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 »

I tried the feed mixed with Verm-X - to be honest, I think the flubenvet is better because it is a one off treatment which is very effective, whereas something you feed regularly sounds familiar ... resistance to a product producing "super" pests. The other reason is that it is a much more expensive feed in comparison to their normal feed with the occasional flubenvet treated feed. And the girls were not too happy with it either so now I don't bother.

Anyway, good news is that Baby is now pooping properly and no more wet squits and bedding, so job well done. I did think it could also be the withdrawal of treats especially the greens and fruit - they have been getting a lot of apples recently. I'm keeping the treatment going to finish the bag off as it won't store and seems a shame to throw it away. I'm sure the girls will be glad when it's all gone LOL

As for the egg tally, yes I think you are right Karen - numbers are well down and I'm struggling to get enough eggs for sales now. I think the weather might be to blame - we seem to be under constant cloud cover and the whole of last week was dull and dark with rain. It doesn't help that the leaves are being shed from the trees, especially the neighbour's ash tree straight on top of their clear plastic roof so the run is darker, and of course, the days are getting shorter (even shorter under cloud cover), so the egg laying is slowing down. The other day I got just one egg (from 6 chickens) - having saying that, any eggs from the Spice Girls is a bonus as I didn't expect them to keep laying forever and they did so well at the beginning. And egg size is down too - I was quite surprised by that but it could be that their feed had not been supplemented recently.

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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

LL if the leaves get in the run they can get worms from them apparently? Good news baby is pooping well. I had a green poo the other week, hate them!
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

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sandy wrote:LL if the leaves get in the run they can get worms from them apparently?


I don't let the leaves go into the run anyway because of the risk of toxicity (especially the cherry tree) Anyway, all done and out the way now :-D

The egg laying trend is still very erratic with some days as many as 5 eggs and then several days of only 2 or 3 so I really do think it is down to the weather - very little sunshine for weeks on end and usually short-lived too. Also, feather growing!

The other day I noticed for the first time that all the White Ladies have fluffy white bums - soon after I got them, 2 lost their feathers in that region and I concluded that when there is a small number in a flock, feather pecking seems to be natural. Liz and Lesley still get pecked near the base of the tail by Pearl but she seems to have left their bottoms alone now.

Baby and Ginger in the Spice Palace are looking particularly well in their new coats, but Scary has decided to have another full blown moult. I couldn't believe my eyes when I let them out of their coop on Saturday morning - it's possible with the dark mornings I might have missed the signs because the time I can spend with them is short, so it is just a quick clean out and feed then I'm off and then it is dark when I get home. And there always seem to be some feathers about the run so I didn't notice anything different, but that day she just wasn't for leaving the coop. So unlike her, as she's usually the first one out, shouldering the others out of the way (putting it politely) to get to the sweetcorn and greens first. When I saw her, she really did look sorry for herself and for the first time ever, I was able to stroke her without her dashing off. I couldn't see any injuries so put it down to moulting even though she had one not 6 months ago. Since then she has recovered from her initial distress and seems to be back to almost normal behaviour.

Strangely, Ginger doesn't seem interested in the greens and treats as much as the other 2 girls these days but she is still eating well and while the others are munching away, she's usually at the feeder and pecking at the pellets. She also started doing the weirdest thing - I know they all like to think of themselves as accomplished escape artists when my back is turned, but Ginger just stands by the gate all the time and at the first opportunity, heads straight for the pile of soil by the side where I've cleared my footpath. With all the wet weather, the dirt and leaves make it very slippy and hazardous to walk on so she doesn't get the chance to do more damage. Still, it's just the determination I find odd and even when I put the treats and mealworms right in front of her, she just ignores them.

On Sunday at the allotment, I had to smile at the chicken run on the site - all decked out with Christmas decorations. The shared chicken project apparently has been a great success and everyone has enjoyed coming to see them (I often see parents bring their children on site to go and see the chickens) - 7 people each doing a one day a week clean out and stock up and take all the eggs on that day (up to about a dozen when the girls were at their peak) which means the workload is shared out, and of course, if anyone is ill the others take it in turns to cover that shift. For those who can't have chickens at home, maybe try and see if an allotment would be willing to let them have a plot (or better still share it) to keep chickens. Most allotments allow chickens, usually a maximum of 12 and for own use only (that is, not for sale or breeding etc), and so long as there are no cockerels or other birds, I'm sure a good case could be made like this one especially when it is a shared project. If you just want chickens for yourself, unfortunately allotment rules usually stipulate that only a quarter or third of a plot (depends on size) can be dedicated to a chicken run and the rest has to be cultivated - and as tenants, you can be evicted if you do not look after the entire plot.

Anyway, the Spice Girls and White Ladies (and me) wish everyone a lovely Christmas and best wishes for the new year )x5(
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KarenE
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by KarenE »

You are lucky you are getting eggs LL, I haven't had any for ages now!

Merry Christmas to you and the Spice Girls and White Ladies, and a happy and healthy new year to you all )x(
Karen
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lancashire lass
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Earlier this week my neighbour decided to have a party - to be fair, they didn't disturb me until about 10 pm when they decided to set off fireworks in the garden right next to the chicken runs. I was not very happy.

