have secretly been moulting because now I can't tell them apart any more - the distinctive dirt / purple stain marks have been replaced with ultra white new plumage ... I suspect my girls would be able fly if they ever got out of their run! Liz (or) Lesley still endures back pecking and sports a bald patch at the base of the tail but so far, just a missing feather or two. The other two look amazing well in their all white new coats.

And then there's the science of poop - over winter, the Spice Girls didn't seem to spoil their coop bedding as much as the White House girls. I could only assume that as the older girls stopped laying, the pooping levels went down. Now that the nights are getting a lot shorter and all the girls are enjoying the outdoors for longer, the morning coop poop pick is much reduced in both houses.

But then, just when I thought the Spice Girls had retired from egg laying for good, Scary and Baby have started laying again on an almost daily basis, with the odd ones from Ginger. The White House ladies on the other hand had done rather well over winter but are now going through a crisis - at first it was just the one thin shelled egg appearing, then 2 a day ... Last year the Spice Girls seemed to be the same before their egg laying finally slowed down and almost stopped. I think the daily egg laying must use up so much of the body's resources that they stop producing a good shell even when given extra calcium and supplements, and only after a good rest from it all are they able to lay properly again. Shame there isn't an on-off switch you could flick to stop them laying.

So strange as it may seem, the eggs for sale are now mainly brown with the odd white egg which is not what I was expecting. I have got a new customer for the books - a work colleague who brings a boiled egg in for breakfast. As I looked at his egg, I asked what size it was as it looked positively small compared to the eggs my girls lay (apparently his was medium size) but when he bit into it, the pale wishy washy yellow yolk looked so sickly (I'm just so used to seeing yellow/orange coloured egg yolks) So he bought a half dozen from me to try out ... I'm sure he won't be disappointed )t'

And that's about it from LL )wav(
bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi a good read .
New customers , need the eggs though to support or fights will start up in the office coop....
Best
Bob
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

LL fandabidozy to hear the White Girls and The Spice girls are all doing well )t' After reading your gardening diary I dont know how you find time for it all
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Blossom,Merle-Oberon Cyd-Charisse,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Myfawny ,Monica-Rose
The Peds…Suranne,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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sandy wrote:After reading your gardening diary I dont know how you find time for it all


well, something doesn't get done ... :oops: the housework is a bare minimum especially in summer, so no surprise visitors allowed LOL

bikesandbirdsbob wrote:New customers , need the eggs though to support or fights will start up in the office coop....


because I don't have that many chickens, it's not really a business where people expect to buy eggs straight away LOL Unless someone puts a specific request in and gives me time, usually I just offer eggs collected together ready for sale to the first person on my list and if they don't need any, then on to the next and so. If people want a steady supply, then they go and get their own elsewhere whereas more usually, they prefer my eggs if they want really fresh ones rather than for baking. I did have 2 very good customers (and sometimes I couldn't meet the demand) but they both retired and then there was a big slump in sales. So new customers are always welcome (and this decides whether I ever get more in the future )t' )
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Well, the White Ladies are officially on an egg strike. The numbers have steadily been declining but for the first time, the eggs for sale are all brown. Two of the girls keep laying shell-less eggs despite an increase in supplements such as cod liver oil / sardine and limestone flour / oyster shell, and the third lays every 2 or 3 days. So my egg sales are totally reliant on the Spice Girls. To be fair, they have been up for the challenge and on average 2 eggs a day (I'd love to see the day when all 3 lay at the same time, but I won't be greedy) Hopefully the White Ladies are just having an egg rest much like the Spice Girls did last year.

Last weekend the weather was warming up with lovely hot sunshine - but too hot for the girls under the clear corrugated plastic run roof ... basically it is a greenhouse with open sides. On Sunday I put the foil backed bubble wrap on top of the roofs but normally I'd have some old reed fencing to also provide shade. So old, unfortunately it's now part of the compost. I think the shade from the foil backed sheet did help but it was very warm in the runs when I came to lock the girls up for the night, so I went for plan B. I didn't have anything I could use on the outside, but had a light bulb idea of using aluminium foil inside the run, propped against the roof. It should provide shade and being shiny side up, hopefully reflect some of the sun's heat away. It did occur to me that this was a new take on roast chicken :oops: Plan C is to paint a white wash inside the run which I will try to do this weekend if I can.

