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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Scary is looking very smart with her new coat - her neck and chest seem more like charcoal black now and looks stunning. She's also contributing to the weekly tally and 5 days out of the 7 I found 4 eggs in the nesting box. For some reason there were only 2 eggs on Saturday but still, a total of 23 eggs from the Spice Girls. With the 19 from the White Ladies, that brings it to a grand total of 42 eggs! I was able to fill all my orders but due to illness, 2 of my customers were away so I ended up with a surplus ... I might have to go on another sales pitch for more customers soon if egg numbers are on the increase. Luckily I have a one off customer who requested a dozen this next week but thereafter ...

Meanwhile, the rodent problem has not gone away. Despite bricking up and preventing entry to the gaps between the paving stone, more holes are appearing. I have never known such determination and it would be understandable if there was food available but I take everything away each evening. I think it's time to try the mouse traps again.

Weather-wise it has been dry and not so cold. Daybreak is about 6.50am now but I'm still keeping to the later times to let them out but it won't be for long. Even the evenings are lighter and when I got home on Friday (after calling at the chippy), I went to lock them up so that I could go back in and have my dinner. To my surprise, all 7 girls were at their gates doing the ziggy dance ... they were disappointed when I told them I'd come back later LOL.
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Glad to hear The Spice Girls and the White Ladies are doing well )t' Eggs are weird arent they! I am either scrambling around to fulfil my orders or have a surplus. Concerning your rodents, have you tried digging out the mud from the hole putting in stone, pouring in postcrete(you can buy them in easy to manage small bags) then water then more postcrete? I suggest his as I did it last night and this morning in two seperate mouser holes }hairout{
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:Concerning your rodents, have you tried digging out the mud from the hole putting in stone, pouring in postcrete(you can buy them in easy to manage small bags) then water then more postcrete?


Actually there is no mud - the White Ladies run is on concrete and paving stones with sand on top! There is a small gap (about 1cm) between the concrete and the big paving stones where the glass greenhouse is sited which I've blocked off but somehow are still getting in }hairout{

My best customer is still off on sick leave, and the other was away on a week long "retirement" course not to mention a couple of others didn't need any more eggs so I had to go on a egg sale pitch this last week. To be honest, I really don't like having to try and sell the eggs but prefer recommendations from my existing customers (they all say they are the best eggs ever) but luck would have it, I was able to sell 18 eggs from one new sale. All 7 hens are now routinely laying daily so the weekly egg tally is easily 45+ eggs so no rest for me.

Dawn is definitely getting earlier and earlier now with the girls letting me know ... it's becoming a little stressful trying to keep the noise levels down, and the new girls are little instigators! I can hear them from first light ... which is very worrying for the summer to come. And it is much lighter in an evening where the girls are now going to roost just before 6.00pm. Winter this year has been a lot harder than last year and I think having 2 runs has most certainly more than doubled the workload. There have been times when I have almost regretted getting the new girls but they are part of the family now and becoming endearing little darlings. I was supposed to be getting quail this spring and I'm wondering if maybe I ought to give this a rethink - my (paid) job has got a little complicated and this is having an impact on the time I can spend with the girls. Perhaps when we get much longer days I'll have a better idea of what I'll be doing.
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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I forgot about you getting quail, why are you so worried about the early morning noise? Do you have less than understanding neighbours? We have a loud yappy dog that starts off at dawn and the pigs squeal very loudly so I guess I am lucky. I have ben getting mouse holes under the concrete too so shall be off to Block and Quayle tomorrow.
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/
bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Hi , It is my neighbours fault about the noise . They get up early and turn the lights on . My cockerels have a point of view about disturbing the hens sleep so tell them to turn of the lights..Of course then more lights go on and the hens tell the cockerels to sort it out . then they want to get out and stretch their legs and eat etc. I recommend a cockerall in every kitchen .............
Bob
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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sandy wrote:why are you so worried about the early morning noise? Do you have less than understanding neighbours?