Last night it was bitter cold after the heavy rains when I went to close up the coops. For some reason the Spice Girls have decided to dig a big hole under some bricks that support the coop and even though I fill it back up, the hole is there again the next day }hairout{ There are paving bricks butted up to the breeze blocks and inside the mini run of the coop, I had laid wire mesh so if rats or mice had got into the main run they could not go any further. Still, they don't need an invitation so every night I'm having fill it back again under torch light. Expecting a frost, I thought it best to take the water drinkers out and after collecting the eggs, went back inside the housse.

The neighbours didn't have any more fireworks but there were plenty elsewhere which started at about 9.30 pm and went on and on and on. As the girls had seem unaffected by the earlier ones, I wasn't too worried. This morning I decided to treat them all to a scrambled egg and sweetcorn breakfast (with not selling the eggs at the moment due to the holidays, the numbers were growing rapidly, and secondly, I'd forgotten to defrost some sweetcorn overnight) With refilled drinkers, some clean bedding and breakfast in hand, I went out. First, I poop picked the main run in the White House run before letting them out ... considering it was after 8.00 am and daylight, I was surprised that they girls were quiet - normally they start making a racket the moment they hear the key turn in the back door! I was getting a little worried when I went to the Spice Palace run and then I saw a movement in the mini run - the girls were already out! I can only think I had too many tasks to do and forgot to close their coop door - with both a main run door and the mini run door closed, I don't think the girls were in danger of foxes but it must have been unsettling for them during the fireworks. The warm breakfast was eagerly eaten so hopefully they've forgiven me.

I have 2 robins and a sparrow keep visiting me in a morning when I let the chickens out - they perch on the fencing by the run waiting for me. As robins are good for the garden to keep pests down, I have been giving them a pinch of mealworms and seed to encourage them to stay. However, the robins are so cheeky. Many a time I finish, lock up and about to leave in a morning when I spy one flying about inside the run. It's now become a daily chore chasing the robin out!

The girls are still laying eggs - the White Ladies lay between 2-3 eggs daily, the Spice Girls 0-1 eggs (I think Ginger and Baby lay alternate days) I realised a while back why Baby is so noisy in a morning ... I give them greens to eat first thing while I clean out their coops, and before I leave for work give them a mealworm & seed/corn treat - Baby clearly wants to lay an egg but she doesn't want to miss out on the treats LOL so she makes such a racket in the hope I'd give it to them earlier. Many a time I've popped back later with the treat and she is in the coop and not very happy about it.

With all the recent rain, the White Palace run is getting damp despite putting polycarbonate sheets from a greenhouse along the back of shed and the back wall of the run. It usually dries out between rainy days but at the moment is not happening. I know we haven't had anything like the north and Scotland so can't complain.

Well, that's all the news so far. Here's hoping 2016 will be a good year >ch<
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by sandy »

Glad to hear The Spice Girls and White Ladies all doing well, you gave me a bit of a scare when you said all was quiet. Speaking of robins we realised we havent seen one for months!
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

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well I've discovered the reason for the holes appearing under some bricks - I half suspected it but it was confirmed yesterday when I came down to the run ... a pile of dirt had appeared outside the gates and there is a hole under the fence }hairout{ I back-filled everything but I think the rats/mice have managed to get under the breeze blocks now and under the mini run so will have access to the main run. They shouldn't be able to get further into the coops due to the mesh and paving I'd laid down in the run but it does mean they are probably finding it cosy and dry under there and making a nest. Time to get the traps out again ... it seems to be a winter thing so I shouldn't be too surprised but it never ceases to amaze me how they manage to find the smallest gap in my defences to tunnel through.

Determined not to be late for work this morning after the Christmas break, I had already got my lunch and bits & pieces ready to take with me, was washed and dressed but when I stepped outside to get the girls up at 7.30 am ... it was still night time. I got the girls up anyway under their camping lights and they weren't too bothered although 20 minutes later they didn't like it when I switched the lights off LOL. By then dawn was breaking and it was light enough. Luckily traffic this morning wasn't too bad so I was on time but the coming days when it gets back to normal are going to be problematic.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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My girls are incredibly lazy on winter mornings. I went out at 8 last week to let Remie out - so she didn't beat Dory up - and the lazy madam was just getting up, and Dory didn't come out till 10am!

Something's been digging in my greenhouse, under the flags }hairout{ I can only see 1 hole though so I don't know where it's coming from/going to.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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I've noticed the mice under Chickenopolous have been digging deeper lately, I think
they're getting ready for the cold weather that's forecast - funny how nature knows!
When they're serious the mice can dig a surprisingly big hole, but the rat ones are
unmistakable!
"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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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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I think it is definitely rats - the amount of earth moved overnight was phenomenal, especially the compacted earth which even I can't shift with a spade or fork. I had put a chimney pot directly under the hole in the roof where one of the cherry tree branches goes through so water that runs off lands in that instead of making the rest of the soil damp. This morning not only was there a big hole underneath it but the whole thing is leaning over - the pots are nearly 3 feet tall and quite heavy.

