Tuesday, 28 September 2010

26th,27th and 28th September

Sunday was uneventful, Bramble was a bit better, but I kept the newbies separate so they didnt get harrassed.  I got two eggs but I wasnt sure who laid them so I had to throw them away. :o(
Monday 27th  I segregated Bramble (who's much better) behind a wire fence so the eggs wouldn't get muddled, but she didn't lay an egg, I got one from both Belle and Alice though. I took the syringe out to give Bramble her jab, and had to chase her round the run, not much wrong with her! I caught her and pulled the lid off and realised the needle was still in the lid, but where was the lid?  Id dropped it and it had vanished.  So I got another syringe,  and used that, then swopped the needle off that one onto the one that now didnt have a needle and cap.  I searched every where and couldnt find the origional lid, but the needle is in the lid, so that will be safe, and soon I'll sweep the run out and that will be it gone.
Tuesday 28th.  Bramble was behind the wire fence again, and still no egg. I let them all out after lunch, and they all mixed quite well, but every now and again Clarice chases one of the babies and pecks her, so I had the water bottle and squirted the offender.  Now they see me with the bottle and look alarmed and ready to run.  If I pick it up, they leg it across the run!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Bramble at the back, and Alice
Spice and Henrietta having a siesta

24th September
Alice, Bramble and Belle were getting fed up with being harrassed by the Older Chickens, so I separated them, and the little ones had a dust bath. The have boxes of earth to do this, but decided to use the floor covering.
A dust bath is a real art, and its lovely watching them.
Belle dust bathing.

Saturday 25th September

Today turned into a stressful, and expensive day.  Bramble had been a bit quiet yesterday, but I thought it was because she was fed up with the older girls pecking her, so I separated the two flocks and she perked up.
We went up to the allotment this morning, and when we got back at lunch time Bramble was sitting in the bushes with her tail down (not a good sign) and when I separated them she just sat on the ground looking miserable.
I should have got her into Arvonia Animal Hospital straight away, but I waited to see if she was going to pick up again like she did yesterday, but she didnt, and I phoned the vets and got Chelvet the night cover vets.
Kirsty the receptionist/nurse was really kind, but warned me there was an extra fee because it was 'out of hours' and because Arvonia had been open in the morning.  I swithered, and spoke to the vet, but decided that as I couldnt purchase Baytril antibiotic without them seeing Bramble then I'd have to bite the bullet and go.
They are based at the Dragon vets on the Racecourse, and Beverley the vet, checked her over, and couldnt find anything wrong, though it was obvious to both of us that she was poorly. So she prescribed Baytril.  The whole experience was £65, included in that was the medicine which cost £9!  If only they could have just sold me that!
Bramble went back to sitting for the evening, and at 7pm I looked out and couldnt see her head and fearing the worst I went out and had a look.  She looked up (phew) and as I left the run got up and had a drink.
When I went back out to put the net down she was waiting with Belle and Alice.  I dropped the net and she walked past me and straight to bed!  Belle and Alice were on her heels, and by the time we were going out at 7.30 they were all in bed so I could shut the door.
The weathers turned a lot cooler, it was 2 deg. this morning, so I'd rather shut the door and help keep the warmth in.
I must clean them out tomorrow.

Friday, 24 September 2010

24th September

The newbies took integration into their own hands, and as they kept  getting out I let them out to mix with the older girls.  There's still a lot of chasing and pecking, and they stay as separate flocks, but Belle comes to the gate with the older girls, and generally gets away with it.  Clarice is the most vicious, occasionally she jumps on the newbies and pulls their neck feathers.  They are all scared of the four, and the four chase the three because they know they'll run.  When the newbies try to dust bath or eat treats they get run off, so in the afternoon I separate them so they get a peaceful siesta.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tuesday 21st

Cant figure it out, but Bramble keeps getting over or under the net somehow, and I find her in the older girls side.
She's wanting to lay an egg, but the others have a go at her and she sits by the netting.  Belle has got over there a few times, but Alice is just scared of the older hens, and she stays put.  She is very intermittent in her egg laying so she's not too bothered.
The older girls are getting better about the little ones, and only give a peck if they pass them.  Clarice doesn't seem to be going out of her way to attack, and the newbies keep well out of her way because she'll jump on them and bite pull their neck feathers, or grab any bit of passing chicken she can.
It will be nice when I can take the netting down, and let them all flock together.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sunday 19thI

