Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Out by the shed, near the chicken coop. The place everyone hangs out to discuss the various edibles they raise in their gardens/allotments.

Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » November 11th, 2011, 3:23 pm

Mine run is half covered and half open to the elements which is fine for most of the year but I've used plastic sheeting to protect the whole of the top from the elements and the fence is so near one side that it shelters it naturally.

It's no where near 6ft high only waist height so easy to cover and hold the plastic down with a few bricks.

The insulation I've made is a few tubes made from black bin liners. Cut the bottoms off and sealed to make the tubes (3 each tube) these were filled with a strip of carpet underlay and a length of loft insulation before sealing up. What I didn't already have in I got on freecycle to make them. They fit nicely under the plastic sheeting and the bin liners aren't strong but waterproof. On their own they wouldn't last 5 minutes but the sheeting should protect them enough.

To seal them and make the tubes I used the vacuum machine not to take the air out just to stick the plastic together.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Zosherooney » November 12th, 2011, 7:28 am

Annie, you sound a bit like me ! Make use of what you have laying around ! I skip dived for the offcuts of insulation that had been chucked. I cut them to size and taped them on the underside and insides of the coop. Nice and cozy for the winter !
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Zosherooney » November 12th, 2011, 7:35 am

Forgot to mention......... At our local market they trim cabbages, caulis and any fruit that is not perfect gets chucked. I now go home via the bloke that skips this and he saves me loads for the chickens (and me). Annie do your chickens like cauli leaves ? - mine love them. Also grapes, tommys. and melon. I was given on Thursday 2 pink grapefruit (skin just going slightly soft in one small area) Some clementines, a lemon and a box of red seedless grapes with a few slightly past their best. Nothing wrong with the majority of the stuff.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » November 12th, 2011, 8:53 am

They love most vegetable greenery and fruit from the garden. Grapes is something they love but I wouldn't pay the exorbitant prices for even for me, but the local greengrocer has bags of them that are loose in the bottom of the tray for a 50p donation to the air ambulance so if they look particularly good condition I get them I often find that I can have some myself out of them too so a bargain all round. He also

They also get lots of things like the leaves from the tomatoes and cabbages but I've not grown caulies (no room) and when I get them they are to well trimmed. I've never asked particularly for the leaf trimming but may do when at the greengrocers next. All the veg peelings barring onions and one or two other things (that can make the eggs a bit pongy) get fed to them either raw or cooked along with pasta, rice porridge and tasty bird treats like mealworms. Have you ever given them mealworm porridge, yumyum :sprout: the birds think Christmas has come. I also give them this fresh stuff as a treat in the afternoon and they get mainly proper feed to ensure they are not undernourished for healthy egg production. I certainly can't complain at the eggs they produce both in number and quality.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » December 20th, 2011, 11:21 am

At the weekend I got my lonely lady a new companion.

And they get on really really well -none of the bullying and pecking that happened when we introduced a new one before.

No eggs from her yet - but due to the milder weather our original lady has started laying again.

Today we gave them Qourn fillets, baked beans and spagetti - yesterday they got boiled carrots which they loved, and the love mash potatoes.

They also get their usual pellets and the dog Saber chases away all the sparrows that come in to steal the chooks food.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » December 20th, 2011, 1:09 pm

Glad they are getting on well.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » December 29th, 2011, 10:21 am

My ladies have suddenly started to moult - yup all four at once.
Now I've heard Gsarlic powder is good but no one seems to know why.
Anyone know the answer:?:
Plus does it taint the eggs :?:
Just that they are still laying at full capacity
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby suffolk » December 29th, 2011, 10:40 am

I've known it used monthly to prevent worm infestations.

There's stuff on the internet about research into whether it reduces the cholesterol in egg yolks and that seems to indicate that it does, in some breeds of hens, if sun-dried garlic paste is used - not otherwise. The research did say that it doesn't taint the eggs unless given at a rate higher than 5% of feed.

I would think the egg production will drop off a bit while they're moulting - some additional protein in their feed should help, and if the weather turns really cold maybe some additional bedding/insulation?
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » December 29th, 2011, 10:52 am

I've put lots of bedding in with it being winter generally and also insulated the coop with the loft insulation covers. if they get cold after that there is nowt I can do other than set fire to it.

