Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

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Maisie23
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Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

Well, hell in a handcart. Am speechless. Got a phone call at 9am this morning, farmer is turfing out all chickens, be there or be square.....

Never ever thought it was that cut throat but we were ready, thank goodness, I quickly threw some straw in the dog carry cage, grabbed a towel and off we went!

Long story short, arrived home with three terrified, stock still chooks, quickly picked them out of the cage and put them into the hen house. Food and water outside but in view. Never even got a look at them apart from being surprised at how many feathers they had.

That was at 12 noon. No sound for half an hour, then a few bangs and scrabbles. At 1pm Jemima poked her head out. She came out very gingerly, seeing her crane her neck to look at the sky actually brought tears to my eyes.

Fast forward another hour and Marjory stuck her neck out, then just jumped! By then Jemima was scratching and looking at a worm like it was an alien.

Fast, fast forward to three hours later, after lots of banging, scratching and chook sounds, Dottie appeared, preceded by ALL of the bedding!

So many points to mention but firstly, they all have so many feathers, Jemima is the most plucked, mostly tail and top of breast. Marjory is nearly full feathered, few bald patches, Dottie is in between.

They are already showing personalities- Jemima is the brave Street kid who is actually bottom of the pecking order, Marjory is biggest and most vocal who goes with her own thing, and Dottie, last out, is so totally top hen, by far.

Managed to get leg rings on Jem and Marj before dark but Dot learned that running under the hen house saved her from being picked up. Shall grab her tomorrow, I will not be out smarted!

Hubby is now showing his softer side and struggled to clip the rings on while I held them (yep I did some kissing too) frightened to hurt them I think.

Anyhoo, nobody went to bed on time, I just came in to post on here and two we're still out, hubby has checked since I came onto the pc and locked them in for the night.

New day tomorrow and you just know I won't sleep!

Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

Copied and pasted my post from last night to get the chicken diary started, now to today!

I'm an early riser but I practically bounced out of bed the moment my eyes opened this morning.

I went straight out to the chooks and opened the pop hole, filled the water feeders and put the feed containers back in. No sign of any predator attention over night, all as it should be.

Dottie peered out within seconds and made an unflattering exit, missing the ramp slightly and then scrambling to rearrange herself into a lady like state.

She headed for food and water which was a relief (they didn't eat or drink much yesterday just seemed to overload on grit)

Jemima followed soon after, unfortunately Dottie has been pecking and chasing her ever since, poor Jem. No feathers pulled out or injuries just constant bullying. Horrible to watch but I stayed out of it. I'm going to search the forum for advice on handling this.

Marjory has yet to surface, she was first to bed last night so I think we have a snoozy bird in Marj.

I haven't checked for eggs yet, I want to wait until Marj comes out so I don't startle her.

Updates and hopefully some photos to follow!
Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

[imgImage][/img]mm

Marjory, Jemima and Dottie

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Three fluffy bottoms

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I hastily put some more food down (in a rather fetching Pyrex lid I never use) to try and limit the bullying. Once Marjory came out, Dottie lost a bit of interest in Jemima and turned on Marj but Marj was having none of it and stood up for herself or just ignored Dottie and stood her ground. A lot calmer now thank goodness.

I still can't believe how many feathers they have! I was mentally prepared for oven readies. One of the chaps bringing them out said it really plucks at his heart strings seeing people rescuing the hens after they have been marked for slaughter, I felt quite sorry for him really.
Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

Forgot to add, this afternoons project for the hubby is to hang the feeders in the pen, I shall be ditching the small feeders/drinkers in the photos because by they don't have hooks and as you can see they are getting filled with pea gravel from all the scratchin!

Dottie has just been having a vocal argument with next doors Yorkshire terrier, made me really giggle {rofwl}
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Mo
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Mo »

And so it begins. You are in for an exciting time.

Maisie23 wrote:
Managed to get leg rings on Jem and Marj before dark but Dot learned that running under the hen house saved her from being picked up. Shall grab her tomorrow, I will not be out smarted!


I wouldn't bother, if the other 2 have rings you can tell Dot by lack of ring. Or if you must, at least wait for a while till she knows you as a source of treats before you try to pick her up. If I needed to pick mine up I found dusk was a good time, when they were perching and settled, but before it was too dark to see what I was doing.

