My attempt to keep chickens.

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bikesandbirdsbob
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My attempt to keep chickens.

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi all,I am Bob. I have the bug of keeping chickens.
A brief in sight to this point in time .
I confess to buying cheap eggs from the usual places . My other half (does not live with me but is only a phone line away ) is a veggie .. She always told me that I should buy free range and if I did not stop Karen (she whom should be obey`d ) but seldom was , woluld put me under the stairs and feed me through a hole etc .
Now I have been together and I do not understand why as I would make a saint swear , since 1999 . I finally thought ,put your money where my mouth is and put my feet in it as well and rescue some chickens . This was on my mind for along time and I decided that was it and ordered my FIRST lot of chickens.
This was ging to come from FSFH -Basildon. Date 28.06.14 . Now to start building .
Wendy house stable door windows either side nest boxes roosting perch . painted cleaned already. Could I wait , cause not .
Looking at Down the lane -Help homes for chickens needed urgent . Welll had the coop -go for it .
So my journey home from Wales detoured to Alysbury ???? (I thought it was north of M4 but actual north M25 .......
So 9.00pm at night kind souls where still waiting for me phone calls made so not totally unexpected .
Said I would have 4 but ended up with 5 birds .
Now they were in the coop , Had tell the other half so next day I invited Karen round
to see them .
First comment was where are you going to keep the 6 to come 28th TBC .Bob
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KarenE
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

Post by KarenE »

Blimey Bob, how many chickens have you got now then?

You should always obey Karens. It's the law :-D
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: My attempt to keep chickens.

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Continued (sorry a bit of a short time but long story. )
So I looked and said I can get 11 girls ( Noticed I am changing ) in the coop . Karen being a real fuspot said no the run has got to be bigger. So phase two the run on the 6foot x 4foot wedy house was enlarged now time is getting closer and VANDA a chickens SAINT . Had my six girls and I walked out with 4 cockerels (youngsters ......) so my FLOCK now was 11 girls and 4 well behave boys. Fortunately I had a summer house only 2 feet from the Phase two run so Phase three had taken place and chopped a hole in side of summer house more wire up and over and down the other side and bingo coop two CLUCKINGHAM PALACE was formed and cockerel a dood1e hall. Now a sad lesson to all.
I checked it once and checked twice and Karen looked and I saw it was good (BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH>) The two coops though together was seperated by the phase one side so effectively two coops .I went to bed and my massitf cried at 4.00 am -I get up at 4.30am for work... I got up and followed her down stairs and let her out into the garden .
She went straight to the coops and had a fight with a fox . It had got into the COOP Cluckingham and two of the girls had been killed the other 4 girls had been in the coop, these two stayed out in a coop inside the run . Mistake one and the fox had got in throught the wire between the the runs that had not been fixed good . (how the fox can find a way in so quick I will never know but they CAN.
Not nice seeing the girls dead. But I vowed it would not happen again . Flock now 9 and four cockerels .I opened the the coops so now one long run and coops can be got into how the girls and boys see fit .
Amazing how they change from bottom pecking and go up a level or two by changing coops .
So thing thaat I I now have a huge space and plenty of gaRDEN AS WELLL WHY NOT GO FOR MORE . kAREN ONCE TOLD , SAID THAT IT WAS no morE .
tbc
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

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Hi ,Istarted so should finish. I saw again that FSFH was needing homes for more and a soft touched ,probably in the head decided I could have more. Which I did .This leads me to another tale to be told .This group the third had 2 rings on there left leg.
Penelope was 2 ring pink left . she got sick I tried to sort her out but was failing so of to the vets. I believe that if you take on creatures you ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM. Well I managed the emergency treatment and I must say the lady vet took her round the back straight away . I was told a team of nurses /vets had her under a running tap cooling her down ,neddles -fluid medicine and kept in .She got named when I paid part of the bill and was told not much chance of surviving. But amazingly she came home to house bound in a dog cage under months later weekily visits and a good chicken friend to see her through MAREEN ( Maid ) (NO LONGER )
who stayed in with her through her recovery . She now is my star and follows me and chats in my ear and sits on my shoulder like a parrot.But another story to be told .
So now I have 5-6+4 + 6 less three =18 birds .Soon after the miracle of Pen one of the girls staggered out from the nest box in cockerel a doddle hall looked up at me and keeled over DEAD . Again the blame I should have noticed her but they can keep illness so well to themselves .More guilt .Another was found dead on hernest area in the morning . so I lost a total of 5 girls , I picked up another 6 girls from FSFH at Billericay ( Jacquie )TBC
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

