LL's chicken keeping adventures

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amber66
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by amber66 »

So sorry to hear that one of your girls has passed over the bridge LL.
We had a rat problem last year and they are crafty little bu**ers.
I tried poison but they wouldn't go near it so in the end i called the council pest control man out and he put some bait boxes in strategic places. That seemed to do the trick. I think they are allowed to use stronger stuff than the stuff we can by over the counter. Touch wood this year i haven't seen any but i expect they are about.
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

Sorry you have lost one of the white girls LL , are you sure there is no chance of mixing the others with the Spice girls?
As for rats poison works yes but then another lot will return in a few months, been there and done that three times now. I am now working on digging up all their holes wiring and cementing which is not as easy as it sounds as the last ratman put poison in the ground!
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Norma-Jean,Dora & Janice
The Peds…Suranne,Jennifer,
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 »

thanks Amber and Sandy {hug}

sandy wrote:are you sure there is no chance of mixing the others with the Spice girls?


Both the remaining White Star and Scary were top hens so I think it is likely to be a blood bath. Poor Baby is already bullied as she is getting old and not so quick to get out of the way these days - she is my main concern as I don't think she will be around for much longer as it is. I will try to do some neutral introductions this next week and see how it goes. If I can empty one of the runs, it will help to get on top of the rat problem.

sandy wrote:As for rats poison works yes but then another lot will return in a few months ...
I am now working on digging up all their holes wiring and cementing


If I was honest, I haven't seen any rats in either runs this past week. Before the poison, they were really bolshie and would help themselves to the food I put out while I was still there! But yes, I would have to fix the problem of how they got into the runs in the first place so it doesn't happen again which is why I don't want to get any more new girls for the moment.
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

LL its just lovely to read about Scary and Baby after all this time, poor Baby yes you may be right but when I had a scaredy girl I added brand new Point-of-Lay girls and she Blanche soon got her confidence so maybe 2 with the Spices and 2 with your white lady then a big mix?
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Norma-Jean,Dora & Janice
The Peds…Suranne,Jennifer,
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 »

So sorry to hear you lost one of the White Ladies LL.

it's excellent to hear of the grand old ladies Scary and Baby - with Wiggy, they are the Dowager henpals )t'
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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, Willow and Mango
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by lancashire lass »

sandy wrote:LL its just lovely to read about Scary and Baby after all this time, poor Baby yes you may be right but when I had a scaredy girl I added brand new Point-of-Lay girls and she Blanche soon got her confidence so maybe 2 with the Spices and 2 with your white lady then a big mix?


I would like to have a break from the chickens - just for a short while - so I really don't want to add any new girls at the moment. I need to fix the problem that I have with rats getting in and that means stripping the runs down and starting afresh which is difficult while both runs are occupied.

lancashire lass wrote:Poor Baby is already bullied as she is getting old and not so quick to get out of the way these days - she is my main concern as I don't think she will be around for much longer as it is.


I attempted a "neutral ground" introduction but the White Star (Pearl - I had to look back in my diary of when they first arrived) was really vicious and quite ruthless. Even Scary made a dash out of the way when they had all wandered into the Spice Palace - I had hoped Scary would have put Pearl in her place for invading Scary's domain. And as I suspected would happen, poor Baby was targeted and needed to be rescued. Although Scary is still a bully, her pecks are really quite tame and just a reminder to Baby that she is the top hen but Pearl went for the kill. I managed to rescue Baby and when I picked her up, she was very lightweight ... she hasn't laid eggs for almost a year so I would not be surprised if she died of old age any day soon, but I really do not want to hasten it with torture. I think it would be kinder to leave it for now and try again later.

To be fair to Pearl, although she is on her own, she has sight of the others and can hear them. And she doesn't appear to be pining for company so I'm not too worried at the moment. Winter might be a problem as she won't have other bodies to snuggle up to when it is cold but her coop is warm and dry and has plenty of bedding.

Another reason to have a break from chicken keeping is because the number of customers has dropped, so there have been no egg sales for several months. For one, yes I get fewer eggs now (1 or 2 a day, sometimes none for a couple of days) so it takes a while to make up enough for a sale. And because it is not reliable, a lot of my customers don't want any because they have already had to go and buy some. And my list of customers has really shrunk - I sell the eggs at work, and there have been a lot who have moved on or retired. My job has changed a lot too which means I don't see that many people, and to be fair, the new customers were by word of mouth from others so the whole thing has collapsed. Just occasionally, someone will ask me if there are any eggs so I put them on one side but nowadays is for my own use. One of my neighbour's has been very good to me, even cut my privet hedge back, and he really appreciates the fresh eggs as a thank you.
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lancashire lass
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Farewell Baby Spice

Post by lancashire lass »

lancashire lass wrote:I would not be surprised if she died of old age any day soon


Sad announcement I'm afraid - another Spice Girl has gone. Poor Baby has been unsteady on her feet and looking a little fragile for a while, but she was still eating and participating in the usual chicken activities albeit in her own time. I don't think the altercation with Pearl the White Star on Sunday had anything to do with it but it probably didn't help ...