Maisie23 wrote:Forgot to add, this afternoons project for the hubby is to hang the feeders in the pen, I shall be ditching the small feeders/drinkers in the photos because by they don't have hooks and as you can see they are getting filled with pea gravel from all the scratchin!
}

If the feeders are for food maybe you could punch a hole in the top and thread a knotted loop of cord (bailer twine) through. If drinkers that would make them leak I think, but you could stand them on something.
Good idea to have them off the ground - keeps them clean from poo as well as gravel.
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KarenE
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by KarenE »

Excellent! A new diary, and photos too! )t'

Congratulations on becoming an official mad chicken keeping lady. Badge on its way :-D You can join the rest of us, we're all bad here but some are worse than others (Bob and Sandy, I'm looking at you! +f+ )

It sounds like they are being relatively well behaved. A bit of chasing and pecking is par for the course, and you'll see it until they've settled their pecking order which from the sounds of it will be soon. Bullying is when they gang up on one hen, or get on top of it or draw blood.. It is horrible to see and needs stopping (a water pistol is good, especially straight in the face or up the bum) but yours sounds perfectly normal.

As you've found out, you need more than one source of food and water and in fact I would be tempted to put 3 seperate dishes of each out (you can always remove 1 when they are settled). The dominant hens will protect food & water, particularly the top hen if she is especially stroppy, so this makes sure that the lower ranked hens can have a chance to eat & drink peacefully as the other hens can't cover all the food & water. And place them as far apart around the run as you can - again stops the dominant hens from covering them all easily.

If you can't hang them, put them up on bricks. It won't only be pea gravel that ends up in them on the floor. Chickens are very messy.

I've never bothered with rings, I've only kept 3 or 4 hens at a time. You will be surprised how easily you come to recognise your girls, they will all have their unique features. If I had a big flock like Bob I might be tempted - so basically don't sweat Dottie not having a ring. I've never been able to easily pick any of my girls up, they really don't like it. You may find they do a funny crouching movement as you bend to pick them up - again perfectly normal, this means they are submitting to the cockeral to do his thing, and is a good indicator that they are in lay.

They look in smashing condition )t' Do they have that funny factory smell? This will soon go. Do you know what type of hens they were ie caged/barn/free range?

Enjoy your whole weekend watching them - they'll fascinate you! If you can, put a chair into their run and let them get used to you. They will turn into such friendly and curious creatures, you'll be amazed. Hubby and I were only talking about this yesterday - when we first decided to get chickens, we thought it would be lovely to have them doing their thing round the garden. We had no idea they would be such naughty, curious, smart, affectionate characters!
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, Willow and Mango
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

Gosh I simply don't know where to start!

In short, I have wasted a whole weekend chook watching :-D I now have a chair in the pen and I have been sitting with them for hours, literally six hours yesterday morning!

They have all settled so quickly I'm truly amazed. They seem to have sorted out the pecking order, Dottie at the top, then Marjory then Jemima. I'm astounded at how individual their personalities are too.

Dottie is boss lady and remains quite scared of humans. She also spooks easily (today it was a motorbike going by and she fled undercover at a surprising speed) She loudly announces her egg laying endeavours, appearing at the pop hole and clucking bugarrp over and over, very convenient for me so I can collect the egg before it gets dirty or trampled. She is the only one who pecks at the others so I'm confident she's not a bully, just asserting her authority.

Marjory is quite lazy, the only one to go to bed at dusk so far, last up and she even had a snooze in the sunshine against the warm brick wall this afternoon. It was hilarious watching her head bobbing as she nodded off {rofwl}

Jemima is the sweetest hen, she runs to the pen door when I approach and is very nearly eating out of my hand. I didn't want to have a favourite but she is in the worst condition of the three and bottom of the pecking order, it's so hard to not favour her.

They are all eating and drinking lots, Dot and Marj tend to eat a lot in one sitting whereas Jem eats little but often. I'm surprised at the number of worms they have scratched up, initially they didn't know what to do with them but now after only two days they have mastered the art of worm swallowing. Flies are a source of total bewilderment, Dot nearly twisted her neck off and wobbled over when one flew in her face!

We have had two eggs per day so far, I offered the first two back to them scrambled but they didn't seem to be interested, I suppose they just didn't recognise them as food.

Overall I am just in awe at how inquisitive and adaptable they are, their combs are already getting darker and I'm pretty sure I can see feather regrowth too. I'm shaking their afternoon mixed corn in the scoop and already you can see their heads shoot up, recognising the sound.

Our fellow chicken keeper friends came round yesterday afternoon to meet our new additions so I spent a good few hours picking their brains, got lots of advice and reassurance that we are doing everything right so far. They have rescued 20 ex batts over the years and had four from the same batch as ours. They also brought their two daughters with them who dutifully spent the afternoon digging for worms to throw in the pen. Seeing a 4 and 5 year old confidently picking up the chooks and putting them to bed last night was something quite special too!

