Our Hen Adventure

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KatieW90
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by KatieW90 »

The fox has been creeping around the field next door for two nights in a row now. Last night the girls were already in bed, but tonight I was stood right there watching them and saw him coming in the corner if my eye. He wasn't bothered by me at all until I shouted at him. The girls had no idea but were quickly rounded up and safely tucked into bed. I think we need to invest in some sort of fox deterrent ^b:
*Katie*

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kitla
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by kitla »

That's scary, once it knows they are there it will probably come back. Best to only let them out while you're able to keep an eye out for the time being, and make sure it cant dig into the run - a mesh "skirt" will help with this. Apparently male urine puts them off, something to do with the testosterone smell, so get the men of the house - and any male dogs to water your garden boundary (just make sure no one is looking!)
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Willow
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by Willow »

Hiya, just check & double check your coop and run for 'fox safety' ... Think like a fox - clever, determine and very agile! I don't know what type of coop you have but check whether any of the boards underneath are loose too (foxes will get in if they can).
If you've seen a fox about, he will be trying to get to your girls X
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KatieW90
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

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The fox has come back every day day now yike* I think we'd seen it once or twice in our two years of living here and now he's back everyday. The girls' house has been thoroughly tested and I'm confident they're safe, but I still don't like the thought of it.

The girls were the centre of attention when we had visitors this weekend and enjoyed every minute of it. Mellow even fell asleep of someone's lap, which isn't like her at all - she's usually not keen on even being held. They were all fed a bit of a burger though when I wasn't looking {warn} they seemed to like it though so no harm done!

After the poor geraniums had been eaten we've had to get a little picket fence put up around the boarders to keep the girls out. Seems to be working so far and keeping the plants safe, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they find a way over it and wade through the gladioli again!

Sweetie has firmly taken her place at the top of the pecking order and I had hoped they'd all stay as calm as they have been, but lately Peep has started pecking at the others. She was really timid and I was worried about her the first few days we got her but she's so confident and lively now. It's mostly Mellow who's getting pecked now. Yesterday she was picked on by all the others and it's so sad. Even Dolly and Lolly joined in and they're usually very quiet.

All seems to be forgotten at bed time though and they're still sleeping all piled on top of each other in the corner!
*Katie*
KatieW90
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

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Image

The cat has now started trying to join in with the girls when they're playing in the garden. Although she doesn't look too impressed with them in this photo!

(Peep, Mellow and Lolly)
*Katie*
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p.penn
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by p.penn »

Hi Katie, for some reason only just caught up with this thread! How lovely that you have started chicken keeping, and with ex batts too!

Re the fox, if you place paving slabs round the perimeter of the run, the fox won't be able to dig in, as they would dig right next to the mesh. It's not too pricey to do, and really worth it. I live surrounded by fields, and have fixed living nearby, but (touch wood) never had any problems. They can squeeze through very small spaces though, so just be vigilant.

Lovely pics of your girls, it sounds like they are doing really well!
Helen xx

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KatieW90
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

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The girls have had a really busy weekend last week, having a very big extension built for their house!

With the fox coming so close I wasn't happy with them being in the garden at all unsupervised, so they would end up with a lot less time out that we'd originally planned. So it only seemed fair to give them a bigger home and bigger run, when they can wander around more but still be safe.

It's now big enough for me to stand it, more weather proof with a much sturdier roof as well.

The girls seem to love it, but still haven't worked out which panel is the door (even when it's open!)

We kept the inside 'bedroom' part the same so they'd still have somewhere familiar and gives an extra layer of protection at night. I also love seeing their little faces looking out of the window in the morning.

All the girls helped out and were very interested in what was going on in their garden.
The only problem is I think the change upset them. During the build Dolly (usually very calm but is the craziest when it comes to treats) kept trying to start a fight with Peep. She kept on at her all day and Sweetie (the leader )b( )had to keep intervening. The first night in the new house all went well and was calm. But come day two everyone has started picking on Dolly!