Before I moved to this house, I lived next door to a nightmare neighbour who made my life absolute hell - I think she was a nutcase to start off with but it went beyond her when she'd invite all her friends as well. I really don't want to go through that again (you have no idea how bad it was - even with the so called noise abatement, the police was involved on more than one occasion .....) - at the moment my "new" (since September) young neighbours have been fine but I don't want them to have an excuse. As the warmer weather comes along, it won't be so bad as people seem to get up earlier then than they do at the moment.

Not a lot to report really - the girls have been good and egg laying is still on a high with the White Ladies laying an egg each every single day (maximum 21 eggs this week) The Spice Girls have an alternate 3 - 4 eggs a day so still a good 24 eggs from them. My best customer (a dozen egg order every week) is still off sick but I was able to sell all of last week's eggs without too much trouble. My biggest problem is my job getting in the way! I used to do a daily trolley run to dispose of waste and collect deliveries/supplies from the main building but my responsibilities are being shifted as the new job gets under way (part of my regrade which came through in December, and the new team member started last week so my old job has now been split - I now no longer look after the microbiology group in my building, but now cover all the chemistry research labs across campus meaning how I work has changed) I used to take the eggs along and distribute while on the trolley run but that will be changing. I will just have to find another way, sigh.

I set up the mouse traps in the White House run on Friday night, and dotted blobs of peanut butter around to encourage them to investigate the traps. The peanut butter was gone, one of the traps was tripped but no mouse or peanut butter but the other immediately outside the run (I moved the brick blocking the access) had caught one. I did the same again last night, and even put some peanut butter (minus the traps) in the Spice Palace run but nothing was touched. I doubt I've got all the mice but we'll keep up with the peanut butter bait to see if it is taken and will try the traps again later.

Today while doing some gardening, the girls did their ziggy dance every time I passed by and I was able to have a good look at them all. Posh really does look quite spectacular and the golden colours in her plumage are so amazingly vibrant. When she was minus her rear end feathers, she seemed smaller than the others but now looks about the same size - she can't have grown so appearance must all be in the feathers. Scary is also looking very smart in her new coat - somehow she seems to be less of a bully and more like a queen in her role as top hen. I was about to comment to Ginger that she needed to moult soon but as I looked closer, the feathers on her back and neck are different and brighter - perhaps she has already moulted but not so dramatic as the others? Baby was in the nest box (I had opened it up to collect the eggs late morning and she gave me a telling off for disturbing her LOL) so I was unable to look at her properly.

When I looked at the White Ladies, they don't look so brilliant white - I don't think the pale brown markings (only really noticeable if you look carefully) are stains but actually their feather colours. They certainly looked much more mature than when I got them 6 months ago and looking very grown up. I'm very pleased with the new additions despite my doubts last week about increasing the flock size and work load - the egg size equal that of the Spice Girls and seem to be much more consistent. In spite of commercial customer surveys that Brits prefer brown eggs (the US prefer white), all my customers love the white eggs. I always feel a sense of pride when they all come back and tell me the eggs are so much nicer than shop bought.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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I've not been on the blog for ages. Busy busy life and stuff. Delighted to see that you are still recording your adventures LL and I've enjoyed a bit of a catch up. So any news on the quail yet?
Best wishes Librarychick, Bluebell and Ginger +f+ >ch< X
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Librarychick wrote:I've not been on the blog for ages. Busy busy life and stuff. Delighted to see that you are still recording your adventures LL and I've enjoyed a bit of a catch up. So any news on the quail yet?
Best wishes Librarychick


)t' thank you Librarychick. On the quail front - I'm still planning on getting some but will wait until after Easter before I put an order in. I need to change the front of the quail house / doors as I'm not happy with it plus with building the chicken coop underneath, it has made it a little awkward to reach inside so I need to redesign it a bit.

Last week I had a heavy demand for eggs (talk about swings and roundabouts when it comes to the egg sales) and I pleaded with the girls to help fill the orders. For the most part there were 6 eggs a day so we managed okay but there were never any spares for the "just in case". Yesterday (not a sale day) there were 5 eggs - 2 white, 3 brown - but one of them was a tiny wind egg. It looked the size of a tiny brussel sprout (20p size) and made me laugh. This week's egg tally stands at 19 from the White Ladies, 20 from the Spice Girls.