I'll get some garlic power and poultry spice and pop that in their food/drink.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby suffolk » December 29th, 2011, 10:55 am

I dunno Annie, they could join you under the duvet and share a hot toddy :lol: :duck:
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » December 29th, 2011, 10:59 am

talk about a feather bed but that is going a bit to far :lol:
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Zosherooney » December 30th, 2011, 8:06 am

My two girls have been laying 2 eggs daily since 3rd December, they are lovley and rich and have a fantastic orangeness (not the flavour!) to them. They are funny to watch, the cockeral finds and presents them with presents and clucks very loudly and quickly when he finds a treat for the girls, they always come running.

We are in the process of using up the last of the roof trusses from our extension build to construct a moveable enclosure so they have access to more scrub ground for cleaning up. Their static built pen is down to earth and in wet weather - mud. I would love to just let them run freely but, it is bad enough with the pidgeon droppings on the lawn as it is. We also have too many bold foxes around and they have no fear of us.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » December 30th, 2011, 9:32 am

Zosh I have a fuly enclosed run on paving to prevent foxes which isn't very big i then have an area still on paving for ease of cleaning that is just a boundary of bamboo canes and chicken wire but allows them more space in general during the day. For winter only I've put a covering over the main run of plastic sheeting (and some insulation packs I made) to keep the ground and food dry and help keep the water from freezing. for at least a couple of hours a day I allow them free run of the garden. But not to much access so I still have a garden at the end of the winter.
While it is so mild I'm shutting the door on the run but not on the coop so they can get in and out for water and food at any time. When it gets cold though I shut the pop hole and it is surprising how warm it is in there with the insulation over it.

At the moment I'm getting between 2 and 4 eggs a day most days it's 4 I've had one day when there was only 1.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » December 30th, 2011, 12:43 pm

We are getting one egg daily but we reckon our new lady is to your for laying just yet.

No moulting but last year we only had one moulting and she was the lady of sadly passed on during the last cold snap.

We used apple cider as a wee tonic in their water which was a suggestion we found of the internet.

I reckon my ladies probably get loads of garlic from the scraps we give them as garlic and onions are a staple in our food :D

My girls are in what should have been the dog run but the dog would stay in it so as it was empty we got the chickens. At the moment though my garden looks like Glastunbury with all the mud in it so they are confined to the run which gets moved round the garden periodically.

. I did have a lovely lawn when we first moved in but the dogs have destroyed it with their running and digging holes.

It is on my list of things to do but until the grounds starts to dry there is very little I can do with it :D
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » January 18th, 2012, 3:19 pm

My new lady has taken to flying up to the roof of her coop and flying over her fence! :x

Has any of you clipped your ladies wings - and if so how did you find doing it or would you leave it for the vet
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Zosherooney » January 18th, 2012, 6:59 pm

Friends of mine were going to help me do mine, but this did not happen in the end. I seem to remember that you fan the wing out and very carefully cut the feathers at the very end of the wing (furtherest from the body). Taking particular attention to the bit of feather that is indeed 'living' in the chickens wing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hr9ioWrmis
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-t ... ent-flight

Good luck, let us know if it works
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » January 19th, 2012, 4:15 am

Did all mine on my own without problem. Just held close to my body whichever and extended the 1 wing and clipped short the last 10 feathers. Did it last May and they are still relatively short now. They do grow back apparently though so I keep an eye out. Clipping doesn't stop them from being able to fly but the can't fly in the direction they want to, they are lopsided, so they don't bother apparently. Wen they are walking around with wings folded you can't tell.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » February 3rd, 2012, 2:18 pm

Oh dear forgot to update this - well our girl did fly out despite us putting stuff over the top of the run and the dog got her :( :(

Now we have decided that its cruel to get another one after two dying with the dogs and one dying of natural causes. But the lady is there on her own and missing company. I went out last night to shut her door and she jumped out and started clucking after me.

So this is the last one and the lady who sells them to us is going to clip the wing for us. So hopefully this one will be fine.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » February 3rd, 2012, 2:54 pm

Is that you are only having the one or have you just got another to make two again.

