Help get my new girls sorted

(16 Posts)
HuggleBear Mon 15-Aug-16 12:13:50

First thread of my own after 4 years and 2 DC and it's about chickens! grin

Sorry it's a long one........

So, we were planning on getting some ex batts and had it all thought out. DH is building me a walk in run and coop to sit inside. So far so good.

Except we have aquired 2 silky hen's yesterday ,wooden coop and run all in one jobby. The plan is still to build the new coop/ run and move them in with some other hen's when it is ready.

Now back to the silkies. They are approx 14- 18 months old at a guess by what I have been told. Never been treated for mites / worms as not an issue hmm
Rarely lay and just look a bit bedraggled.

On inspection, they are crawling with mites and the coop has red mite. Even putting food in has tiny grey mites crawling on me <itches>

I have been to the local agricultural store this morning and bought total mite kill spray for the coop and red mite powder for the chickens. I also got some apple cider vinegar and some layer pellets as they were fed some sort of mixed corn before. Diatomaceous earth on order.

I am going to do battle with the coop once the toddler is having his nap and give the chickens a good dust.

Any advice on tackling this quickly? Also anything else I can do to help the chickens gain some condition?

I have read a lot but have no real experience with chickens and would appreciate any tips.

Thank you for reading!

andantecantabile Tue 16-Aug-16 09:21:08

Oh dear, poor chickies sad have you done a poo inspection to check if you can see if they have any worms? It might a a good idea to give them a course of the Flubenvet feed for a week to make sure, I think you're meant to give them a course every six months regardless of whether they have worms or not.

You could also get them some poultry spice to mix in with their food to help perk them up a bit.

For the coop, a stiff bristled brush might help to really get into all the nooks and crannies where the red mite might be. Diatomaceous earth is a good bet, and maybe some poultry shield for general cleaning too.

For treats, ours love apple, and cabbage/broccoli leaves.

Hope your girls are on the mend soon - silkies are beautiful. Good luck smile

HuggleBear Tue 16-Aug-16 15:34:31

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

I haven't done a poo inspection as I was planning on worming anyway, I suspect they have never been done.

I gave the coop a good clean and spray yesterday with the total mite kill spray and dusted both girls last night with red mite powder. This morning when i let them out and put their food in, i came away mite free.......... i think!
I don't know if it is my imagination but they seem happier today. Maybe they are just settling in but they are strutting about and having a good old scratch at the grass muttering smile

I have diatomaceous earth and poultry shield on the way but will order some poultry spice too, thanks for that recommendation.
I will get a scrubbing brush to the coop at the weekend when I do it again.

They are such sweet things, I just want them to feel better!

andantecantabile Thu 18-Aug-16 19:19:51

Ah I'm really glad that there appear to be fewer mites now! How are they getting on? One of ours laid a really teeny egg today, it was only slightly bigger than a mini egg! grin

HuggleBear Sun 21-Aug-16 19:03:55

Oh wow, that is small! What type of chicken laid that?

Think I spoke too soon about the mite situation. sad Cleaned the coop out today (stiff brush was v handy- thanks for the tip) and blasted it with poultry shield made up into one of those garden sprayers which had millions of the little fuckers running for their lives. Left it a couple of hours to dry out and sprayed with total mite kill aerosol, once that had dried I chucked DE everywhere and rubbed in to perch ends, re bedded and chucked more DE in. Treated the chickens with frontline as covered in mites, especially the small one.

They're in worse condition than I first thought and are quite thin. They are eating the layers pellets but aren't keen so I went and got some layers mash also which they seem to like. The worming starts tomorrow so that may help too. I'm not convinced we will get both chickens through this but I'm willing to give them a go. They seem quite content mooching around during the day so I think it's only fair to try and fight this for them.

Really appreciate the advice, fingers crossed they will plough on through.

Shadowboy Sun 21-Aug-16 23:14:54

Always strip off after doing them before coming in the house- a friend had a more infestation in her home due to a similar situation. It's one of the reasons we go for a plastic coop- fewer nooks and crannies for the mites!

HuggleBear Mon 22-Aug-16 08:47:50

shock thanks for that shadow

I have been doing so just as a precaution, DH got a shock when I walked in yesterday with my clothes in my hands wearing nothing but a fucking shuddering grimace smile! Clothes go straight in the washer and I go straight in the shower.

