Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

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Cheshire Chick
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Cheshire Chick »

Wonderful photo's. I can see these three are going to be spoilt rotten and have a lovely life with you. So glad you are enjoying it all. P.S. I'm always in the garden in my dressing gown and wellies!!
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HenPen
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by HenPen »

Just caught up with your fabulous chickeny adventures -
Sounds like you have well and truly started down the Mad Chicken Lady route! Welcome to the club )like(
Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

Well, these girls just keep sending me into panic after panic {rofwl}

First it was strange looking yellow poo, which after much disgusting internet research turned out to be caecal, panic over.

Then it was when I sat with them until bedtime (because I could hehe) and noticed that they ate enormous amounts just before bed and ended up with one side of their neck bulging. Cue more frantic research only to find the crop is their right side and should be full before going to bed. I checked all crops the following morning before putting the food in the pen and all were empty :-D

And then...... the mother of all chicken related nightmares......

Hubby: "Darling, there is a rat sat beside the sofa"
Me: "Oh, yeah, right, and I've got a mouse up each nostril"
Hubby: "No seriously, there is a rat right there..." (looks worried).

Holy Mary Mother of God we had a baby rat in the living room. Now, I'm a country girl, I know rats are scared of people but we had terriers and barn cats. Worst case scenario we taped our trousers to our wellies, watched Dad let a smoke bomb off in an abandoned silo and armed with shovels we did our worst...

I am not used to them watching Broadchurch with me {warn}

So I made one call and one call only, to my chicken friend.

Me: "Hi, what are you like with rats?"
Friend: "I'll be there in ten minutes"

Two hours later, with every stick of furniture piled in the middle of the living room, she caught the baby rat in a towel and took it off to another part of town. I, of course, stood on a chair and made sure proceedings went as required - every match needs a referee!

So we have electronic devices on order, a humane trap, hubby has scoured the whole perimeter of the house for breaches, absolutely NO sign of rat holes or entry points on chicken run. All feeders are brought in at night etc etc.

I suspect, and hope, it was an opportunistic and hungry baby who sneaked in the back door while it was open during the good weather. The back door has remained closed since!

I'm still hearing scratching sounds, probably in my head }hairout{
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Mo
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Mo »

Well, I'm as humane as most, but I'm not sure that you can afford to be with rats. Not that you will ever eliminate them, and I have no arguement with them in the garden, but in the house it's the large version of the 'little nipper'
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kitla
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by kitla »

ooh shudder! having mice in the house was bad enough, but rats yeuc! Unfortunately I found baby rats impossible to keep out of the chicken run as they are small enough to pop through the holes in the weldmesh (so my night vision trail camera revealed!). Also if there's one baby there are probably siblings somewhere close so be vigilant.
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KarenE
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by KarenE »

Oh man what a nightmare! Have you got a cat? Actually, if it's only a little baby one a chicken might even do the job for you (they do eat mice after all)

Have you not got the infamous Chicken Poo Chart )b( bookmarked?

http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index. ... ic=17568.0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You'll need it!
Karen
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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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Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

Well gosh what a hellish few days...

The first baby rat turned out to have two (so far) siblings.

The morning after the first baby was caught, I heard the tell tale rustling behind the fridge, more poo around the skirting, on windowsills etc. Panic overtook me and I rushed to aforementioned friend for help and advice, let's call her Rach the Rat Expert. She advised snap traps but for some unknown reason I bought an electric trap thinking it was more humane.

Nothing caught and more signs of rats in the kitchen and bathroom downstairs. Then I put a wash on and the washing machine leaked all over the kitchen floor, eek!

Called my very own emergency service, Rach, she and hubby searched the kitchen and bathroom, emptied every cupboard and moved all the appliances. They found a rudimentary nest under the sink in the cupboard - behind my stash of carrier bags and LOTS of droppings under the washing machine (now defunct) plus a half chewed/eaten jumbone kept for our holiday boarding jack Russell.

A baby rat was sighted but ran between cupboard and wall void. So off we went to the DIY store and with heavy hearts bought two Rentokil snap traps and set them in the sink cupboard and behind the kick board.

The following morning, no dispatches in the traps but droppings in the bathroom }hairout{

So we moved one trap into the bathroom and sat crossing our legs for an hour, again nothing.

So I said "Well I simply cannot stand the thought of all that rat poop in the bathroom and they are shy, nocturnal creatures, so I'm going in there to clean it, come with me honey just to keep watch?"