I'v still got my 4 currently having the freedom of the whole back garden (with a couple of beds blocked off). They are however happily having a siesta and a dust bath in 'their' flowerbed.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » February 6th, 2012, 12:20 pm

No we are getting another one as she is really lonely on her own. Mr Dragon is moving the run and the lady who sells the chickens is going to clip her wings for us :D
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » February 6th, 2012, 4:20 pm

I have my run on paving slabs so the fox can't dig under it. Yesterday when I went to shut the pop hole I noticed a fox had been in the garden (by footprints in the snow) but had left the coop well alone.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 4th, 2012, 10:13 am

The BHWT have sent me an email they want me to do a piece for Radio Tees on keeping ex batts.

I said I would but I don't consider myself an expert by any means and they said that is what they want someone who has had them for a few months so they could tell prospective new owners what to expect.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby suffolk » April 4th, 2012, 10:24 am

Wow! How exciting! Have you 'done radio' before - I did it once and although I'd done Am Dram and singing etc, I almost dried completely in front of the microphone - thank heavens for the lovely Radio Norfolk lady who painlessly extracted all the necessary information from me :D
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 4th, 2012, 11:05 am

Not in a long long time I was interviewed for radio when I was in the british championships but that was when I was a teenager.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby suffolk » April 4th, 2012, 12:26 pm

Do you know if we'll be able to listen to you 'on line'?
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 4th, 2012, 3:29 pm

I have non idea as yet Suffolk. The radio station has rung while I was out they are ringing back tomorrow morning. The interview is for Tuesday morning but no idea when it is to be broadcast.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 5th, 2012, 8:25 am

(I've removed the link as it uses my real name and location will PM anyone the link if interested) It will be going out live just after 10 :? . The chap coming out wants me to poach him a fresh egg. Better have a good bit of home baked bread to go with it ;) .
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby miss mouse » April 13th, 2012, 7:21 pm

Good interview, Annie, I would have either garbled or dried. :oops:
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby 4dogsagain » April 14th, 2012, 11:41 am

We have a lot of people on this thread who are responsible, and who look after their hookoos with great care. Not so the man who lives almost opposite me. He has a mother hen with several chicks.
These hens are freerange - unfortunately! They range all over the road, and currently have a liking for my hedge. The hedge has a wire mesh fence in the inside, so now that they are bigger, they cannot get through. Unfortunately, my dogs do not like chickens. so they bark at them, which does no good at all. When the chicks were smaller and got through the mesh, the dogs did what dogs do, and despatched them rather quickly
I resort to the jet hose two or three times a day to get rid of them. They run squawking off to their own garden, but being stupid, they come back for another wetting.
I'm at a total loss as to how to keep them away. My friend who lives opposite and works with this man has spoken to him, but he does nothing.
The SPCA has spoken to him about letting his dog roam. I don't think they would like to be called in about chickens!
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 14th, 2012, 2:36 pm

In the village where my parents live and in another where a friend lives the hens are allowed to roam all around the villages, quite common when you live is somewhere with little very traffic.

Mother Silky had a hen that laid and hatched eggs in her garden quite late last year. She was doing fine and being fed by mother until what we think was a fox got at least some of the 8 chicks. Mother hen no where to be seen afterwards. The three of the surviving chicks mother's gardener took home to add to his own brood. Two turned out to be cockerels so he asked the farmer they would have come from originally if he wanted a Silky cockerel and gave him one of them :lol: .
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 26th, 2012, 8:01 am

This morning I have no chooks :( . The fox has got in what a mess it is out there. Two carcases and two missing. Feathers everywhere :( .
I'm hoping maybe 1 has escaped into the garden at the back as there is a hole in the fence there now big enough for one to have got through but I think it is more likely to be the foxes escape not the chooks :( .
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » April 26th, 2012, 9:38 am

Oh Annie I am so sorry for you and your chooks - I know its only what foxes do but its upsetting nevertheless.

Hopefully one will be hiding for you.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 26th, 2012, 9:57 am

I'll have to go and look in the neighbours garden where the fox has obviously got through with at least one chook. but hold no real hope.

The other two were near this [newly made] hole in the fence so I'm assuming that the fox would have come back for them sometime. They do say that although a fox will kill them all at once and seems to just leave the ones they don't eat, that if you left out the carcases the fox will return for them. They are now disposed of.