Red mites in the actual house is the stuff off my nightmares <twitches>

Knitella Fri 26-Aug-16 22:28:04

Huggle how are your poor hens?

Those mites sound bloody awful!

HuggleBear Sat 03-Sep-16 08:04:50

Sorry knitella I've only just seen your reply.

Unfortunately I had to pts the girls a couple of days ago. They had started to spend their days scratching themselves and pulling out their feathers into big piles sad They were about as thin as I have ever seen a bird that is still alive too.

I'm so cross at the previous owners as those hen's have probably suffered for a while because they just didn't care enough.
So last night we pulled down the coop and disposed of it via a pick up that we can disinfect.

Work had already started on the new coop and run for the silkies so we will finish this and look for some hen's when it's ready.

I'm undecided yet whether to go for ex batt or pullets. I would like to take in some ex batts but worry about loosing them sooner than a pullet. I had to tell the kids that these guys were only with us for their holidays and have now gone back to their owners as they're still too little to have that conversation sad

Thank you for all of the advice on this thread, it really is appreciated. Hopefully I can come back and enjoy this topic with some healthier girls soon. flowers

andantecantabile Mon 05-Sep-16 13:00:50

Oh no Hugglebear, so sorry to hear that. I hope you can take some solace from the fact that you made their last days much more comfortable flowers

Knitella Mon 05-Sep-16 20:55:43

That's really sad. Awful the last owners not only let them get so bad but then passed them on. Poor ladies. At least you tried and didn't let them suffer too much flowers

I thought hard about whether to get ex battery hens but decided as I was only going to have a small number of hens it wasn't right for us. I wanted the right balance of pet and productivity. If I had a larger flock I would happily mix some retired ladies in.

I now have my 3 chickens and I'm delighted with them. I went for 3 very different looking chickens so the kids could easily tell them and their eggs apart. I got them at point of lay (so a pullet?) - a bluebell (she's massive and lays double yolkers), a very very friendly black rock (my fave and has started laying every day) and a bonkers browny orange hen with some black in her tail which I think is a New Hampshire (I forget what the man said as he was grabbing her confused).

Hope you have some happy chickens soon.

Ditsy4 Sun 13-Nov-16 07:15:06

What did you get in the end?
Sorry about the silkies but ditto that you made their last days enjoyable.
Didn't think about red mites in our house! Trying to remember if I stripped off and washed straight away. What about houses that let their chickens in? I live near farms and a friend used to let hers in the kitchen😨 will make sure mine don't though the minute the door opens they try.
I have ex bats. We had one die in the first fortnight but the others are enjoying life now. I was getting three eggs a day and occasionally four or five( 3hens) tailing off now but still one or two most days.

Pixel Sun 13-Nov-16 21:36:17

I was going to get different types of hens but in the end I just got three Goldlines, basically because they were the cheapest but also as hybrids they are very good layers. Anyway, if anyone does the same and wants the kids to know which is which, I just got them some coloured rings for their legs from the local farm shop. They are only 10p each and very easy to slip on. I even got to pick the colours I wanted out of the box.
So we've got red for Ed(ina), Pink for Patsy and lilac for Saffy (my logic being that saffron comes from crocus which are purple!).
Of course that doesn't help if you want to know who has stopped laying but you can't have everything wink.

CaptainMorgansMistress Tue 15-Nov-16 21:53:47

Ditsy4 - remember that red mites live on the coop not on the chickens. They only go on the chickens at night when they feed.
So although there might be a risk of getting mites on yourself if you have a heavy infestation and disturb them, your hens won't be bringing them into the house.

Having said that, there are other safety and hygiene concerns around chickens in the house (especially in the kitchen) to do with transfer of bacteria such as salmonella.

CaptainMorgansMistress Tue 15-Nov-16 21:57:28

Pixel - if one of your girls is laying and you want to tell which, check the distance between their pelvic bones - it's a lot wider in laying hens than non-layers.

If you have several laying birds and need to assess who is laying what (for a health issue for example), you can paint a little food colouring on their vent. Use a different colour for each hen and it should transfer to the egg.

Pixel Tue 15-Nov-16 23:23:14

Mmm, sounds like fun hmm. Think if I was that desperate to know I'd just do what I did when Ed was on antibiotics and I shut her in the shed. There are only three of them, it wouldn't take that long to narrow it down grin.

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