So, I had the shower head on, in my hand, bottle of bleach in the other, leaning over the bath, when a baby rat fell out the back of the basin pedestal right next to me yike*

Hubby literally screamed like a big girl, nearly face planted me into the bath with the flat of his hand trying to get a head start and run away (he later told me if he could have walked through the wall he would have) the little blighter then ran over my bare foot before I swiftly followed hubby out of the room, once safe in the living room we both laughed and laughed until we were nearly sick, two grown adults sent into a fear filled escape frenzy over a creature the size of our hands {rofwl}

Whilst still high on the adrenaline Hubby put both traps in the bathroom and we sat quietly on the sofa holding hands like spooked teens in the aftermath of a ghost story.

15 minutes later we heard the SNAP, a good ten minutes after that Hubby ventured into the bathroom and found the corpse, thankfully expertly dispatched in what seemed to be a quick, humane kill.

We couldn't face emptying the trap itself so with the help of barbecue tongs the trap and occupant got double bagged and put in the wheelie bin.

Off we trotted, slightly elated and slightly guilty, to do some shopping. Came back 45 minutes later to another baby in the other trap.

Disposed of second catch and flew off to get four more traps. We now have two in the bathroom and two in the kitchen, no more activity.

In other news but still related, tomorrow night we will be welcoming Kevin into our rapidly growing zoo. Former scrap yard cat, currently being fostered in a home with chooks, 18 months old and a proven hunter. Always had cats but after our 18 year old mouser passed we decided to not get another. How things change!

So Dot, Marj and Jem, bless their hearts, are still thriving, blissfully unaware of the drama inside the house and still rat free thankfully. Jem now sits on Hubbys knee whenever she gets the chance, we are now getting an egg a day from all three and we are (obviously) still determined to give them the best retirement home possible (hundreds of pounds later {rofwl} )
Cheshire Chick
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Cheshire Chick »

Oh gosh, what a carry-on you have had with all this rat business. Hopefully you have seen the last of them now. I don't know if these things work on rats but they do on mice - they are a plug in small unit that apparently gives out a piercing sound (to rodents only - people and other animals cannot hear). We had mice in our garage and bought one of these off internet and plugged it in the garage. I can honestly say we have not seen another mouse in their. They cannot stand the sound and move house. Not sure what they are called but if you google it you will probably find them. On a happier note, so glad that the chucks are doing well and good on you for giving a home to a rescue cat. Let us know how you go on with him.
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kitla
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by kitla »

Oh how funny - and scary! I hate to say this but...if there were 3 babies.....where is mum & dad? Get that puss cat to work inspecting all nooks & crannys in the house!
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Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

Cheshire chick - We bought the ultra sonic thingy me jigs the day we realised we had more than one rat in the house, one per room (devices not rats hehe), unfortunately they didn't seem to encourage the three amigos to leave but perhaps they drove them into the bathroom (no plug sockets) to their death {cry}

Kitla- mummy and daddy have not been sighted but trust me, they have been on my mind throughout the whole episode. We have been trying to reassure ourselves that the three amigos were recent nest leavers and chanced upon our open back door, to their misguided delight.

So in a rat update, we have not had any more unceremonious funerals required, no more droppings sighted or close encounters. I do have a bad case of rat PTSD and my floors are now clean enough to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner off {rofwl} as are my cupboards, nooks and crannies, ooh eerr!. We also have all munchables in Tupperware boxes, of all shapes and sizes - I have never been so organised in all my life!

Sadly Kevin didn't come to live with us, his foster carer decided at the last moment he wanted to keep him. Very disappointed because of his credentials and more importantly his adorable nature but we understood why he had decided to give him a forever home when faced with him leaving.

So we are in the market for a cat who is a known mouser or a kitten that we can train and encourage to mouse. To be honest, being aware that the mere scent of a cat will help to deter rodents, alongside all our preventative measures, we would just like a feline housemate sometime soon!

Back to my primary concern, the chooks! The pen extension is finished, as rat and fox proof as it can be, looking rather ramshackle and Heath Robinson I might add. BUT! Hubby has put a hen sized door in it for them. I know that might seem daft but I open the pop hole every morning (earlier and earlier I have noticed but thankfully I rise with the sun) put the feeder in and leave them to lay. Then I go out and open the hen door, without having to bother about the main door bashing my washing line or accidentally blowing closed while I'm not there. I just check for eggs, close the main door, leaving the hen door open, then go about my business for the day.

Bedtime is a different scenario, turns out my chooks are not mad for corn >coc<

I shake it in the pan, try to hand feed it, scatter it, blooming do a dance with it but they don't care! Yep they run like raptors to the back door when I open it, yep they congregate around my feet when I'm trying to sweep, clean or put washing out - but corn to go back to the pen? Nope...

Cabbage, sweet corn and cooked potato peelings have no effect either.

As a result I am chopping various cooked vegetables and greens (mixed with poultry spice and nutridrops every few days) each night to get them back in. I know I could lift them in but I want them to do it voluntarily so they have a routine. They seem to be unable to peck raw whole veggies and give up quickly however a mushy, warm mix gets them going a treat.