My first memory of Baby is when I got the Spice Girls at Point-of-Lay and released them into their new home. Baby took one look at the dry soil in the run and decided to have a dust bath. She was so laid back, until that is, Scary began her leadership campaign. The top hen at the time was actually Posh who only pecked Scary once and put her in her place. However, Scary terrorised Baby and Ginger to the point where I had to build a high rise balcony which only they could reach to get out of her way. At first Baby and Ginger were best of friends but then Baby decided to mingle with the others and even had a sparring match with Ginger. However, it wasn't long before Ginger showed her true athletic colours and was able to dodge Scary and eventually climbed up on the ladder ousting Baby out and relegating her to the bottom position hen. And she has had to endure Scary on her own for quite some time, poor thing. Farewell Baby Spice - you'll be sadly missed.

So now we have 2 chickens, each in their own run. When Pearl made her way into the Spice Palace, I had hoped Scary as top hen would have put the intruder in her place. However, Pearl is surprisingly a lot more nimble and a lot more aggressive than Scary who just ran away rather than confront her. I can't see how any new introductions are going to make a difference as they have both seen what the other can do. And I couldn't help notice that Pearl's beak looked really menacing but it might also have been her huge red comb rocking on her head that made her look more vicious. With winter on the way, maybe they might tolerate each other a little better if it was really cold and had the need to huddle up together for warmth? >coc<
amber66
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by amber66 »

So sorry you have lost Baby LL. Fly high little one. {hug}
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

So sorry Baby has gone, not quite but almost the end of an era with the zigazag Spice girls. Such a shame Scary and Pearl are not busom buddies but as long as they are happy, maybe like you said when it gets colder they may want to snuggle, put them in the same coop when dark? Of course that would mean an early start for you to check they havent killed one another.
The Pink Ladies..Audrey,Ingrid-Bergman,Georgia,Madeleline,Norma-Jean,Dora & Janice
The Peds…Suranne,Jennifer,
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 baby LL. As Sandy said, it's almost the end of an era. {hug} I hope Pearl and Scary behave themselves and aren't too lonely in their own private accomodations. It sounds like you may have to reverse their names!
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, 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, Willow and Mango
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by lancashire lass »

Just a little update but nothing particularly major.

Scary decided to go into full moult about a month ago - the other week she looked so miserable, she didn't want to leave the coop and even backed up when I approached her. To help speed things along, both Scary and Pearl got a special daily breakfast with boiled egg and ground egg shell sprinkled over the usual seed and veg mix, with the occasional mash of pellets and sardines in tomato sauce.

I'm happy to say that Scary's new feathery coat is starting to look magnificent and she is a lot more sprightly than before though it is difficult to tell these days - with cold dark mornings, I'm leaving the breakfast + egg hunt to the very last minute before I have to bolt off. Worse, traffic to and from work has been a nightmare this past few weeks so I have to set off earlier and it's definitely dark when I get home now. I think this morning may be the last time we see a bit of dawn before I go to work (it was a clear cloudless sky so light levels would have been the earliest you could see for this time of year)

Suffice to say my fresh egg count is well down - Pearl bless her, did her best and at one point I was getting about 5 or 6 eggs a week (I remember when that used to be per day when both runs were in full production) With the bitter cold weather and shorter daylight length, there hasn't been a fresh egg in quite a few days now. I hope that wasn't it for 2017 .....
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by lancashire lass »

Was I in for a surprise yesterday morning - I clean the coops out once a week as there is only one hen in each coop so nowhere near the same amount of poop as before - and when I opened up Scarey's nest box lid, there was a half dozen eggs. I think what really flummoxed me was that she never used the nesting boxes and would lay them in a corner of the coop where I could get access from the coop door. I had been doing the periodic check since she stopped laying way back in October last year but never expected her to go into full egg laying mode in the middle of winter. What an amazing girl. Pearl, the White Star is laying an egg every 2 or 3 days depending on the weather, so I have got a lot more eggs than I would have expected for this time of year )t'

sandy wrote:As for rats poison works yes but then another lot will return in a few months, been there and done that three times now. I am now working on digging up all their holes wiring and cementing


Going back a bit with the outcome of the rat poison last summer, but yes - after a lull in rat activity for a while, they are back with a vengeance. This time they have tunneled in under the Spice Palace coop run (from outside the run under the breeze blocks that raised the structure off the ground) When rats first appeared back in 2014, I put wire netting down in that mini run and it had been quite successful for a long time. Now the netting is still there, but heaven knows what the rats have done with all the gravel that was originally packed in there and now there are just huge dark holes under the netting and the original bricks put on top to weight it down. Meanwhile, there are mounds of soil in the White House run that have been dug up from somewhere (could fill about 2-3 wheelbarrow loads on top of the paving stones) so some serious earthworks going on.

I have decided that when the last 2 girls are sadly gone that I think I'd give chickens a rest so that I can do a proper job of making them much more rat proof than they are now before considering any more chickens. Concrete and netting all round seems to be the answer as they able to get through the tiniest gaps. If I stay with the current rat poison, eventually (1) they'll become immune to it and (2) the risk of poisoning other animals either directly (eating the bait) or indirectly (eating the carcass or droppings) are too high. And having a thriving population of rats on my property is worrying enough - what if they got in the house, what if my neighbours complained to the council? yike*
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kitla
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by kitla »

I find it a bit scary when the rats start really digging in, its like mini bulldozers have moved in! and I reckon it usually means they're breeding.
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by lancashire lass »

kitla wrote:I find it a bit scary when the rats start really digging in, its like mini bulldozers have moved in! and I reckon it usually means they're breeding.


I suspect so too - this isn't just about making a gap to reach the feeder or drinker but a warren (or whatever they call it for rats) with a living room, several bedrooms and a store room ....
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kitla
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by kitla »

oh dear!
"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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