Mornings are definitely getting lighter much earlier and nearer 6.00am now (maybe 5.45am) so I'm starting to get them up a little earlier now. They have ears of a bat and despite trying to be quiet as I can, they can hear me in the kitchen preparing their greens and breakfast which starts them off long before I'm ready. The other day Baby was excessively noisy but I don't give them their greens and seeds until I've cleaned and tidied up the coops ... by the time I was ready, she had gone into the coop to lay. This explains a lot - the Spice Girls in particular seem to lay early in a morning and none of them want to miss out on their treat so give me a serious verbal telling off LOL.

On the mice front, there is still a resident but he is not being tricked into taking bait from the traps. After several days with the traps and no takers, I put a little peanut butter on a tin lid (no traps) but the next morning even the tin lid was missing LOL. They are definitely mice, not rats, but they are incredibly strong. Last year I remember even the big chunks of half eaten courgette (the girls just ate the seeds) had been dragged up to where they get in and out. That will soon be blocked off in the coming weeks.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Just a couple of photos to add to the diary. Not the best but the last photo I posted of Scary did not do her justice while in full moult so I wanted to just update it. Also you can see how magnificent Posh is looking, and both Baby and Ginger seem to be sporting new back, neck and wing feathers but I'm afraid their tails are still tatty and their bums are a bit on the bare side:

Image

Also, thought I'd post a photo of the wind egg that made me laugh:

Image
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Nice to see The Spice Girls )like( You know that egg looks like the eggs we sell in my cousins shop that are classified as medium, yes honestly!
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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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Hi , your brown dark girl looks like my bloomers ,goldlace with black fluffy legs .
Bob
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Sorry for not posting more regularly - not sure what happened other than I missed a week, meant to catch up and before I knew it a month had gone by :oops:

A little sad news today - I lost Posh last night {cry} Just before Easter I found her collapsed on the run floor just half hour after feeding them. She seemed fine earlier, tucking into the seeds and greens like the others so was quite a mystery. I couldn't find anything glaring obviously wrong other than she seemed to be struggling to stand up. I put her in the pet carrier with some bedding and brought her indoors. There I checked her over - crop seemed empty, her breast bone sticking out like she was just skin and bone. I did wonder about her being egg bound or EYP, so thought I'd try the warm bath ... she seemed quite bemused by this treatment. I tried her with some sweetcorn and I defrosted some prawns which she wolfed down but when I dried her off and put her back in the cat box, she still wasn't too clever.

After a couple of days of the same, she perked up and within a week seemed eager to get back to the others (I'd leave her in the box inside the run so the other girls could still see her) but almost immediately, Baby the Amber Star attacked her. After setting up the coop run so that she could move around more, Posh was definitely on the mend and got more and more feisty and harder to catch, and one evening decided to put herself in the coop to roost. Surprisingly she seemed almost fine but I could tell she was not 100% and for some reason, Baby (the most bottom ranking chicken of the lot) seemed intent on putting Posh down ... strangely, the others were fine. Scary who I expected to be the worst was actually quite calm and would feed alongside Posh, and when Ginger got too close, Posh would give her a beak butt to get out of the way. Sometimes I had to intervene and isolate Baby from the others when the bullying seemed worst during the treat time (to the point she would see me coming and hop into the coop run as if knowing that is where she was going to end up)

Last night when I got home from work, Posh was in the coop and there next to her was an egg on the floor with a little black downy feather stuck to it - oh, she's laid an egg. However, when I came to lock up later on, I found her dead exactly where I'd left her, her body still warm. I feel a little sad that after all this time (nearly 5 weeks) when she seemed to be on the mend that she finally gave up. Maybe laying the egg took its toll, or Baby's bullying had been too much.