The heavy ceramic floor tiles I got from work (a floor had to be re-tiled and the old ones were only being binned) have come in useful. I scraped the soil away from the breeze blocks and butted the tiles up to them to stop more holes appearing under the mini run. That's when the chimney pot became the next target. My traps didn't work so I've been leaving little bits of cheese for them to eat and then I'll try again as bait. The traps I bought a couple of years ago need replacing which I hope to do tomorrow. I think I could cope with the mice but not rats.

Meanwhile Mr Robin keeps getting into the chicken run. I'm convinced he must be getting in through the roof because I know I had chased him out one morning but the next day the robin was already in the run before I had opened up. The other day I had to smile when I came down with the chicken feed - blackbirds, sparrows and robins were all waiting for me to throw some seed and mealworms to them (it was only a tiny pinch to keep the robins in the garden but I think he's been telling all his mates about me LOL)
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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after putting bits of cheese out in the run for a few days, thought it time to bait the rat trap. I managed to get one working again - basically it just needed a really good soaking and cleaning so that the pedal was sensitive enough to set the trap off (I accidentally set it off with my fingers in the way ... yep, it works - ouch)

So last night I was all set up, little bits of cheese placed along one wall leading up to the one in the trap. This morning there was anticipation of having to bag it up and dump it in the bin and when I got to the run ................. all the cheese were gone as before but the one in the trap was still there }hairout{ Either it is an experienced rat (I noticed the traps stopped working after a couple of hits as though the others learned to distrust them) or it was too clean and looked strange. I might have to keep on trying and maybe it'll get used to it. I don't think the bait is the problem as it was obviously eating the cheese before. The problem with peanut butter is that it is so messy (not to mention that I used to like peanut butter and now am put off) Poison is not really an option as the rat (s) are nesting in the run so I'll have to start considering something else if the trap doesn't work.
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Despite putting the rat trap down baited with the cheese every night, it was never set off so I was having to think about other options to get rid of the uninvited guests. They were obviously just using the dry run to nest rather than to feed as I lifted the food and water up every day. As the nest was not far from the coop, I wasn't happy about using poison - I even considered putting the Spice Girls in with the White Ladies if I had to resort to it, but as they had never been together before, I had a fair idea of what would happen. I wasn't keen on the idea.

Last weekend I bought some more sand for the runs and after locking the girls up for the night, moved the badly tilted chimney pot out of the way (torch beam in the hole while I edged close to the main gate for a quick getaway) Under the pot was a hole that led under the paving stones (buried under soil) - I was sure I had put netting down before laying the stones so I was confused. After no movements, I used the rake to break up the mound of compacted clay and mixed it with the sand. Then some heeling down to pack the sand before replacing the pot (it does have a function where rain water from the roof drops down into that pot rather than the rest of the run) before raking the rest of the run. At least the girls will have something to scratch now.

For a whole week there has been no holes dug - either I've accidentally killed or trapped the rodents in their nest under the paving or they had already gone (or maybe hibernating?) but there has been no sign of them since, fingers crossed.

Mornings are now getting lighter earlier but now and again like Friday, can stay dark for longer when cloudy and raining. That doesn't stop the girls from demanding to be let out anyway LOL. A couple of times this week I have had to put the camping lights on in the main run while I cleaned out their coops. The amount of soil bedding is building up as I've not been to the allotment plot since .... Boxing day. Daily egg numbers are crashing but they are still laying - from an average 4 eggs a day to 1 or 2 a day. I wondered if the cold weather might have had an impact rather than light levels.

Meanwhile Scary the Bluebelle is looking smart in her new coat and all the other girls are looking well. It occurred to me that all have them now have fluffy bums - something I never thought I'd ever see. Even Pearl has stopped pecking the back/tail feathers from the other 2 White Stars so for the first time there is peace among the flocks. And despite lower egg numbers, the main layers seem to be the older girls - I started to notice the egg colours were veering towards shades of brown rather than white (I have had the White Stars for 16 months so it could be they are slowing down for winter while the others are just carrying on as normal) Just as well because I have fewer customers at the moment.
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sandy
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

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Ratties seem to be appearing everywhere at the moment }hairout{ Great to hear from The Spice girls, its funny isnt it I had to go to my girls at 5.00 am the other day and they were up!
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

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Ratties are appearing everywhere, maybe it's the cold weather bringing them out.

If you have legions of fluffy bums, get some pics up! I would love to see a collection of Spice Girls and White Ladies lovely bloomers.

My girls are so lazy, they aren't even up before 9am these days! They all take after their mum :-D
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
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
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Re: LL's chicken keeping adventures

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi my girls are amixed bag .Some up at 4.30am Waiting for me .Other girls are only up when the sun is high. Same with the boys Lav is up first (3.00am has been known ) Champ replies later .Parker is so laid back does not start work till well late . All the boys are watching the girls now with eager attentions (weither they want it or not ) especially at the mud bathing area . New way of ambushing them .
Bob

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