The old virus overcomes me.

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Hen-Gen
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by Hen-Gen »

Probably irrelevant but it’s great to have stock that you can recognise individually as you can. When you have a bunch that all look the same it can be frustrating trying to pick out a particular individual.
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Marigold
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by Marigold »

I always choose them on that basis, HenGen, and also mainly because their eggs will all be individually different so I know who is or isn’t laying normally. And there are temperament differences between breeds which also adds to the interest. I do tend to choose leghorn or CLB hybrids rather than more sedate breeds as I like their slim and elegant lines. I have no desire to have birds that will get tame enough to cuddle, and in my setup I like them to be free to fly between perches and roost high up under the shelter of the roof, but out of the coop if they want to. It’s good to offer them three-dimensional space in a closed run, so they can use their wings.
Icemaiden
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by Icemaiden »

I was surprised, when I first started keeping ex-batts, to find that after a few weeks I could tell while eggs were whose. It is nice to know...
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LadyA
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by LadyA »

Hen-Gen wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:25 am
Probably irrelevant but it’s great to have stock that you can recognise individually as you can. When you have a bunch that all look the same it can be frustrating trying to pick out a particular individual.
I've always kept the little brown girls. If any one ever needs a particular eye kept on her, I put food colouring on her back, so I can see her at a glance.
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Sandrine
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by Sandrine »

Hen-Gen wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:25 am
Probably irrelevant but it’s great to have stock that you can recognise individually as you can. When you have a bunch that all look the same it can be frustrating trying to pick out a particular individual.
This is the "problem" I have - well not a problem per sé since I have re-named her now but we had 3 chicks which came out almost identical bar an apostrophe or speech marks on their head or runny mascara on one eye... The marks disappeared as they got their feathered heads. So we couldn't work out who was who anymore... Two of them were boys, they went to a new home, but no clue who we're left with so new name required. Ended up being Shelley as she's white with some eggshell colour in places...
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Marigold
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by Marigold »

Bingo!
One down, three to go!
Clever girl, Ash! 21 weeks!
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Icemaiden
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by Icemaiden »

LadyA wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:19 am
I've always kept the little brown girls. If any one ever needs a particular eye kept on her, I put food colouring on her back, so I can see her at a glance.
If only we could do that with humans! I've been "dyslexic " with names & faces my whole life. Pass the food colouring :-)
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
Margaid
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by Margaid »

Well done Ash!
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Marigold
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by Marigold »

I’ve got a problem with these new pullets.

The biggest one, a partridge leghorn called Ash, has developed into a large and beautiful bird with a powerful personality to match. She’s now laid every day for nearly three weeks. One of the others has been crouching for a similar time and all 3 have red combs but none of them have actually laid.
Willow, the little CLB hybrid, is the smallest one, and Ash is by now twice her size and weight. Ash persistently bullies Willow, will go over to her and peck her hard for no reason.

A few days ago, Willow went badly lame. I pretty sure this was as a result of Ash attacking her, and possibly pushing her off her perch at roosting time. They have the choice of roosting in the coop, or on a higher perch in a covered sheltered area, and they have always preferred this. Willow was always the first one to fly up to the perch and go to sleep. The other two would soon join her, but Ash would pace around for a long time, calling, until it got really dark and she also went up to join them. One night I was watching to see what went on, and I’m sure I saw Ash blundering around on the perch, climbing over the other pullets to get to Willow at the end, and knocking her off her perch. Being asleep, she didn’t have a chance to spread her wings and she fell heavily to the ground. Next morning she was lame, holding up her right leg and having much difficulty walking. I examined her but couldn’t find any evidence of a break or dislocation, so I hoped it was some kind of muscle strain and would gradually heal. I wondered about taking her to the vet, but I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that they could help with, since anaesthetics and X-rays on chickens are not really possible.

Since then, some days she has seemed to be making progress, is able to take some weight on it, but still spends much time sitting down, and only walking around when she has to. I’ve lowered the perch so she can just hop up on it at night, which she manages OK, but she can’t get up to the low perch overlooking the garden where the others sit, or she chooses not to, so she misses out on that social contact.
Because she is now so awkward and slow to move around, and can’t get out of the way when she sees trouble coming, Ash has stepped up her attacks and Willow just sits there and takes it, it’s heartbreaking to watch. Ash will chase her away from the communal food plate in the afternoon, which is why I’ve taken to giving Willow a separate portion in a sheltered area in her own and standing guard whilst she eats it. Willow is otherwise fine, eating and drinking, pooing OK, just not very mobile.
I know you have to leave chickens to sort out their own pecking order, but this has gone on for so long and is affecting Willow’s life so badly, that I would appreciate ideas about how to deal with it. I don’t think it’s going to settle down with time, as Ash is the undisputed boss, and the other two are happy to let her be the top hen, and Willow is certainly no challenge, just the reverse.
So, dear friends, I need advice. What would you recommend? This can’t go on for the next 3+ years!

Here are the options as I see it.

1) Take Willow to the vet. As I said, unlikely to be helpful as investigations difficult, and during any recovery time she would still be bullied by Ash. If she had to be isolated, eg if her leg was splinted, this would make her position within the flock even more difficult. Any treatment likely to be very expensive -I would manage this as she’s such a sweetie, but is a consideration.

2) Ask the breeder I got them from if she would take Ash back and swap her for a less dominant, smaller pullets, not yet in lay. In which case I would also buy another pullet to make introductions easier, although this shouldn’t be a big problem at this time of year with pullets not yet in lay. Then I would expect one of the other two original pullets to take on the top role, and both of them are quite friendly to Willow.

3) Cull Ash, to remove the problem, and get two more instead; very reluctant to consider this as she’s a beautiful, healthy young bird and a regular layer.

4) Cull Willow. Unthinkable.
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rick
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Re: The old virus overcomes me.

Post by rick »

I dont know if this helps but I have found that having a raised section of perch on each end with only enough room for one hen makes it so they cant shuffle up so the one on the end falls off - at least not once its dark. There are no walls at the ends of our perches but a hen on the raised section fills it up so the one next to them cant get feet up onto the same bit.
I still have to give things like mash for supper in two bowls or Pom doesn't get any. Could you make Ash roost in a separate place for a couple of weeks to give Willow some recovery time? - and maybe knock her down a peg Probably wont work but it may buy some time and even difficult situations seem to soften with enough time.
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