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Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about the health of your chickens, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.

I now have chickens, but I'm a bit worried about 1 of them.
19

LittleB · 27/01/2009 13:59

We got 4 chickens on Saturday; a Light Sussex(Daisy) a Black Rock (Guiness) a speckled maran (pumpkin) and a Lavendar arucana (Lavender). I'm a bit worried about lavendar, the arucana. She seems to be on her own a lot, last to shelter from the rain so she got quite bedraggled, last out of the coop, last to feed. They are all POL Pullets, although Daisy had already started laying and we've had 2 eggs from her, although I understand she might stop for a while. Lavendar was in a sepreate pen to the others, who were in with about 100 others, she was in with other arucanas. She also seems to have lost some feathers, there are a few of her feathers in the run and the coop, and her droppings under where she was perching last night look a bit softer and lighter brown than the others droppings. I've rung the breeder who suggested shes still settling in and getting used to a new pecking order - she may have been top bird before but certainly isn't now - thats Daisy!I've brought some apple cider vinigar and some garlic powder as I've heard these can help. Is there anything else I should look for or do? THey are on layers pellets, and we're mixing ours 50/50 with those from the breeder, I've also given them a little cut maize from the breeder, and they've had a few veg scraps which they aren't very interested in and a little mixed corn. Sorry for such a long post, we're worried about her, she's dd's chicken, although I guess it could all be down to the stress of the move.

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Ratface · 27/01/2009 14:48

yeah, she will be stressed and settling in

you can make porridge and mix in a bit of poultry spice to give her a boost and help her get her feathers back... put it into smaller containers and spread them out so that the higher pecking order ones are busy with one pot and the lowest will get a look-in on at least one.

apple vinegart in the waters supposed to be really good for them, ive been meaning to find out quantities for ages!

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Ratface · 27/01/2009 14:52

with food, id stivk to the pellets for now as its the most balanced diet... spread a little of the corn about to let the scratch about for it, but not much, you dont want food laying about uneaten or the rats'll move in.

with scraps, mine are spoilt little madams and they will eat rice, pasta, sweetcorn, fish, grated cheese... they go mad for all of that. BUT, like i say, at the beginning they need to get their balanced diet from the pellets, and she will be really confused having come from a different pen, so she will need time.

with the poo being a diff colour, i'd be tempted to do a round of flubenvet... just to be sure. that other stuff, verm-x, is rubbish. dont bother with it.

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Berrie · 27/01/2009 14:53

We got ours in the Spring last year. I sounded just like you. They took a while to settle in together but eventually they were fine. Mine didn't like veg scraps to start with, I don't think they knew what they were for.
We lost our blueish hen, it got ill and I took it to the vet who charged me £76 to investigate and then put it down. I got a lot of stick for that at the time on here and I wouldn't do it again. Something for you to think about in advance though.
I'm sure they'll have sorted everything out soon. try not to worry!

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LittleB · 27/01/2009 15:58

Thanks for the advice, it sounds like shes just settling in then. I will get some flubenvet, although I've been told that they have been wormed and their vaccination programme was very thorough, its worth a try.
Perhaps I'll try her on some porridge when she's more settled, how do you make that, is it just porridge oats in hot water cooled?
I'm glad to know that they might develop a taste for veg scraps then, we've got an allotment so have plenty of good organic scraps for them (and somewhere for all their composted droppings!)
The apple vinegar that I've brought says 5ml in 1ltr for poultry, so I'll give that a try tomorrow.
Useful to know that vets aren't often worth bothering with then.
i'll stick to here and poultry forums for the moment.
Just especially worried as she's dd's(3.8) bird, dd has a thing about blue eggs, we should've got 2 arucanas!
I'll let you know how she gets on.

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fryalot · 27/01/2009 16:02

re: vet - my chicken book says that vets tend not to know much about chickens and the best person to ask about a chook health issue is another chicken keeper.

Plus it's free

Sounds to me as well like she's just settling in, you've done well to get some eggs already! I have four girls and one cock and only two of the girls are laying at the moment, and they took about two months to get around to it!

re: scraps - we give ours anything and everything. They seem not to particularly like cabbage but go mental for pork or bacon scraps!

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fryalot · 27/01/2009 16:02

carrots not cabbage

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Ratface · 27/01/2009 18:50

totally understand.
i also only got my first hens in spring of last year.
ive had broodiness, sickness, 3 deaths... gawd, its been an education !
thanks for the measurements for the vinegar, i'll start them on that asap - its such good practice to do that all the time ive heard; keeps internal parasites in check, helps them digest nutrients, makes them less attractive to external parasites... and other things too. all round a good thing.

the Practical Poultry magazine has a list of breeders and chook friendly vets FYI. is worth having a copy or two about.

theres an ad in the back of there for a quartet of araucanas im sorely tempted to get... i want blue/green eggs too!

