Florence and the snake

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chrismahon
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Florence and the snake

Post by chrismahon » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:05 am

The European Whip Snakes have hatched and the little ones, about 9" long, are wandering about. Florence, a free ranging 8 year old TNN, found one and stupidly tried to eat it. I noticed her shaking her head violently and backing away- a closer look and she had its tail in her beak and two coils of it squeezing around her neck. She let go and managed to shake it off seeming none the worse for her encounter. Perhaps in retrospect letting the TNN's free range wasn't a brilliant idea, as they also argue about the nest box and find other places to lay.

Now they are pigging out on figs which is making a real mess of their digestion and consequently their bottom feathers!
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rick
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by rick » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:20 pm

Thats a brilliant defense against being eaten!
Its pears on the menu here - the wind today knocked lots off the tree.
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chrismahon
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by chrismahon » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:21 am

I remember one of our chickens getting drunk on fallen pears Rick. Apparently there is natural yeast on the skin which ferments with the sugars in the fruit and the tiny amount of alcohol is enough. She was standing motionless in the garden just staring at nothing and then staggered a lot when she tried to walk- fine next day, by which time we had removed all the 100's of fallers. We've found fallen fruit is a constant problem and chickens are best kept away from fruit trees. It's either ruined digestive flora cause by natural sugars, or digestive impactions from eating cherry or damson stones- cherries will eventually shift but damsons certainly won't. In England I cut down our damson trees so we didn't loose any more chickens, a process made very complicated as we were in a conservation area, the trunks exceeded 7cm diameter and we needed written permission after a Council visit to the site.
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by MrsBiscuit » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:19 am

Goodness me; you do take the chook's welfare very seriously Chris, an example to us all. I haven't ever encountered side effects from fallen fruit, perhaps our lot were either less greedy or less quick on the uptake about what constitutes a nice snack. The snake experience sounds a bit worrying though, are you going to have to do something, or let Nature take its course?
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chrismahon
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by chrismahon » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:11 pm

We moved the little snake to an area where the TNN's don't roam Mrs Biscuit- nasty little thing. We managed to get a plastic container over it and slide a piece of card underneath. We've already had one TNN die after eating a whole lizard -she recovered from a very upset stomach and partial paralysis then 2 weeks later had a fit, which we presume was due to toxins either remaining in her system or organ damage due to them. I'd say on balance this is quite a dangerous environment for chickens.

Yes, we do take their welfare seriously. After all, we brought them to France for a better life which on the whole they have had, but we've still made some mistakes unfortunately. Vet treatment is pretty much unavailable here so it's prevention rather more than cure. The only trip was Basil's first and last as at 8 ½ years he was certainly on a fast road downhill after a fall on a slippery mat actually resulted in a collapse of his immune system, although he had no infection. Nice vet found completely by accident after taking our dog for her rabies shot and a pet passport- essential for trips to Spain. Very compassionate young girl who speaks good English.

A very good secure enclosure, shelter from the West wind, well ventilated waterproof coops, good run drainage and shade from the sun are all essentials here.
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by MrsBiscuit » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:02 pm

That's interesting about the lizard and the snake Chris, as you probably know I don't have any chickens here but the challenges you face would be similar to mine should I start again, and although I think the heat is the major issue, the new and unfamiliar predators are something else which slightly puts me off. We have the occasional mongoose, lizards, snakes and raptors, not to mention the neighbourhood dogs which all roam. 99% of the time they are sweet mutts, but I don't suppose they consider chickens as anything other than food.
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rick
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by rick » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:06 pm

The greatest danger from these pears, Chris, is one falling on your head. They are like mini cannonballs and even a diligent chicken can only peck through half a day! But they do go squishy and brown after a good bruising so Ive been chucking those ones out.
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by Icemaiden » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:50 pm

chrismahon wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:11 pm
We moved the little snake to an area where the TNN's don't roam Mrs Biscuit- nasty little thing.
That's no way to talk about Mrs Biscuit!!! :-)10
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
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chrismahon
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by chrismahon » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:32 am

I didn't phrase that too well Icemaiden and was , of course, referring to the snake.

We have apples falling into the bantams enclosure and have had some near misses Rick. I suppose we should have put a net over it.

Stray dogs are a major problem in France and also hunting dogs, although hunting is generally well organised. They are not supposed to be within 150 metres of a dwelling without the owner's permission- something completely ignored where we were in the Dordogne when dogs broke into our enclosure and ate Lottie and blinded Lucy, both Cream Legbars. They left all the others alone so it must be down to the colouring. We also lost a Brown Leghorn to the neighbour's rescue (ex-hunting usually) dogs. Since we left there we have had no problems. Buzzards are kept away by the low trees here but previously we used tripod posts and washing line to disrupt potential flight paths.
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Re: Florence and the snake

Post by MrsBiscuit » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:17 am

I hadn't even noticed!!

My SIL lives in France and sometimes has to return dogs which have strayed to a neighbour about a km away. Once it was a young pup, who shouldn't have been out, and a few weeks ago it was apparently the biggest dog on the planet, which was very thin. When the owner came to get it she asked if they wanted it, to which my SIL rather tartly replied that they already had a dog, thank you very much.
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