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And there is more . So I have my flock of rescued girls and boys. I decided I need a holiday . so What to do with the girls and boys ? I will put them in a BOARDING HOME. Fortunately Next door neighbour sister has a hatchery! I got a deal and booked them in all happy till the Monday I took them 2 ring pink RIGHT Leg not Pen had bubbles coming from her eyes , I had not noticed and if I did probably would not understand but the Karen not other half ,sister to neighbour spotted straight away - medical ward and I wass told it was diesease from rats /food contaimination ? Unfortunately I was going on holiday on the Wednesday . I agreed to have her put down as she was not eating and suffering . Tyland did not work .
Again the blame game and kicking myself If only....Then the day I came back to pick them up Monday 2wks later one of the girls was found dead in the coop in the morning. so two weeks holiday lost two of my girls , not happy. So now I have a flock of 4 coccks and are they gathering their girls about them -a stort again to be told of billy no b.... and adolf the stiff legged jack boot cockerel that went to the vets and I was told put him down as quality of life would be bad -HOW WRONG IS THAT . another tale to tell. 19 girls . There is another girl I bought at a Auction (VANDA ) she is a pretty gold leaf wyndotte. I left half time as agoose and other girls would be in my garden. I was getting a dozen eggs and getting money to pay for their feed etc. but since hols they went down to 3 a day back up to 6 now cannot supplythe people at work enough and a girl come for 6 for her tum. Thats the facts.
Well another four to arrive in Dec 13 th . nad that is my lot as I am wishing any girls /boys to die -so someone else will have to take the slack and rescue some in2015.I will add more and tell more good fun stories on request.Having FUN BOB
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

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Hi, I have a problem .
Parkers mates and he are making a bid for
1 freedom (the grass is greener on the other side of the fence
2 They are seeking more attention from humans with food .

This is acting completely different to previous behavour , I think something is a foot ,(He parker has only one working leg ) . I had a feeling that cockerels are not as socialable as hens... (Do not read much about them . )

They seem to look after the girls and penelope is always showing off her tail feathers .
With 19 girls to look after the four boys seem to be happy. though they do try to look tough but the girls and dog soon lay the law down -no fighting....

Indie the cat , and lexie the boy cat are always sleeping in the nest boxes during the day . Funny looking at a hen laying eggs and a cat sleeping next to her . I let the flock out during the day with the dogh in the garden to keep the foxes away.
She may chase and pull the occassional feather out when there is food about but she is worth it to protect the girls and boys . Harley the massitf takes her dry biscuits outy to garden and crunches them up to tease the birds and then has fun chasing them away .
Once she got to good and grab ahen round the kneck but realised quick and let her go , she new she had erred and stopped chasing for ages.
It was a bit like treading on them as they get under my feet .

I do not think they learn quick as they are always doing the same thin again and again.
Home time to chocks and animals .
More eggs sold 6 eggs a day , must have gone back to work after my good negotiations with red, ex boss and one of the first .
Bye from animals and birds rule (my heart )
bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi all ,
My hens are looking really pretty.
I have had fun with the d e powder and I look like I had a mud bath with them . Bought a 20 kg bag so liberally spreading it about .
sitting on my bench when the sun comes up with dog next to me cat on my shoulder and chickens eating from my hand gives me so much pleasure .
My garden has not a blade of grass on it so importing from the marshes near by .
They are eating well and getting plenty of excersize . Moulting looks like finishing and friends grand children coming back over the weekend to feed them. It is really good educating them when young . Only getting 5/6 eggs from the girls (19 hens )
but not as bothered as the chaps at work as If I had 12 a day they would all go.
I have had only 3 eggs in the last 7mths as they are so popular .(soft shells )
The Flu up north is worrying , hope it is now finished . I have a cover over my run ( wire ) , but will add another internal smaller size to give double protection .
Companion care is my vets and they charge 39 pounds first visit then it goes down for return visits. So many things can go wrong with the hens and only thing to do in my little experiece is to watch them and any unusual brhaveiour check out .
I believe I have three squads of hens with the normal pecking orders and they just keep each other squads busy. Top squad are the first ones I got R /leg single ring they have a wendy house ,shared with the boys. 4 in a large shed . 15 girls are in a summer house , I double walled the sheds to insultate but there is air flowing through so as not to get to hot .Was thinking of putting a temp gauge in each . But not sure if I should let them get on with it or add heaters etc. frozen s/corn treat today.
Bob
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kitla
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

Post by kitla »

They wont need heaters bob, they have built in duvets! you could add some straw
if it gets really cold. You seem to have been well and truly caught by the chicken
bug! glad you're enjoying them. One bit of advice, when you're chucking the DE
about (and over yourself by the sound of it) try to take it a bit easy, it's not good
for you - or the chooks - to breath it in.
How about some photos for us?
"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."
--Immanuel Kant
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Mo
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

Post by Mo »

The feeling here is they don't need heaters in winter as much as somewhere shady to keep cool in summer. The problem can be keeping the water free of ice.
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bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