I had a very busy day on Tuesday at work, and still feeling rough from the broiling on Monday when we had temperatures up to 26oC (hotter in the building while the heating was still on .... ) I was so tired when I got home from work, I fell asleep in the early evening and then went to bed, too tired to go out and lock the girls up and collect the eggs. I bet they appreciated having the coop doors open all night but it did mean I had to get up extra early before they decided to join the dawn chorus in the morning LOL. To be fair, they had quietly got up and were eating and drinking when I went to give them their morning greens and only started to make a noise because I had arrived with some goodies to eat. In midsummer during a heatwave, I have sometimes left the coop doors open (their runs are as safe as I can make them from possible fox attacks) but they don't appreciate that the neighbours might not like being woken up with a chicken song LOL
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KarenE
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by KarenE »

Our coop door's been open since last autumn, we haven't got round to replacing the batteries. They seem to be fine with the breeze! The only time they make any noise is when they hear us in the kitchen - they have really good hearing! I bet your girls are as good as gold till they hear you.

Good top hear the Spice Girls and White Ladies are doing well, even if some are taking a well deserved break from laying!
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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Farewell to Ginger Spice

Post by lancashire lass »

Sadly Ginger died yesterday {hug} Over the past few weeks she has been a little slower than the others when letting them out, not so eager to rush out for the morning feed and standing back from the others while they gobbled up all the best treats. The other week, Scary knocked her out of the coop while trying to get to the treats first and I'm wondering now if she got hurt because she didn't seem right after that even though I checked her over. I suspected it was just age. I have been surprised how Baby and Scary have both been keeping her company in the coop as if they know she has not been well.

I had a soft spot for Ginger - I can remember her at the poultry farm when buying my first hens. She was the only one who came up to the fence to say hello while the others rushed around out of the way LOL. However, once home she was terribly scared, kept away from the other girls on the high pallet shelf all by herself and wouldn't even go into the coop at night, but as she got more confident, she was like the athlete of the flock, cleverly dodging Scary's mean beak bites and always the first to greet me at the gate like an old friend.

As a layer, she was very good providing me with lovely big brown eggs until quite recently when I think she finally retired. Farewell Ginger-roo - I will miss your antics.
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

Aw LL sorry to hear about Ginger one of the originals xxx
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Blossom,Merle-Oberon Cyd-Charisse,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Myfawny ,Monica-Rose
The Peds…Suranne,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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KarenE
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by KarenE »

I'm so sorry to hear about Ginger - what a shock! To us, maybe not you if she had been slowing down a bit. {hug}
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
bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi could not write a better tombstone than that .
All the rescue girls aim for what ginger had .
Sorry for your loss .
Best wishes .
Bob
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by lancashire lass »

{hug} thank you. I do feel a little sad at the moment. Yesterday I cleaned out the nest box where she had spent her last days and replaced the bedding. As Scary and Baby no longer use the nest boxes, I never give it another thought until this morning - all the bedding in that nest box had been completely emptied out by the girls. I'm wondering if they were looking for her ...

So now we are down to 2 Spice Girls in the larger run, and the 3 White Ladies (White Star) in the smaller run. I'm thinking of merging the 2 flocks together into the one run ... I'm not so worried about the White Stars having to adjust to a new home and pecking order (they are still "young" and energetic, can fly and will enjoy the balcony view as well as more run space), but how will the older girls cope? Both Baby (an Amber Star) and Scary (a Bluebelle) are big hens but they are much older. Baby has always been at the bottom of the pecking order and I think she has also semi-retired from egg laying though now and again, a speckly brown egg appears (that's how I recognised her eggs) so I'm not sure how she will manage with 3 new companions. I think Scary will be fine as she can still inflict a mean beak butt even though her temperament has softened and more matriarchal these days. Decisions, decisions. It would certainly make it easier to manage one run and coop and mean that should I lose another Spice Girl then the last one will already be integrated into a new flock. It would also ... free up the smaller run for some new girls )t'
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by amber66 »

So sorry to hear that Ginger has died. My thoughts are with you. {hug}
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bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi ,sounds like a plan , If all fails they could go back and add some new girls to them later .
Bob
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KarenE
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by KarenE »

Have you decided what you want to do yet LL? Are the White Ladies going to form the new Spice Girls? Perhaps that will bring the Quail plan back in...
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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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

LL if you do have quails I have lots of egg boxes ordered them by mistake :oops:
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Blossom,Merle-Oberon Cyd-Charisse,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Myfawny ,Monica-Rose
The Peds…Suranne,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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