Debating whether to get another three 'retired' ladies or to splash out on a pair of posh ones.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Zosherooney » April 30th, 2012, 6:59 am

Annie, I did PM you ? So sorry about your girls........

This horrid weather has wrecked the weather proofing my chickens have (had!) yesterday they struggled to find anywhere that was dry or out of the wind. I have a massive job on my hands when this wind stops. Total revamp of plastic covers. Even the reed roll I used as a windbreak was ripped away from the cage.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » April 30th, 2012, 11:15 am

My chooks where in and out all day long - they are not very happy with the wind.

I noticed over the weekend my older chook was gently pecking the other one on the back. She was lying in a hole and the other one was pecking her back.

There is no blood drawn - but it does seem to be affecting her feathers a bit but it doesn't seem to be malicious and there is no blood drawn. When we first got her the older chook was pecking her deliberately and nastily on the head - we checked for lice etc and there are none.

Anyone seen this - or can offer an explanation?
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 30th, 2012, 3:23 pm

Not had experience of it myself PSD but I've coped your post to a couple of facebook group pages I'm a member of and see if something comes back from them.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » April 30th, 2012, 3:52 pm

Thank you - its doesn't seem to be hurting her but Mr Dragon is worried incase the pecks start to draw blood
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » April 30th, 2012, 4:01 pm

Someone has just suggested that if it is the more dominant one doing the pecking she may actually just be wanting the other girl to get out of the hole in the ground so she can use it.
no idea if that is the reason but a thought.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby suffolk » April 30th, 2012, 9:51 pm

When I was a child we kept lots of chickens, some in deep litter houses. Sometimes there would be an outbreak of pecking, and some hens were quite badly hurt. It is important to try to prevent blood being drawn as this seems to encourage the pecking - Pa used to try to find which one was the instigator and remove it from the flock for a while - thinking about it I think it probably was a dominant hen doing the pecking and removing it from the flock for a couple of weeks allowed for a change in the 'pecking order'. When it was returned to the flock it started at the bottom of the pile. At least I think that was the theory.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » May 1st, 2012, 10:01 am

I was thinking about moving her but would take that as a last resort.

Apparently you can get anti pecking spray which I would be prepared to use.

There are other points though to consider - their run has little grass in it as its worn down and we wondered whether the pecked one had rolled in the food and got that on her.

We are going to keep an eye out and move the run at the weekend to an area with lots of grass in it that they can wear down - the garden looks like a funny checkers board with square dusty bits of earth where the run has been :D
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby suffolk » May 1st, 2012, 7:23 pm

Funny you should say that - I was just remembering that Pa would hang things like cabbage stalks with a few leaves on in the pens for the hens to peck at - it kept them occupied and gave them an outlet for their pecking instinct.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » May 2nd, 2012, 10:46 am

We put celery out last night for them to eat - which has been pecked at but not eaten.

I have cauliflower in the house and which will have leaves and stalks left over after I have cooked it so will see if that works.

Thanks for all the help thanks :D
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby StokeySue » May 2nd, 2012, 10:49 am

suffolk wrote:Funny you should say that - I was just remembering that Pa would hang things like cabbage stalks with a few leaves on in the pens for the hens to peck at - it kept them occupied and gave them an outlet for their pecking instinct.


I reember putting those up for my Uncle Ray - my auntie used to maon about how messy it made the run look!
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » May 14th, 2012, 9:16 am

thought I'd pop over here as I think I'm talking to much chicken talk of chatterbox :roll:

To update those interested and not read chatterbox I got three ladies on Saturday all Ex batts again. Two not named who are good health specimens one very dark one very pale and the beautiful bald one (now named Carmen) I've ever come across, she stole my heart.
Carmen is having problems with bullying and she was shivering with cold yesterday. Because of this she is spending most of her time in the coop. I've made her a saddle out of an old pair of jeans and some knicker elastic to help protect he bare back from the pecking of the others. I've also just given her a little treat of scrambled egg, ground egg shell, garlic and herbs, not a lot but something to help build her up a bit. Don't want to overdo it with her being so unused to freedom and the fresh air life.

