Egg question/general health

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Marigold
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by Marigold » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:59 pm

Making a damp warm mash at bedtime is a great idea, especially in winter when it helps keep them hydrated in freezing conditions. I add a few sunflower seeds and mixed corn, both of which are warming and the sunflower is high protein as well. In the depths of winter they go to roost by 4.00p.m. until 8.00 next morning, which is a long time without food or water if they haven't got full crops to start with. Of course you can make it either with pellets or mash, as they're basically the same stuff. As you say, the trouble with mash is the mess and the dust - I'm glad Barbie is better now, but I wonder if maybe she got a bit of dusty mash up her nose?
When they finish up the bag of pellets, you could try a different brand next time. If the ones you have aren't branded on the bag, they might prefer a brand such as Smallholder or Dodson and Horrell, which contain only highest-quality ingredients and no chemical additive4s or colourings. Maybe have another look at the thread where we recently discussed different brands? /see viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10525
I started my new girls on organic pellets, but am now back on Dodson and Horrell, which they seem to like better and have been laying well. It's also handy for me as I can pick up a bag at Pets at Home or get it delivered free if i buy £30 on the order.
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Tweetypie
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by Tweetypie » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:23 pm

I stole the idea of the damp mash from you ages ago, Marigold ;-) I recall you saying your hens liked it in winter. Mine seem to love it like that and I know they have a full crop at night as they gobble it up. Not sure about Barbie, as she had the sniffles and sneezes for nearly 2 weeks, plus the runny nose. I just thinking she had put her beak where it wasn't wanted, i.e. in the ant powder put down for the nest of ants in the border. I washed it away prompty, when I had a notion it could be the culprit... I currently use Allen and Page Smallholder layers crumble. I bought the pellets as they claimed to be high quality free range variety, with 18% protein, from a place where they breed and sell hens. It was actually more expensive (probably a ploy) LOL. The hens do eat it in the morning, when there is nothing else. When they have finally eaten all of it, I will buy another brand, as you suggested, but stick with mash aswell. I quite like the feeling of making their dinner.

I don't think that crumble I give them is efficient, as their shells were not as good when just fed on this, that's why I bought the high protein pellet.

Had 4 eggs today (I am stealing another idea of yours, marigold, by weighing them):

Cindy 74g (small for her)
Barbie 57g
Mabel 54g (catching up)
Miss Muffet 46g
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Marigold
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by Marigold » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:47 am

So Cindy is large/extra large, Barbie and Mabel are medium, and Miss Muffet is small at the moment but will probably get to medium by the autumn.
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by Icemaiden » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:58 pm

Hi Tweetypie.
If your girls like Smallholder crumb, they should be happy enough with Smallholder layers' pellets when they've finished their current bags of food. Smallholder pellets are smaller than most & will taste the same as their Smallholder crumb. As an added bonus, it's GM free.

All the best,
Icemaiden
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
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rick
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by rick » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:28 pm

Mine pretend that they don't like pellets too but the feeder holds about a weeks worth for them (by the time mash is factored in) and it routinely needs a refill at the weekend. They eat it when there is nothing better on offer and they think I'm not watching so the poor starving chicken act isn't worth performing!
Weighing hens fairly regularly is a good thing to do. I had a fright with Bonnie when I weighed her a couple of days ago because she seemed to be 2.8kg and that would have been a very bad sign for a Orpington (return of the chronic peritonitus would be the end of her) but I must have zeroed the scales wrong as she re-weighed at a healthy 3.5kg. Its a good early warning of something not right for various reasons though all my hens are quite different weights - its more of a check on what is normal for them individually.

This is the easiest way I have found of doing it. The perch is 640g and the kitchen scale range is 5kg so its good for weighing up to about 4.3kg. Pop them onto it quite quickly and they don't flap too much and stay on long enough for a reading.
IMG_20180820_225939.jpg
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Marigold
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by Marigold » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:02 am

Another of Rick's brilliant inventions!
It would be good to have a pic of Bonnie demonstrating ....
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rick
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by rick » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:16 am

3.7kg after breakfast.
IMG_20180821_082541_1_1.jpg
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Tweetypie
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by Tweetypie » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:12 pm

Oh Rick, that photo is priceless !! It has made my day :-) One of your inventions might make it to Dragons Den one day!!

I might try weighing them this weekend. I started to weigh their eggs, as marigold mentioned that she does this, which is a great idea.

The OH has blended half the sack of pellet, but I have warned him NOT to do the rest of it. It is so much easier, cleaner and less waste with the pellet. I don't mind giving them a crumble mash an hour or so before they go to sleep, as I must admit, it must be like we humans having a filling porridge. The birds must be stupid, as when I add water to the mash to make it like a crumble, they "woof" it down, like I have given them caviar :lol: :lol:
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Marigold
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Re: Egg question/general health

Post by Marigold » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:59 am

I wonder if the warm water releases the smell of the food? We know that chickens have extraordinary powers of eyesight and can see colours beyond our range, but I don't know what their sense of smell is like. However, it would be strange if it wasn't good, since it would be a second sense helping them to find suitable food, like any other animal. Dry pellets don't smell of anything much, but when damped, especially warm, they do smell much nicer.
I was looking back at my egg records and it's interesting to see each young bird gradually increasing egg weight as time has gone on this summer. After about a month, you may be able to see development in yours, TP, as well as who takes days off, and wen.
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