The girls had been clucking for a while before I heard them. and on a Sunday morning!
I let them out, and left them to it.  There was an egg from Spice and one from Belle in the coop.
I let Bramble in with the big girls so she could lay an egg.  Henrietta was already in there and Bramble was trying to sit on her!  Some hens have no sense.  So I moved Bramble over and shut the door.
Later I saw her out and put her in with the newbies.  There were no eggs in the nest box.
When I got back from church Bramble was in the big girls run, she'd jumped over the fence so she could lay her egg.  There was another egg in the cardboard box in the run.  So a full house on the egg front.
The older girls are still pecking the little ones, but only Clarice is going out of her way to get them.  The others are less aggressive, so there's still hope, another three weeks to go!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Friday 17th September

Everyone piled out of the coop to their allotted places. Spice had already laid an egg, and I got eggs from the three others during the course of the morning.  Bramble gave me an egg as well.  Later in the afternoon I got a second egg from the newbies.
Clarice is appalling she goes out of her way to attack the new chickens, and she jumps on them and pulls their feathers.  The others will chase and peck, but only if they stray in the same path.  Clarice goes out of her way!  She was even having a go in the coop tonight.
I let them all mingle at 6pm .  When I went in with some mealworms Bramble and Belle came running over, to be attacked by the others, I threw mealworms and they all separated, the babies came with me and I gave them their own mealworms, Alice was hiding in the coop, and I went and talked to her, and showed her the pot of mealworms, and eventually she came out.  I kept the two factions separated, and Clara and Clarice went into the coop.  Henrietta went in, and Spice who likes to be last in started rounding up the newbies but Henrietta was in the doorway and they were too scared to go in, so I ploughed in and made her go in and put Bramble in and then Belle,  Spice was in last, but there was a lot of squawking and I had to look in and tell them off.  They went quiet after that!  Who says chickens aren't intelligent!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Thursday 16th

I think we're playing egg roulette today.  When I opened up the pop hole there were no eggs in the nest box,  but just inside there was a egg with a hole in the end.  I thought for a minute I had a budding egg eater, but then I saw the contents in the poo tray.
I let the newbies out at 8o/c and Belle headed straight into the coop and laid an egg.  I put them back in their area because the girls were being vicious.
I was out till lunch time and I bought back some spinach for them, and there in the box I'd given the newbies to lay their eggs were two little eggs. :o)
So I got one from Henrietta, possibly one from Spice, and  three tiny eggs.  I put a post on the Lane and the first person up said she knew of other hens who had started to slow up with winter coming so Im not going to worry, and see what happens tomorrow.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Wednesday 15th

Both Spice and one of the new girls, I think Bramble, had laid an egg in the coop when I opened up this morning., although Bramble hadnt made it to the nest box.
I let the new girls out of their area before 9am today and left them scratching around.  I only gave them 45minutes and put them back in their area.  When I looked one of them had laid an egg in the nest box.
Clever girl.  They all stayed in their own areas for the day, and this evening I went in with mealworms and corn and sat with them till they went to bed. One of the older girls had laid a soft egg before I got there and they'd broken it and eaten it! Not good!
Bramble came and sat on me to get away from the big girls then hopped off, and I picked Clara up and she settled down on my lap for quite a while, it was really nice.  I hope the soft egg thing sorts itself out.  Its a bit worrying when I've just had  Spice poorly.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tuesday 14th

A quiet day on the chicken front.  Spice had her last injection, and the newbies enjoyed the extra space with the omlet run gone, and there was a small egg in the flower border in the morning.
I let the newbies out early afternoon and they all seemed to be ok.  They kept to each others sides, but by four o/clock they started bickering so I put them back on their proper sides.
This evening I found another egg in the mud at the back of the border.  I'll have to watch tomorrow and see if I can see who's laying the eggs. :o)

Monday, 13 September 2010

Monday 13th

Spice is looking really well, but she has two more injections to go, and after she's had her jab and she's back in the run she goes and sits somewhere for a while.  Clara is picking on her too, and I was really tempted to put her in with the newbies, but it would split her from the others and as she does her share of chasing and pecking it would be unfair on the babies.
There was a tiny egg in the coop this morning, and Spice laid her egg before I opened the pop hole.
This afternoon I let the little ones out, and they all swapped sides, and  were quite happy, then one of the Rhodies started attacking them.  I went out and gave them a talking too, but they wouldn't behave, and as they were all in the newbies side of the run I shut the older ones in there and they were fine.  At tea time I fed them where they were.  I scrambled Spice's eggs and they really enjoyed them!  Its a bit cannibalistic though.
When I went out this evening to sit with them,  there under the coop were two tiny eggs, so they are all laying now!  I fended off the big girls, for half an hour until the newbies went to bed.
When the others had gone to bed and I'd shut the pop hole, I took the omlet run to pieces.  It will be much better because no one can get cornered any more. Wonder how they'll react.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Sunday 12th

There was a tiny egg in the coop this morning.  Spice laid an egg, but by the time I saw her in the run Henrietta was in the same spot, she hadn't started laying yet, and I got the egg from under her.  She wasnt too impressed with that.  
Spice had her injection, she didn't want to stay still for it, but I persuaded her to hold still.
I was out till 3.30, when I got back I used the anti pecking stuff I bought, on the newbies and let them out. It didnt have much effect.  The newbies fled everytime they saw the four, and I closed the pop hole so they couldnt go in the coop, so they hid in the bushes.  Sometimes they seemed to be getting on, at least they stayed out of each others way, then one of the older girls ran at a newbie and the new girls ran for it.  
I put the new girls back on their side when it was time for rice, and left them there till bed time when they put themselves to bed, and I left the older girls to join them when they were ready. Its just going to take a long time I think.  