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ChasingSquirrels · 27/01/2009 18:54

other people's birds shelter from the rain?? My daft bints just stand there in it looking bedraggled and seriously fed up.

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fryalot · 27/01/2009 19:58

mine sit under the house looking out mournfully at the rain but snug undercover

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ChasingSquirrels · 27/01/2009 20:06

That's what I expected them to do - and that is where the food and water is, so they do go under there - they just don't STAY under there.

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Mooseheart · 27/01/2009 20:12

LOL Chasing.

Your chook may be moulting. Mine moult in the winter. They look dreadful and seem to act really strangely - either v aggressive or just plain dopey.

Mine also stop laying once a year - again in winter. They go all dopey and stupid again. When they start laying again they become a little more feisty (in a good way) and seem to develop more personality and dominance. You may find a new pecking order develops when they're all laying.

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Ratface · 28/01/2009 09:39

mine dont shelpter from the rain either, dozy things. and yes, they look v bedraggled and fed up when its wet!

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LittleB · 28/01/2009 11:08

Thanks for the reassurance, sort of, I can't believe you've lots 3 birds in a year ratface, are you very unlucky or do they just die that easily?
Mine shelter under their house and they've also got a seperate shelter where their food&water is so they go under there too, and under the nestboxes. I keep having to put them on their perches too, a couple of them keep roosting on top of their house and then I have to tuck them up, gives me a chance to practise handling them and feeling them, they all feel quite thin except Daisy, but I imagine thats because shes a bit older and is laying already. Lavendar is definitly bottom of the pecking order, I've seen all the other birds peck her now, but she doesn't have any sore spots fortunately, hopefully they'll settle down soon, interesting to know that pecking orders might change when they all start laying though.
They've now got cider vinegar in their water, and a sprinkle of garlic on their pellets, which hasn't put them off either.
Thanks for the tips.

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Ratface · 28/01/2009 12:23

deaths were my fault really.
i moved the existing girls from a cube into an adapted shed, this winter just before it got really cold. i had read that ventilation was paramount and so i left the windows propped open and their roosting bars were pretty close under it then... then i went and bought a whole lot more hens, 10 of them, from 2 different breeders and i didnt quarantine them i just bunged them all in together...they started getting sick and it took a while to work out what the reason was. apparently some vaccines make the birds carriers of things so that may have played a part, but ultimately, when i rearranged inside the shed and closed the windows, they got better
and the last one was got by a fox when she wandered off to far on her own.

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LittleB · 28/01/2009 12:45

That must have been really sad. Mine have got an air vent I've been leaving open, but only a couple of inches, and its pretty cosy when they are all inside, do you think thats ok or should I close it? It is milder now that it has been isn't it.
I'm just wondering whether to get another chicken from another breeder, so that Lavendar isn't left out as much. I live near to the breeder of Fenton Blues and he's got back to an e-mail I sent a while ago to say he's got some available. I think they are a lovely looking chicken and then we'd have 2 blue egg layers for dd, just in case. I wonder if its better to get another one now while they are all still settling and young rather than waiting until they are older, or should I just stick to the ones I have?
I do hope lavendar is ok, shes a lovely bird, for a supposedly flighty bird she's very friendly, comes up to us and will let me touch her gently. Easier to pick up than 2 of the others, except the black rock, who is even friendlier!
Just going to check on them now!

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Ratface · 28/01/2009 14:05

ooh, id get a fenton blue or two if i were you... but then, i started with 6, went up to 8, then 10, then 21, and back down to 18 again... i love em!
where is the fenton blues breeder?? id LOVE some of those...

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LittleB · 28/01/2009 21:14

He's between Taunton&Wellington in Somerset, about 30mins from my house. They invented the hybrid Fenton Blue as a commercial blue egg producer and have won lots of awards.
If I do get one its best to quarantine isn't it? I don't really want to have to get a new run&house, do you think it would be ok in the greenhouse? With a box to roost in, it'd have plenty of room and would be able to see the other birds who'd be about 3 feet away through the glass. Or I could just pop her in & keep my fingers crossed! 5 is definitely the max, don't think they'd have enough space if I had more, I want to be quite generous with the room they have.

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Ratface · 28/01/2009 23:01

agree re space - hardly want to have battery hens do we!
i dunno - if adding one or two, ive always just bunged em in and hoped for the best... then with the illnesses i guess i ought to have learned not to... but i really think it was the cold killing them, not anything else.

i dunno.

FB bredder sounds a couple of hours drive away but ive heard theyre good... so might be worth the drive.

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LittleB · 29/01/2009 11:58

I've got space in the house and run for 7-8 birds but thats a max really so I think 5 is a good max for me. The run size is based on a max of 7-8 based on free range of 1sq metre per bird, they will be let out to free range in the garden once they've settled in. The fenton website is www.fentonpoultry.co.uk, don't know how to link though! I think we'll be going this weekend to get another bird then, I'll let you know what they're like! just need to convince dh!

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