I was thinking about a chuk tux (knitted jumper made for bald exbatts) but decided that it was not a good idea (lots of pros and cons) then someone suggested a saddle. Made usually or of a bit of canvas it is put on girls that are the cockerels favourites so his claws don't draw blood.

The pecking has not drawn blood so far but I'll get some purple spray and anti pecking spray in this morning. After all it is better to be prepared and well you know the Murphy's law that if you have it in you won't need it :lol: .

I will be hanging some greens in the run for the others to peck at and provide a bit of entertainment so they will hopefully leave poor Carmen alone. But don't want to overdo anything to fresh with them not being used to it.

Any ideas and experience of preventing this vicious behaviour is welcome.

I can't separate the bully because it is both the other two and deliberately separating her from them will only exasperate the problem I think.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby peasoupdragon » May 14th, 2012, 11:55 am

I had this problem the other week with the older one pecking the new one.

We did hang cauliflower leaves and cabbage leaves round that gave them something else to peck on - and oddly Mr Dragon put in a like two shelfs unit to cover their food container which is in the run rather than the coup.

This gave them something else to fly up to - they can just manage it but they cant fly out the run and it seemed to ease the pecking.

If she is bald then you might want to think about putting a bit apple cider vinegar in her water as that is a good tonic for her - will her feathers eventually grow back? I know one of my ladies moults once a year but she is not ex battery.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » May 14th, 2012, 1:47 pm

Their feathers grow back fairly quickly especially if they are being properly looked after, varying on the individual chook this can take between 6-12 weeks but some will take longer and others (especially in winter) a lot quicker.
I looked at how the saddles are on t'internet and made my own version to stop the pecking of her back. I've also now sprayed her with anti pecking spray. Believe me that stuff must taste vile to chickens (and probably us too), no sooner had I sprayed her and 'encouraged' her to go out of the coop the pale one came up to her was about to peck and backed right off. She has spent most of her time since she was sprayed out in the run so things can't be that bad for her now...........
Oops Spoke to soon there has just been one heck of a squawk and poor Carmen is back in the coop.....
I wonder if putting one of the others in the coop will work better thus separating the two that are picking on her.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby suffolk » May 14th, 2012, 1:59 pm

That might be a good idea Annie :idea: you might find out which is the ringleader of the two.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » May 15th, 2012, 8:22 am

tried that yesterday afternoon and the one I thought wasn't the ring leader had my poor Carmen cornered bless her.

So today maybe I'm being over concerned but My dear little Carmen is not wanting to come out of the coop today.
I've now separated the run so she can go in and out of the coop and the other two are in a run just separated buy a mesh wall so they can see each other and so mix but the two that bullied her can't actually get at her fresh water and feed in both parts of the run.
she seems lively enough but I'm wondering if there is something wrong or if it is natural for her to want the safety of the coop. I'm putting them in the same coop overnight though.
As I've never had any that have behaved like that before any ideas or am I worrying unrealistically.
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby PurpleLuv » May 15th, 2012, 3:03 pm

I've had all sorts of bad & good introductions Annie :hug:

It can never be guessed how the chooks will react to each other & when it goes bad I know how stressful it can get.
I now give it a week or two but if the pecking gets very nasty, I try everything I can but can't cope when they bully up on one, group bullying the weakest, sad as it sounds I get H to neck the injured chicken :cry: I can't see it suffer to the point of being eaten alive ( as Girtey did previous) & at the same time can't accomadate 1 chicken in a pen on its own.

As you know, once they draw blood it can be a loosing battle. Sometimes I have seen the pecking as natures way of weeding out a sick or weak chicken, they see her as a weakness in the flock that is using resorces that could go to the healthy.

It seems you are doing all you can, keep them seperate during the day but side by side for a week or two, fingers crossed she will grow stronger & they more accepting. :hug:
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Re: Keeping Chickens/Guinea Fowl

Postby Annie » May 15th, 2012, 5:14 pm

I hope so Purps. Poor Carmen has very few feathers and is so timid so I've given her the run with the coop attached so she can go in and out as she builds her confidence and feathers. She has not really gone outside the coop much but she does sit at the door sticking her head out and then pops out when she wants something to eat or drink.

I have hope fully struck the right combination while she builds up a bit.
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