It's carried on for three days now and all of them just keep pecking at her. The poor thing keeps hiding inside to get away from it all and just looks so sad.

There's been no blood and I have seen them let her eat, so I'm hoping it will sort it's ourself out. My husbands been working from home to keep an eye on them luckily.
*Katie*
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sandy
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by sandy »

Ooh piccies of their new run please. If Dolly is eating and no blood keep them together, lucky they will have someone to keep an eye on them. Love the photo )like(
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bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi , It looks a bit rough but the idea is good .Put a pallet against the side or on bricks to raise of the ground .
1 it gives the bullied girls a chance to get up high or under it.
Gives extra space (mezzine floor and something to keep them occupied .
If you give them some TOYS the will have something else to do other than pick on the lowest .
A cabbage hanging from roof or a news paper with corn in , that sort of thing . It will not last long as they soon work out how to do things and get it done as quick as lightning .
Paper can be messy as they shred it up and spread it around. They can eat it as well .Not sure how dangerous that is ,have not heard any die from it though.
Bob
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bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Also a Card board box , make sure 2 holes in it as they can get stuck in it when it gets kicked about . Again climbing , getting in , hiding place .Easy to throw in dustbin and cheap to replace .(rabbit eats as well so works well in my runs.)
bob
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KarenE
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by KarenE »

Yes Bob's right, something to distract them and give Dolly a break. Something's possibly set off the pecking order again - someone has possibly decided Dolly should be bottom hen! Just a thought but have you checked her over in case there's anything lurking that shouldn't be? ie lice - the others may chase her off because they don't want them.

A run you can walk into is so much better for you, and obviously the more fox proof the better given your regular visitor. You'll be glad of it, especially in the winter when you're trying to poo pick in mud and snow. I'd strongly suggest you get a roof on it - those corrugated plastic sheets are good, but even a tarp would do. Again, you'll be thankful come winter. )t'
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KatieW90
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by KatieW90 »

Thanks Bob and Karen for the advice.

I tried some lettuce as a distraction tonight but it just got eaten! That was only by poking through the wire to peck at, so definitely need something a bit sturdier and find a way to hang the treats.

I'm hoping it was the new house that just upset the order because everyone's calming doen a bit today. Poor Dolly still spent most of the day in her bedroom though >eas1<
*Katie*
KatieW90
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by KatieW90 »

Image


Image

A couple of photos of the new house

It looks quite small in these though, but is actually quite roomy!
*Katie*
bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi it looks like a palace . Better than any cage or barn with 1000S in .
Do not worry , alearning curve .
Pecking order is what the label says .In a flock they have it and that is chickens . Spoil the bottom girlk when you get the chance and she will reward your time with a cuddle.
Bob
KatieW90
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Re: Our Hen Adventure

Post by KatieW90 »

The girls have been keeping us very busy lately and really enjoying their upgraded house and the warm weather. Mellows featherless head turned a bit pink one day so it's factor 50 on sunny days now and surprisingly they aren't bothered by it!

The fighting and picking on Dolly has really settled down and they all get along nicely now .ang.

I feel like they're starting to grow up and have moved on to normal pellets and try all treats we give them. Strawberries and tinned peaches are favourites and they liked a nice ice lolly on the really hot days (fruit and yoghurt low fat type lollies so hopefully not too bad!)

The fox problem is getting worse. The wire on one side of the house looks like it's been bitten and some of the wire in the floor outside has been dug up.

The other morning I let the girls out before work unaccompanied thinking they'd be safe, but the same time next morning I saw the fox lurking in the field next door. He doesn't miss anything! There were three foxes hanging around this morning when I went to let the girls into their run.

We ordered CCTV and fitted it this week so we can keep an eye on their house at night and when at work and press the alarm, so hopefully the noise will scare the fox away. It's only day 3 of the cameras being up so haven't seen anything other than cats yet, but I'm sure we'll get to test it out soon.
It's such a distraction at work, not only do I spend every minute at home with the girls, now I can watch them all day on their own chicken Big Brother )c(
*Katie*

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