11th September

Spice improves in health and look like her old self.  She stood still while I gave her her injection and laid a normal egg which was stored separately to add to others in the week and be fed back to the girls as scrambled egg.
When I went at lunch time to give the girls their cabbage I saw a small egg in the newbies border.  When I investigated I found three more, so someone has been laying eggs for a few days!  I think it might be Bramble, but they're very pale, could be Alice. who knows.  I'll have to keep an eye on them when I can.
We went out this evening and instead of shutting them all up early I let the newbies out and they went into the coop and I left the older girls to put themselves away.  Im going to try using anti peck spray tomorrow.
Four little eggs next to Spice's egg, hers arent all that big either!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Day 15

Spice bounced out of the coop looking back to normal.  There was a soft egg in the poo tray, so that means she doesn't have peritonitis. :o)
I took her back to the vet, Richard said there were more eggs to come and  showed me how to do the injections, and gave me four loaded syringes to use over the next 4 days.
This afternoon I tried taking down the fence and mixing the two flocks.  There was a bit of pecking, but they all wandered round together quite nicely, until I gave them their treats.  The big girls wanted the little girls food, so I had to put the fence back up again.  I took the fence down when they'd finished, but the newbies ended up hiding in the coop.  I turfed them out and put the fence up again.  They took themselves off to bed when I put the fence down at 7.30, but then the four started clucking, and I think they were frightened of the noise the newbies made, so I put them into bed and closed the door.  We'll try again tomorrow.

day 14

Ok, yesterday was an emotional roller coaster.  Spice was really feeling unwell.  She sat in the bushes and ignored food.  I tried another bath, but Daisy the cat tried to join her and she wanted out after that. I was feeling really desperate, and convinced she had egg peritonitis which can be fatal. :o(
I rang the vet, but he was busy and was to ring me back. I had arranged to meet with my friend Maggie, and we went out for a walk.  When I got back the vet hadn't rung, so I rang again, and  Viv answered this time and  spoke to Guy and he said bring her straight in.  We were there in five minutes, and they said Richard the chicken man was there and he looked at her.  He said she was too thin, but egg layers are all thin under the feathers, she weighted about 200g.
He gave her an injection, she was good as gold, and I put her back in the basket and made an appointment for tomorrow and bought her home.  She picked up a bit as the day went by, and ate her supper at 5o/c.
They were all very put out with me because both I and John were going out and I put them to bed at 6.30.
Every time I got a chicken in one popped out but eventually I got the last one in and shut the door.  Hope they're talking to me tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Alice asking if the others were coming to bed.

Going to bed.

Spice was poorly, and I had to sit her in warm water,
so she was rather wet, and enjoyed checking out
the living room!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Day 12

I sat in with the girls this morning and let the little ones out.  Bramble seemed desparate to get out, and she went into the coop, and I thought she might want to lay an egg, but after a while she was ordered out by Clarice who was laying an egg.  I put them all back in behind their netting as I had to go out.
I'm still only getting 3 eggs, but I dont know who's not laying.
I took the treats out and Spice wasn't interested which was unusual. I checked her vent and there was white stuff, so I ran a sink of warm water and put her in it in the hope it would relax her and she'd lay what ever was the problem.  There was a bit of white, but nothing else, and after half an hour the water was getting cold, so I took her out, wrapped her in a towel and I took her into the living room and she sat on my lap swathed in towels and shut her eyes.  Then after a few minutes she perked up, and stood up and jumped off my lap onto the floor. The students thought it was hilarious, and she flapped her wings, and had a look around.  I dried her using the hair drier and put her back with the others.  She seemed much brighter, so Im hoping she'll be ok tomorrow.
I gave her some tuna in sunflower oil, someone said on the forum it might help.  She ate quite a bit, and the others were going mad trying to see what she had, and they finished it off.
At 7.30 I went and sat out with them, the babies were chased off the mealworms I put down, and then took themselves off to bed!  So I sat for a bit watching the others looking at the coop worried about the noise going on inside, then they took themselves off to bed too.   I hope Spice is ok tomorrow.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Day 11