So now we are down to 6 chickens, 3 in each run. Egg laying for the most part has been an average 5 eggs a day as I think Baby has stopped laying, with the rare occasional 6, and one day there was only 2! The White Ladies have been making me smile recently with their antics - the highlight of their day is definitely the greens and seeds and in their eagerness to greet me (or rather the tray I'm holding) have rushed straight out of the run on more than one occasion. Last night, one took flight and easily got about 5 feet in the air when she jumped at the door yike* (they are supposed to have had one of their wings clipped, so I can imagine that they would be quite capable of getting much higher if they were not!) So far I've been very pleased with their egg laying and all my customers like their eggs too.

Talking of customers, 2 of my regulars have retired from work but at least one of them is keeping in touch and has asked for a dozen this week. Still, since Easter, sales have been a bit haphazard as I adjust to the shift in sales. I managed to get a couple of new customers when I had some left over, but they haven't come back and asked for more - I'm not sure if they are waiting for me to ask or if they don't want any more.
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KarenE
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Oh I'm so sorry to hear about Posh {hug} I doubt it was Baby's bullying, it sounds like Posh had an underlying problem going on and Baby was just taking the opportunity to move up the ranks (as they will).

Poor Posh and poor you, it is horrible when we lose them. Please do put a notice on the Rainbow Bridge log as we should remember one of our Spice Girls
Karen
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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
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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So sorry about Posh {hug} , its funny when Beth was sick next to bottom girl Megan was beastly to her while the others left her alone. They really are all completely different characters arent they.
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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Just a minor catch up - the girls are fine and managed to cope with the mini heatwave which I'm glad did not go on and on. I fretted for the girls on that one day, imagine if it had been 3 weeks LOL.

Since Easter the Spice Girls on average have been laying 0-2 eggs a day, whereas the White Ladies lay more of a 3 a day to the 2 a day average, so some days I get a total of just 2 but more often round the 4-5 eggs a day. I was sure Baby (the Amber Star) had taken full retirement because her distinctive big brown eggs have been absent for a good couple of months or more after laying non-stop since I got them in September 2013. And if she had a moult, then I haven't seen any improvement to the tatty state of her feathers. So imagine my surprise this morning when I came down to check on the girls before going to work and both Ginger and Baby were each in a nesting box and neither seemed in a position or have the will to come flying out to see if there were any treats (and most likely Scary the Bluebelle has probably scoffed the lot) I can only think that maybe ALL 3 hens are laying but not an egg a day each if you understand what I mean.

Since the heatwave when I started to leave their coop doors open overnight as it was too warm for them, (the runs are locked and bolted so in theory, should still be safe) the little so and so's have been getting up really early and demanding their treats at before 5.00am, even when it is clearly still dark and only just daybreak. The White Ladies seem to be the last to go to bed and the first to get up but at least their morning calls sound like croaking strangulated cats than piercing loud chicken crowing, but then the Spice Girls get up and make a din. So guess who else has been up with the larks? For the past few weeks I've been preparing their morning greens and seeds before I go to bed so that if I "overlie" and hear them, all I have to do is get up, grab the dish on my way to the chicken runs and flick the kettle on to boil for a much needed brew when I got back in. All has been working well, but for Baby (Amber Star) who has been very vocal for a second helping barely an hour later }hairout{ I even picked her up once, put her in the coop and closed both the door and vent to make it dark and she just didn't shut up, if anything the volume went up }hairout{ I'll be glad when the mornings are darker for longer even though it heralds summer on the way out.

I don't plan on getting any more chickens this year as originally it made sense to get new stock in each year to counteract dropping egg numbers from the ageing girls. When I got the Spice Girls, the work load to clean and look after them seemed minimal, but with the arrival of the White Ladies, despite having a routine it can still be time-consuming. I also struggle with the egg sales - some weeks I never have enough eggs for customers, and other weeks I have not enough customers to buy. It's not in my nature to go round "selling" and would rather people asked when they need eggs. I think I will let the flock numbers drop over time just for my own personal use. The quail project has been put on hold but not discarded - I just need to sort out and redesign the quail house for easier access and cleaning. Truth is, the quail house is directly above the built in chicken coop and at the moment is a very convenient shelf for all the stuff I have for the girls LOL

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