Just so you know, we both handle them daily and they are more accepting each time, I simply don't want to spook them just before bed.

As for personalities, well Jem and Dottie brazenly walked into the house the other day while I was hoovering (yep, a really loud scary thing right in front of them and they didn't bat an eyelid) the back door area inside and out (rat prevention lol) pooped in the lobby area before I shooed them out. Marj seems to be the most chilled but also the least intelligent. She runs up and down trying to get out the pen in the morning and does the same in reverse on an evening, she is last to notice new food and as yet hasn't tried to jump on us in some way.

Over all I just adore my hens, this afternoon has been sunny and watching them pootle about the garden, peck my ankle bracelet, crane their necks to see what I have in my hands - even flutter up onto my knee to check me over, is a total pleasure. Dot and Marj are just about full feathered, Jemima is sprouting lovely new feathers at the base of her tail, gorgeous.

One last thing, after my essay lol. We are now getting three eggs per day but they seem to be getting bigger! I have a Tupperware egg box and today's offerings wouldn't allow me to fully close the lid. I never expected many eggs but gosh )like(
Cheshire Chick
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Cheshire Chick »

Sounds like your chooks and you are having a marvellous time. It's amazing how their personalities come out. Rose & Violet were so nervous when we first got them - I even said to my husband I think Rose hates me as she wouldn't come anywhere near me. Well that's all changed now, they love being with me (I know, it's the treats that do it), but hey, it's great.
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KarenE
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by KarenE »

Can't believe your chooks don't like corn. Have you tried dried mealworms? Mine would sell their own grannies for mealworms (and pretty much anything really). Raisins tend to go down well, as do grapes but harder to have grapes on hand - I find raisins work really well as my go-to 'how the heck did you lot get in to the kitchen - get out GET OUT!!' tool of choice.

If you are still looking for cats, try the Cats Protection where you are. We got Marley from them and it was pretty quick - I sent an enquiry on the website, they phoned me up and interviewed me on the phone, then we went for a quick look at her the next day and took her home with us. 2 days max I think we waited, and she came having been wormed, vaccinated, neutered and with a month's insurance. Had to pay a rehoming fee but it wasn't much. They have lots of cats waiting, so definitely worth a look.

One warning though - I have only had mice in the house because the BLOOMIN CAT BROUGHT THEM IN AND LOST THEM!!! My previous 2 boys Charlie and Jasper were beggars for bringing us live presents and then having them escape. Charlie brought one that he lost in the kitchen; Jasper brought in god knows how many but the blooming things ended up living in my bedroom floor and ate all my Christmas chocolate coins! {mr.angry} Jasper was rubbish at hunting them out again, I had to bait humaine traps with the remaining (nibbled) chocolate coins. One ran up my sleeve once yike* That wasn't fun getting it out!!! So far Marley hasn't brought us any presents, but she doesn't love us enough yet {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
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by stripeddonkey »

KarenE wrote:Can't believe your chooks don't like corn. Have you tried dried mealworms? Mine would sell their own grannies for mealworms (and pretty much anything really). Raisins tend to go down well, as do grapes but harder to have grapes on hand - I find raisins work really well as my go-to 'how the heck did you lot get in to the kitchen - get out GET OUT!!' tool of choice.

If you are still looking for cats, try the Cats Protection where you are. We got Marley from them and it was pretty quick - I sent an enquiry on the website, they phoned me up and interviewed me on the phone, then we went for a quick look at her the next day and took her home with us. 2 days max I think we waited, and she came having been wormed, vaccinated, neutered and with a month's insurance. Had to pay a rehoming fee but it wasn't much. They have lots of cats waiting, so definitely worth a look.

One warning though - I have only had mice in the house because the BLOOMIN CAT BROUGHT THEM IN AND LOST THEM!!! My previous 2 boys Charlie and Jasper were beggars for bringing us live presents and then having them escape. Charlie brought one that he lost in the kitchen; Jasper brought in god knows how many but the blooming things ended up living in my bedroom floor and ate all my Christmas chocolate coins! {mr.angry} Jasper was rubbish at hunting them out again, I had to bait humaine traps with the remaining (nibbled) chocolate coins. One ran up my sleeve once yike* That wasn't fun getting it out!!! So far Marley hasn't brought us any presents, but she doesn't love us enough yet {hug}


I have become an expert at catching mice that the boys have brought in and released. Boots are the key. Herd the mouse towards a boot and they run in for shelter. Then you just pick the boot up and lay it outside so the mouse can escape.
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KarenE
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by KarenE »

I hadn't thought of boots! )t'
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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Mo
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Mo »

I wonder if you are trying to get the hens to bed earlier than they want to go?
A fine line between 'not dark enough to go to bed yet' and too dark for you to be sure they are all in.
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