Thats all I have time for today, I'm going straight back to my favourite chair to enjoy a cuppa with the ladies )t'
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

Oops, before I go - I'm not sure if they were caged or barn birds, definatley not free range, it's a bit wimpy but I sort of don't want to know, the image of it my head is too distressing {cry}
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sandy
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by sandy »

Hello Maisie )wav(
Welcome to chickenitus :-D Ah I remember the absolute joy of getting my first hens and it still continues whenever I add to the Pink Ladies.
You have certainly done your homework and have received plenty of excellent advice. I have to say I hate plastic feeding bowls and use the very heavy weight dog bowls which the girls cannot kick over.
I have enjoyed reading your diary and look forward to future entries.
Regarding whether your girls are barn or free range they are now going to be living as real chickens. I have rescued ex batties, barn and free range and beleive me the free range were not in a good state at all. Martha-Joans had so few feathers and no neck feathers at all. The trouble is with free range is there are usually 20k which is okay in the days in the field but they all have to sleep together in sheds in the night quite tightly packed in and now you girls will think they have state bedrooms )t'
I am sure when Jem,Marj and Dots have settled in they will be needing a communication device +f+
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/
Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

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Our first taste of home grown eggs, utterly scrumptious! The difference in yolk colour in just a few days is incredible.

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Who needs a custom made dust bath?

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Dottie leads the way on dust bathing! With Jemima watching closely for tips :-D

You can see the bald patches, all three have them at the base of their neck? I wonder why there?

It's a right game getting them in the coop each night, my giggling doesn't help I'm sure, I'll be pleased when they start doing it themselves.

I just can't tell you how much I love these girls already, such adorable characters, I am so pleased we took the plunge.

I do think I may be in trouble when hubby does the monthly accounts, I just spent £101 at the BHWT online shop yike* ALL essential stuff of course {rofwl}
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Mo
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Mo »

Maisie23 wrote:
In short, I have wasted a whole weekend chook watching :-D I now have a chair in the pen and I have been sitting with them for hours, literally six hours yesterday morning!


Fancy that. You do surprise me!
Nothing like it, is there?


Maisie23 wrote:We have had two eggs per day so far, I offered the first two back to them scrambled but they didn't seem to be interested, I suppose they just didn't recognise them as food.


Most households it's a fight which human gets that precious first egg - you really are besotted, giving them back

Maisie23 wrote:I'm shaking their afternoon mixed corn in the scoop and already you can see their heads shoot up, recognising the sound.


Doesn't take them long. Soon it will be the sound of the kitchen door that has them running

Maisie23 wrote:Thats all I have time for today, I'm going straight back to my favourite chair to enjoy a cuppa with the ladies )t'

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sandy
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by sandy »

Aw bless them, I love it when they do a dustbath , well just anywhere. They have the rescue hens pallor and combs and the smell I expect, just wait for the change, it will be amazing )t'
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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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi neck feathers might be sign they have/had stopped laying . farmers get rid of them then and restock.
They do pull out themselves for extra vit`s.
It is not a case of neglect that they are featherless , When you get to see them moult after getting all the feathers back , you will understand . probably go and get jumpers for them . Sun tan lotion on the skin . Think something is wrong .
What I do not get is wild birds are the same yet you do not see naked wild birds sitting on branches waiting to grow more feathers.
How many chickens needed re homing and did they all go or end up in the food chain.
Bob
Maisie23
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Maisie23 »

They had people signed up to rehome a few hundred hens I believe, not had an email update yet, we didn't really get a chance to find out much on the day as it was a mad scramble and we just wanted to get the girls home and settled in the quiet. The lady from the local animal charity who organised it took a van load, we paid £1 per hen and were asked to give a donation too.

The farmer wouldn't let any volunteers into the barn so the staff were actually bringing them out, the charity lady said there were about 8000 hens on site and that this was a small farm!

I have no idea if all 8000 were destined for slaughter, I can't bear the thought of it and I'm now wishing we had made the pen and coop triple the size so we could have taken more. There was a huge lorry on site and it flashed through my mind that any left behind were going to be going on their last journey very shortly {cry}
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Re: Shucks! chooks!! Jemima, Marjory and Dottie

Post by Cheshire Chick »

Absolutely wonderful that you have rescued these girls. I can guarantee you will be hooked for life. Your photo's are amazing - they look so happy already in their lovely new home. Welcome to the mad, comical, wonderful world of chicken keeping.

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