Where is everybody?

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Where is everybody?

Postby Margaid » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:26 pm

Not having any hens now I don't post all that often, but where is everyone?
No new posts since Thursday :(
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby valeriebutterley » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:39 am

could not have put it better myself.

Despite the continual rain here which is nasty for the Croads feet, and has turned the run into a sea of mud, mine appear to be thriving, loads of eggs.
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby chrismahon » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:46 am

Not unusual this time of year Margaid. Presume everyone is tucked up out of the cold and wet weather as we are. We did have a nice day for gardening yesterday though, which suddenly went 'pear shaped' when I noticed the central heating had packed up. Then the main electricity trip was knocked accidentally and just wouldn't reset. Tried to call out EDF but the phone was dead! Set up the generator with lots of extension leads and plugged in the freezers, the phone and a lamp to work on the boiler because the torches were flat as well! Two hours later and the boiler was fixed and heating restored, phone charged and no food lost. Then I tried the trip switch before phoning EDF only to find it was now reset and the electricity could be switched back on. Job for today is to drain all the fuel out of the generator and put it back into storage- we'll phone EDF on monday and see about getting their trip switch replaced, which has been irritatingly 'humming' a lot recently as well.

We lost two hens last week with seemingly similar symptoms of tiny poos, but in the end one had a heart problem and the other simply couldn't transfer properly digested food into fuel so she wasted away- no idea what the problem actually was but it could be genetic?
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby dinosaw » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:37 am

I always feel utterly fed up in February which stops me posting much. Starting to see some of the chickens come back into lay now, good old Thuringians were the last to stop and have been the first to start back up.
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby Marigold » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:34 pm

I'm really fed up with buying eggs, whilst still cleaning up the poo and buying sacks of food to keep my hens eating their heads off whilst not producing any eggs. Surely they should be working for a living by now, if they're going to? Even a token egg now and then would be welcomed. Am seriously thinking about culling the lot, giving the run and coop a massive spring clean, and then going shopping. ATM I have 2 hybrids aged 3, one aged 4, one aged 6, and little Nutmeg, who is a 7-year-old purebred CLB kept for sentimental reasons. Getting about 2 per week from the younger Leghorn hybrid ( the one with the pooey bottom problem) and nothing from the others. Yes I expect there will be a few more eggs within a month, but I do need a steady 3+ per day, preferably not misshapen from ageing hybrids! I've always tried to manage a small flock of up to 5-6 hens by getting a pair of newbies every couple of years, hoping one or two will die naturally over the winter to compensate, but they seem to live such long and healthy lives that inevitably I get stuck with a flock of useless pensioners. Being a useless pensioner myself, I sympathise. Trouble is, I make up my mind to the sensible course of action, then go down to see them and they're all looking so pretty and happy and healthy that my heart relents... Somebody please give me some good bracing advice on this one!
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby chrismahon » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:19 pm

We're struggling with eggs as well Marigold. We started buying from a local farm but they keep French Cou-Nu which feel the cold and stop laying over Winter. Tried Bio (organic) from the supermarket but they were terrible quality, so then went to 'Label Rouge' free-range eggs which are expensive. The French hide cage eggs well- they only need to put a tiny no.3 on the box which I certainly can't read without glasses. 0- Bio, 1- Free Range, 2- Barn and 3- Cage if anyone comes over for a camping holiday.

So from our remaining 20 hens we are now getting one every three days from 'Sweetie', a French buff orpington and one every 4 days from Daisy, a brown English Leghorn bantam we bred- that's it! Miranda, our last remaining Marans stopped crowing and laid three eggs between Christmas and New Year, then stopped and started crowing again. They are all 'pets', so no issues of 'abattage' here.

The chicken poo is an essential element here. The land is terribly depleted due to cropping hay for 20 years and putting nothing back. I've been digging out brambles and thorny bushes for months now. The chickens generate 2 tons of compost a year which we will spread- hopefully in a few years the land will be good enough for grass cutting sheep. The area the chicken were going is so bad that we can't put them on it- needs rotorvating over repeatedly and then seeding.
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby rick » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:16 pm

I thought you got a Whitestar not that long ago Marigold. But then time flies...
My Blacktail (3) is sitting on the nest daily so there must be some eggy sensations gong on but has not laid one since October. The young CLBs have been giving us 2 a day between them for the past month. No action from Bonnie the Orp except eating.
Really noticing the change in daylight hours now in the morning - and we have a bit of sunshine, mixed with gales of freezing sleet!
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby Evie » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:56 pm

Eight 2-year old bantams in the garden of which 1 or 2 already laying again.
Twelve 2-4-year large fowl hens on the field of which half already laying again. Actually, make that more than half as one is a cockerel :lol:

Very happy to keep my hens if they stopped laying, they've done their bit, I've always kept my older girls until they dropped off their perch or became seriously ill and were given a gentle helping (relieving) hand. A friend of mine has an 11 year old hen, which I take as a challenge to see if I can keep one going (in good health) for at least as long 0:-)

I check the forum every day but have nothing to report :?: I read some facebook groups, too, but some of the stupidities on there are just beyond belief (e.g. I know you can't eat a hen's first eggs, so from when can you eat them? :mrgreen: h)
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby Hen-Gen » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:59 pm

I hate to tell you how my hens are performing in these cold, dark northern climes but would like to say two things.

1) the relevant thing in my experience is day length.. Hens seem to be totally unconcerned about weather or temperature when it comes to laying.

2) I can't stress enough the importance of roof lights in a shed or coop. I don't know whether it's moonlight or whether hens are sensitive to light at very early in the morning before our eyes can detect it. (By roof light I mean like Velux windows, not electric lights).

But my hens are laying, and have done at 66% of normal rates all winter and I stress hens not pullets. Now I must confess to a re-enactment of The Island of Dr Moreau in that my hens are tri- hybrids derived from a fusion of Columbian Wyandottes, Australorps and Barred Rocks. This is why I am critical of most modern breeds and the associated inbreeding that underlies them.
Last edited by Hen-Gen on Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where is everybody?

Postby bigyetiman » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:25 pm

Having had the privilege of meeting you Marigold you are anything but a useless pensioner
Our girls are laying well even the older ones came back into lay early January. We had a hailstone blizzard just before 5pm most unpleasant did the girls want to go to bed no way, it's very exciting watching a human shivering and wet whilst you hunt for a grub or 2.
February can be one of the worst months of the winter I find. But at least on a sunny day the skylarks are in full song and a few other birds are getting into spring mode.
No strange tales from the bus, so I must be due a good story soon, especially as it's half term this week.
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