All is quiet in the hen house at the moment.  The babies are now safe behind their netting, so I leave the omlet run door open all the time, except today It kept closing, the first time Bramble and Alice were inside, and Belle was shut out, then when I went out to sit with them all this evening they were all shut in, so I must peg the door open.
Anyway, this evening I sat out with them for the half hour before they went to bed, and fed them meal worms and fended the big girls off the babies.  Belle was hiding under my legs as I sat there because I was keeping her safe, then she walked across to the cube, Bramble followed, and they both went to bed, and Alice followed.
The funny thing was the expressions on the others faces and they heard the newbies banging around in the cube.
Eventually Henrietta got brave and went in to see what was happening, she was followed by Clarice, Clara and finally Spice.  There was no pecking or squawking either!
I swept out both the runs, and put down fresh flooring and changed their water all ready for tomorrow.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Day 9

The girls thundered out of the coop this morning, there was a bit of bickering, and they all arrived in the right areas and I left the newbies out in their run.
They were fine when I came back from my paper round, and I went off to the allotment, and then to get a water butt for the run.
Spice was a bit off colour.  She sat by the gate with her eyes shut, and I spent the day worrying about her.
When I got back they were all mixed together.  There was the occasional bit of pecking and bickering, but otherwise they were ok.  I got a bit fed up with the newbies being stopped from getting food etc, so I got my water bottle and squirted whoever was attacking.  They weren't impressed with that, and did keep half an eye on me.  Spice was still quiet, and hid in the bushes.  I was a bit worried I'd upset her with the water bottle.
John spent the day finishing off the run.  He put the gutter up and was putting boards round the bottom to try and contain the wood shavings.  He said the girls were mixing because I'd put the net fence upside down, and they could get through the holes. So this evening I turned the netting over, so hopefully that will sort that problem, and once the girls were shut in Spice picked up and trotted round with the other three.
Chickens are far more complex that is realised, and somehow Ive got to get past the territory problem
My new girls are beautiful.  Belle and Bramble are becoming more and more friendly, and Alice is getting braver, and will come out of the run if Im sitting on their side.  We've come a long way in a week.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Day 8

The new girls have been here a whole week.  I let them all out and the newbies went to their run and I shut them in for the morning.  My other girls gave me 3 eggs today.  One of them has a day off now and again.
After lunch I let the newbies out into their bit of the run.  The didn't rush out, and my originals were having a siesta.  A bit later there was some clucking, and when I went out to see what was happening, Alice was out and sitting on a flower pot.  The others were watching her, but no one attacked!  I caught her and put her back with the others.I also clipped Belle and Brambles wing today.
 As Belle and Bramble are close to starting laying eggs I put some straw in a box for them to use as a nest box.  When I went out later they'd tipped it over!
No one else escaped or scrapped, and to my amazement when I got back from choir practice the newbies were thundering up the ladder to bed.  I don't know how they got out, presumably over the fence.  I'm amazed, and delighted, but I'm not counting my chickens yet, lets see what tomorrow brings, but I feel  much better about the girls, and perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Day 7

I got the girls up before my shower today, and they all dashed out and into their proper runs.
I left the omlet run door open and the girls had more space to patrol inside the netting I put in last night.Before I went to do my round Bramble got over the fence and was chased by Clarice, so I rescued her and put her back.  Then before I went to the allotment there was a lot of squawking and Madge, now known as Belle was stuck in the fence.  She'd got her front end through and the wire was behind her wings so she couldnt go back or forward. The others were attacking her bottom.  I cut the fence and she walked through.  I then locked them in while I went to the allotment.
When I got back I let them out again, and half an hour later I heard a lot of flapping and squawking and Clarice had got into the newbies run and they were everywhere.  Alice and Bramble ran into the coop to hide in the nest box, and I caught Belle and put her back in the run.  It took a while to coax Bramble back out and I carried her to the run, Alice shot out of the coop and straight in before us.  I feel so sorry for these youngsters, Its so unfair that my older girls abuse them like this, but that's Chickens for you.
I went out with grapes and mealworms in the evening, and sat in the run door and fed both sets of girls.
I think Bramble and Belle might start laying eggs soon, they both duck down when you go near them, so I'll need to make a nest box for them.  

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Day 6

They haven't quite got the hang of escaping into the omlet run yet and they got mugged by the four!
I decided they need more space, so this evening I moved the run back to where it was, and put up the netting so they can have some of the border.  If Alice doesn't fly over the net I'll take the run down in a couple of days.
I bought grapes, my lot nearly mugged me for them, the newbies wouldn't come for them, then Bluebell came and took a grape half, and came back for more!  A step in the right direction.  The step they don't seem to be able to take is the one up the ladder to bed.  Hopefully they'll work it out soon.