Soft shelled eggs

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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby Marigold » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:25 am

There's always a first time, and it doesn't do to assume it won't be your birds next, as Rick's unhappy experience has proved today. "What they would do if a fox made a concerted effort to get at them" is to die a painful and terrifying death, or at least be injured and shocked. Rick was lucky to hear the commotion and get out there in time to save all but one of them.
As for the good layers, top of my lists is Columbian Blacktail. Nice neat little golden brown birds with perky black tails and lay very large brown eggs for their small size, almost every day for a long time. Also excellent are Leghorns or leghorn hybrids, who lay beautiful large white eggs and are gorgeous birds, again quite small in proportion to egg size. They are rather flighty so need some high perches in their run and are not the best for people who like to cuddle their chickens, but go on - and on- and on!
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby EWROBERTS41 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:49 pm

Hi Everybody,

A sad day today!! All my girls went to a retirement home yesterday. It was strange this morning not going to let them out and watching them dive into their breakfast. The lady that keeps the 'home' tries to rehome them. They go to places like hospices and other institutions so its not all bad news. Now I have to clean the coop and the run ready for my next batch . I use Poultry Shield to disinfect the coop. Is there anything else that I should be doing to make sure that everything is as clean as possible before I get the new ones. It will take me a couple of weeks to get everything sorted. Marigold mentioned Leghorn hybrids. I have looked on line at various breeders but non mention leghorns. Do they go by another name as I understand a lot do?
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby rick » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:17 pm

I think 'Whitestar' are the classic Leghorn hybrid but lean, flighty and laying 300ish white eggs a year probably indicates a lot of Leghorn too.
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby Marigold » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:31 am

Yes my white leghorn hybrid was sold as a White Star, but I also have a brown leghorn hybrid who is a beautiful bird, with a deep golden ruff of feathers which glows in sunlight over a body of darker brown-gold. She's now 4 years old and still lays white eggs very regularly. My oldest bird is a purebred Cream Legbar, now 6+ years, a very pretty little bird, still laying 2-3 gorgeous blue eggs per week and has never gone broody. Proper purebred CLBs are hard to find, as there are so many Legbar hybrids, but I would have another one any time if I could find one.
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby 3441sussex » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:44 am

Harepathstead Poultry sell hybrid leghorns. http://www.harepathsteadpoultry.co.uk.
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby dinosaw » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:49 am

Sorry to be a pedant about this but "White Star" are white leghorns, 100% white leghorns, no other breed involved at all, just a lot of selective breeding to produce a smaller bird with better laying characteristics.
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby Marigold » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:37 pm

Thanks for that,dino, yes of course you're right. My White Star is actually about 2/3 the size of my brown leghorn hybrid and lays a very bright pure white egg. The brown bird also lays a white egg but when you put them together its like the typical Persil advert, so although they're both white I can always tell which girl has actually laid which egg!
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby EWROBERTS41 » Sun May 14, 2017 11:18 am

Hi Everybody,
Its been nearly a month now since my girls went to to the retirement home. I have been cleaning the coop out ready for my next lot, using Poultry Shield. When I go into the coop I seem to get creepy crawlies all over my head and face but I cannot see anything on me. I have given the coop three goes with the Poultry Shield. Can anyone throw any light on this. I remember the lady at the retirement home telling me that they had a few mites on the girls which I couldn't see. If they had mites, surely the Poultry Shield should have sorted them out buy now after three treatments unless I have something else. I do not want to get new hens until I get this sorted out. HELP
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby rick » Sun May 14, 2017 1:39 pm

Hi EW,

There are very few 'critters' that might be in a coop and be a problem that are invisibly small. Of course, it depends whether, like me, you need your glasses on to see them. But after a month empty there shouldn't be anything in there that relies on chickens for survival - even the worm eggs will have probably failed by now.
Are they little spiders I wonder or webs? They can be very small and get in your hair if they are around. Tiny gnats? If its spiders or gnats the chickens will soon sort them out.
I wonder if the liberal dosings with poultry shield is producing an airborne irritant? I haven't used it - seems unlikely that it would be an environmental irritant in that way.
I bet its a spider boom as there are no hens to keep them in check.
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Re: Soft shelled eggs

Postby Marigold » Sun May 14, 2017 1:44 pm

Poultry Shield is an excellent disinfectant, but it won't kill redmites. You'll have to use something stronger, which is specifically for mites. And I think redmites can survive for much longer than one month, sorry to disagree, Rick, especially at this time of year, which is prime time for infestations.
But Rick is quite right to say you need to know what you've got, in order to deal with it. Have a look at this link to Poultrykeeper, which has some pics to help you. https://poultrykeeper.com/red-mite/
What sort of coop do you have? The problem is that mites will hide away, and lay their eggs, in every small nook and cranny where two surfaces come into contact, and also they get underneath roofing felt, if this is used. One of the advantages of plastic coops is that they can be taken apart for a really good pressure wash of all the surfaces, followed by a spray with suitable insecticide or a dusting with redmite powder, such as Smite. If you have a wooden coop, its not usually possible to do this completely, and you may need to rely on several coats of good oldfashioned creosote.
The most powerful method of control, albeit highly toxic, is a spray called FICAM-W. This will sort out the mites, although some may still survive if deep under a protective roof or in a crevice. It's OK to use if you do it carefully on a fine day, keep all children and animals away, wear a mask yourself, wash your clothes after, and dry the coop in sunlight. Should be more easily possible if the coop is currently empty as there are no birds waiting to use it that night.
Whatever method you use, be prepared for further outbreaks a few days later, as the next batch of deeply-hidden eggs hatch out. It's a tedious process, doing everything again, - and again - but well worth it if you can get things cleared up. Complete eradication is practically impossible, especially in summer, but when you've at least reduced the infestation to just a few lingering mites, and got your new birds, you could give them a few drops of Red Stop in the drinking water. This is a harmless organic herbal mixture which makes the hens' blood taste nasty to the mites, so they starve and gradually die off. More effective on a few remaining ones than on a bad infestation, but well worth a try.
Once cleared, the best way to keep things clean is to have a roof on an enclosed run. Not only does this make the run much more pleasant in winter conditions - no mud - but it means that wild birds cannot get in, shake their feathers, and transmit fresh redmites which will reinfest run and chickens. I have a covered run and have never had any mites at all, although the run is under trees and lots of birds do perch and preen on the roof.
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