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Anyone got chickens?


spunko
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I've adopted some ex battery chickens this past weekend. They've already laid 5 eggs so not too bad. Poor things are in a terrible state but I'm told the feathers will regrow in a month or so. They're still very nervous and jumpy. 

Anyone have or had chickens? 

IMG-20170628-WA0009.jpeg

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Caravan Monster

Yes, the landlord has kept them on the farm in a free range sort of way for many years now. They wander about the place during the day and are shut up at night. Old age or the fox account for them in the end, but they generally last some years. The cockrill I saved from the chop and added to the flock lasted eight years until the fox had him. The ex battery are the best egg producers and they do adjust fully to a life of freedom and their feathers grow back pretty quick. The dogs will sometimes show where the eggs are if the hens have been nesting in places other than their nest boxes.

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4 hours ago, Caravan Monster said:

Yes, the landlord has kept them on the farm in a free range sort of way for many years now. They wander about the place during the day and are shut up at night. Old age or the fox account for them in the end, but they generally last some years. The cockrill I saved from the chop and added to the flock lasted eight years until the fox had him. The ex battery are the best egg producers and they do adjust fully to a life of freedom and their feathers grow back pretty quick. The dogs will sometimes show where the eggs are if the hens have been nesting in places other than their nest boxes.

I'm not free ranging mine yet as they're not at all 'worldly wise', shall we say. In fact they don't even go in at night, so I need to keep watch. I've thought about getting another 3 or 4 and letting them roam around freely, with the knowledge that a fox will take 1 or 2 now and then but they'll lead happier if shorter lives.

Surprised to see a cockerel being taken by a fox - plenty of videos on YouTube with the fox running away with its tail between its legs!

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Caravan Monster

Yes, not very economical in farming terms, but I agree they have a good life when they get out and about, just don't think too much about the number of slugs that go into producing your eggs! The cockerel was a gnarly old bird, but the fox gets braver when food gets scarcer during winter and they get more hungry and desperate. One winter I caught a fox trying to drag away a formerly healthy domestic goose. The fox left the goose and ran for it when the resident marksman managed to miss, but in spite of treatment the goose never recovered from her ordeal.

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Sucralose Ray Leonard
6 hours ago, The XYY Man said:

I've had chickens.

They tasted a bit like chicken...

 

XYY

You have a fowl sense of humour Mr XYY

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Fully Detached

Yes I keep a few. Totally agree re the fox - we're in a rural area and I've seen foxes cheerfully wandering round my garden at 10.30 in the morning as if they don't have a care in the world. Free ranging is a bit Russian roulette - at some stage the fox is going to arrive and probably kill the lot in no time. Having said that, we like to let ours run free as much as possible. I've spent a lot of money building a large electrified fox proof run which is big enough for them to stay in all day if we're out or in really bad weather. Apart from that we just try to make sure someone is around whenever they're out, but we'll get caught again one day.

I'm also of the view that since foxes are territorial the last thing I want to do is kill them, only to have another take their place. Far better to have one who has experienced the joys of electrocution and has developed a resulting desire to stay well away than have a newbie every 6 months who still needs to learn.

They'll be the most expensive eggs you've ever had, but the most rewarding. Enjoy!

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sleepwello'nights

My sister in law was given a pair of chickens for a present by her husband. She told us about the present and mentioned that she couldn't think of names for them. My wife suggested sage and onion. :D

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One of the chickens has a gammy leg, presumably from fighting. Not sure if I should bother with the vets (££). I'll probably wait a few days to see if it recovers, hoping I don't have to take it out back. Couldn't even eat the poor bugger even if I ate meat as it's so thin.

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Fully Detached

@spunko2010 Ex battery hens come with quite a range of potential problems, so to lose one or more is not unusual. When you say gammy leg, can you post a picture? It could be scaly leg mite which is quite treatable, although I'd be surprised if it was as I'd expect the previous owners to have been particularly hot on that sort of thing. Then again...

Edit to add - chickens are also little fuckers for going for blood. They love the colour red and will peck at any exposed skin or cuts, therefore making it worse. And if they realise one of the flock is unwell, it's not at all beyond them to kill her themselves. So if there's blood, you'll either need to separate the affected one, buy some purple spray to stop the others from attacking, or put her out of her misery.

I wouldn't go to the vets, not so much for cost reasons but there's very little they can do - many vets don't know shit about chickens anyway, and if I have to put one down I'd rather do it quickly in her home environment where she's comfortable and happy, rather than terrify her for 30-60 minutes in a strange and scary environment first. Doing the deed is a bitch, but ironically it makes it much easier if you put the bird's needs above your own.

Edited by Fully Detached
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13 hours ago, Fully Detached said:

@spunko2010 Ex battery hens come with quite a range of potential problems, so to lose one or more is not unusual. When you say gammy leg, can you post a picture? It could be scaly leg mite which is quite treatable, although I'd be surprised if it was as I'd expect the previous owners to have been particularly hot on that sort of thing. Then again...