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Hi ,
I have read that they can keep warm . But when they moult and these are ex bats , I did not know if they need any assistance through the winter .
They get plenty of straw and they seem to be rather full of energy .
Photos I am working on but not very tec y .
I have now got 7 foot fences being put up Tues at the back end of garden.
Next door nieghbour is throwing bread and scrap veg over the fence .Problem is when she does not do it they are climbing on the fence perching waiting for her .
Not a blade /plant in garden left that they like . Now going for olive tree in a pot .They can only reach so heigh . Lauching into space and grabing leaf as they go back to the ground. The gold leaf pederigree chicken is a bit snobbish as she does not mix with the hybrids , the cockerels sit either side of her on a branch/perch(not to silly as the stop the other girls plucking her feathers ) . She seems happy enough .I feed them 3 tins of cat food ( fish ) and you should have seen the rush . Cat still sits next to them in the nest box area which is really wierd .Had 8 eggs to day so they begining to settle down after their hols in the country side.
They sleep in two coops as they see fit but never get more than 4/6 hens in one coop and 13 to 15 in the other The boys are always first to bed as they are high up in the loft . I know the fox comes round at night as my dog lets me know,It is not harming but dont wont to encourage it.I love my penelope as she alweays cherps in my ear and tells me what treats to get.She has come from the lowest of the lot , when she nearly died to head of a squad (not top squad but Well looked after by the cockerels as she always waves her tail feathers around.Should be fun watching the fence man put the fences up with the chickens supervising the holes .
Bob
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

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Hi all , all fun today.
Had to keep them in the run as they where filling the fence holes in and getting under feet , it was the forks and shovels that got them excited . Once the fence was down it was exploring time and after retrieving them too many times , I said enough . They where like volutures looking through the wire on the branch / perches , squacking to come out .
When the fence men went I let them out with the gaps filled to stop escape attempts , but as I was looking the other way , Penelope and two ring left orange , made a rush for side gate . I found them a while later eating the plants and grass in front garden. They dont come to harm but they are quick . Lavender cockerel was on the fence again but again the girls keep him in the garden . They all got 4hrs fun this afternoon and they went to bed happy . Always one to hang it out to the last sun ray ( HA ) . Realised tonight as I tucked them up in the straw that CHICKENS SNORE . and dream of things done and things to be done . Head turned back and fast asleep . Still 15 hens in one coop . Will have to strenghten their perches.Bob
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KarenE
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

Post by KarenE »

Hi Bob

It sounds like you're having loads of fun with your girls! they are the most brilliant pets.

I keep ex batts - don't worry about them being cold, as everyone's said, they will be fine. Just make sure they have plenty of straw -they will all snuggle up together or may even pile on top of each other. Maybe give them a handful of corn before bedtime as that will keep them warm as they digest it.

My girls snore, mutter and moan.

You are so lucky to be able to keep boys.
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: My attempt to keep chickens.

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Hi , I have cockerels , probably through winter whilst all the windows are shut Summer all bets will be off. At the moment they are trying hard at 5.30am /6.00am to out do each other. Thinking of sound proofing the coop . Fence is up 7 foot tall.
Will be soon putting double padlocks on the run doors. (Xmas is not just for turkeys .) To many people will help themselves . More vermin around than foxes , unfortunately.
Wormfest today chickens have scratched all the boarders in the garden . Have got to replant the tree and flowers / bushes as all dug up and probably destroyed .
I went out to get sand etc , when I came back the fence men where taking pictures of the girls and boys. I said I charge 50p a photo .(They put the cameras away ) (tight ) . 4 eggs today , tonight there is going to be a riot as the workers like boiled eggs for breakfast at 4.30am Thurs .....Moving out the fence rubbish so should give the girls a lot more room again . Penelope is like a dog , following me everywhere always cherping away calling me for attention .She is not frieghtened as she does not even drop down just jumps up on my arm and sits there watching the garden.cockerels are getting the hang of being feed by hand ,very slow at getting food as the girls get there first and tell them to sling their hooks.
It is good to have a peaceful day and long may it last before the next bit of excitement or panic attack. Bob
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

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Hi all ,
All well at coops , girls and boys had a full day out playing .I managed to get fruit that was passed sell by , grapes large bowl for a pound . tray bananas 1 pound .
I managed to eat a few but the girls took a fancy to them . The same beaks at the door jumping up two feet to help themselves. Have aproblem ensuring they all get some . The girls are quick when it comes to food. 5 eggs today , a white one again stands out in the box . 6 / 13 hen split . Penelope spent another day following me around the garden into everything . Replanting the bushes where the fence was put up was a fight for space and at one time had two hens in the hole and could not get a bottom clear as other girls took there space .Plenty of poo in the holes so reduced the bin quite a bit. Have not made my mind up yet , but think I will have to go for bushes with coloured leaves as flowers will not have a chane . mabybe a fruit tree . (miniture ).They dont seem to have had the heather yet and is a big bush so might stick that around the bushes as well .Maybe a gardener can advise / suggested something that will meet girls / my requirements .Hopefully spend some quality time with all the chickens Friday and give them a once over . Need new leg rings as fading .Might try putting two large trays of water in font of the run doors so they can wash there feet for inspection . Garden is now the Somme . Bob
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Mo
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Re: My attempt to keep chickens.

Post by Mo »

If you have dwarf fruit trees the hens will eat all the fruit before it is ripe.
In fact they'll destroy anything given the chance.
And I think it was Jasmine (????) growing up the run that turned out to be the culprit after a long saga on here of 'why do the eggs taste musty'.
Dance caller. http://mo-dance-caller.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-i-do.html
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