Edit to add - chickens are also little fuckers for going for blood. They love the colour red and will peck at any exposed skin or cuts, therefore making it worse. And if they realise one of the flock is unwell, it's not at all beyond them to kill her themselves. So if there's blood, you'll either need to separate the affected one, buy some purple spray to stop the others from attacking, or put her out of her misery.

I wouldn't go to the vets, not so much for cost reasons but there's very little they can do - many vets don't know shit about chickens anyway, and if I have to put one down I'd rather do it quickly in her home environment where she's comfortable and happy, rather than terrify her for 30-60 minutes in a strange and scary environment first. Doing the deed is a bitch, but ironically it makes it much easier if you put the bird's needs above your own.

I've cancelled the vet appointment this morning. Have been looking into it and I'm going to try wrapping a basic splint around the leg as I think it's fractured. She is just hopping about holding up one leg. It's difficult to know if this has happened since I got her, as the other 2 were also holding up their legs (they hadn't been used to walking apparently). They were all doing their best impression of flamingos.

I've looked at how to humanely kill a chicken so will do that if the splint doesn't work.

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Fully Detached

We've had one who broke a toe before and she recovered absolutely fine - they're tough little buggers so fingers crossed. I guess after so long of not having any exercise, their legs haven't developed properly, poor little sods.

Re dispatch, I highly recommend the use of a .22 air pistol if you have or can borrow one. The trick is to wrap the bird up in a towel so that her legs and wings are held, leaving her head exposed. She should be quite calm after you do this. You can then place her on the ground between your knees, talk to her to keep her nice and calm and maybe give her a grape or something nice, and then shoot just behind the base of the comb. It will be pretty much instant lights out. Don't panic if she flaps and jumps as it's most likely just death throes. It's wise to have a spare pellet to hand just in case, but I've never needed one. And as a fall back, I always keep a meat cleaver handy so I can very quickly take her head off if I need to - again, never had to but I'd rather have it to hand just in case. Yes it's hideously violent, but at that point, all that matters is ending it quickly, not neatly.

Neck breaking is nowhere near as certain a method as people like to think it is. I've never even tried it myself after hearing some absolute horror stories.

I hope you don't have to but if not this time you'll have to do it some time. It's shit, but don't beat yourself up over it however it goes - you've already given them a better life in the time you've had them than they ever would have if you hadn't taken them on.

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Wight Flight

Quarter past four to half past feckin six. Every morning this week. Party time for my neighbour's chickens. My entire family are knackered.

 

Oh well. All part and parcel of living in suburbia I suppose :wanker:

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5 hours ago, Cunning Plan said:

Quarter past four to half past feckin six. Every morning this week. Party time for my neighbour's chickens. My entire family are knackered.

 

Oh well. All part and parcel of living in suburbia I suppose :wanker:

Is it a cockerel? I hope it is not the hens.... I don't have a cockerel, vicious bastards.

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Wight Flight
19 hours ago, spunko2010 said:

Is it a cockerel? I hope it is not the hens.... I don't have a cockerel, vicious bastards.

I think so, though it doesn't do the classic cock-a-doodle-do thing.

They finally shut up at 6.30 this morning. For the fucking church bell to start clanging away at 7.15. 

I ended up with severe sleep deprivation at the end of last summer. Looks like this year will be no different 😈

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Wight Flight
7 hours ago, spunko2010 said:

You could sneak into the neighbours garden at night and unlock the cage?

It is very tempting.

Or does anyone know where I can hire a fox?

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One percent
1 minute ago, Cunning Plan said:

It is very tempting.

Or does anyone know where I can hire a fox?

We have one that sits on top of the shed tormenting my dog.  I'll try and catch it and post it to you. :D

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Wight Flight
Just now, One percent said:

We have one that sits on top of the shed tormenting my dog.  I'll try and catch it and post it to you. :D

Excellent. Now all I need to do is nick the church bell and I might get some sleep (apart from my insomniac mutt, obviously)

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I have today bought a silkie online. Yes, a chicken online! Apparently being delivered by a "poultry postal service", whatever that is.

Perhaps the gayest bird ever, apart from the flamingo.

silkie-bantam-chickens_04.jpg

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Fully Detached
7 hours ago, spunko2010 said:

I have today bought a silkie online. Yes, a chicken online! Apparently being delivered by a "poultry postal service", whatever that is.

Perhaps the gayest bird ever, apart from the flamingo.

silkie-bantam-chickens_04.jpg

I'm tempted to post a Nelson "Ha Ha", but it would only be tongue in cheek.

I have one Silkie now after losing one to the fox. They are without question the biggest pain the arse chickens you could ever clap eyes on, and at the same time the biggest characters you'll ever meet. Character beats pain the in arse every time in my book, you'll love it :D 

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