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is this normal behaviour?
Tue 20-Apr-10
8:00 pm
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helena

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I've finally had my girls - 4 pure breeds (2x Welsummer, 2xBarnevelder) and 4 hybrids and they are lovely! I can't believe I waited so long. However, one of my hybrids is acting a bit peculiarly.

I've noticed my Sussex Star "dips" occasionally when walking. It's not a squat as a hen would if a cockerel is present, more of a very quick up and down dip (I can only compare the movement to that of a Wagtail!). She doesn't actually touch the ground with her body. You have to concentrate on her to see her doing it, it's that quick. It's not constant, but it is happening enough times for both my husband and I to notice it. She's 20 weeks old and not yet laying but the other hybrids the same age are just coming into lay. She doesn't seem to be straining at all or in any discomfort, so I don't think that she's eggbound and the dipping just seems too quick for it to be an egg problem. She's otherwise really bright and inquisitive, her comb is a good colour and she's eating and drinking well.

Any ideas?

Thanks in anticipation.

Tue 20-Apr-10
10:32 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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 Hen owners - hurry please, Helena needs an answer!  Darn it I thought Danast was on line...

I'll try that again!

Tue 20-Apr-10
11:05 pm
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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Here I am , but I don't have an answer to the problem if indeed it is a problem. If she seems to be in good health and her comb is a good colour I wouldn't worry.  However someone else may know something more constructive than that.  Good luck with the hens, I am sure you will love them.  

I have one who keeps escaping from her wee field and we can't catch her to clip her wings.  She comes close if I am not trying to catch her, little devil,  that she is.  She is scraping all around the fruit trees and my little flower bed.  What a mess she is making.  ( but I still love her)

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Tue 20-Apr-10
11:34 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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I so wish I could have hens.  

Next weekend I will have charge of a very dim but pretty female kitten.  Wish me luck.

I hope that Helena's problem has been addressed.

I'll try that again!

Tue 20-Apr-10
11:38 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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I will ask Fiona to comment - if she does not know, she may ask some of her more experience chicken rearing friends.

Never knowingly underfed

Tue 20-Apr-10
11:45 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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Thanks Danny. Big_Hug

I'll try that again!

Wed 21-Apr-10
6:59 am
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fn
Newmarket
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Hi Helena

Great to hear that you've got your hens at last!

I must admit I've not heard of this problem before and I've asked my chicken rearing friends and they also have no idea.

If her comb is a good colour and she is eating and drinking well I personally wouldn't worry. However it might be an idea to contact the person that you bought her from, just to make sure.

Wed 21-Apr-10
8:01 am
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helena

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Hi everyone

Thanks for your quick responses - it's help put my mind to rest to a certain extent, since no-one has heard of it before. I contacted the breeder that I had her from and they couldn't come up with a suggestion as they hadn't heard of it before either. They did offer to take her back, but as she's bright and healthy I didn't see the need, plus i've become quite attached to her. I've let my girls out this morning and she's the first out of the coop.

It may be just a quirk that she has - either that or she does think she is a wagtail!

My hens have taken to digging under the few small fruit trees that we have on our land, almost undermining them. Since both my husband and I fell trees for a living, I'm thinking of employing them in our business! It'll take them a little longer to get the tree down, but it's greener than using a chainsaw!

Thanks again everyone

Wed 21-Apr-10
11:12 am
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raenbow
Portugal

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Sounds like a quirk to me, perhaps she is happy to be with oyu and doing a little dance??Laugh

With regard to the digging problem , I have the same problem as my girls are in the Orchard and dig round the roots of the apples, peach and olive trees, what they do here, is put a few short cuts of wood ( logs) round the base of the trees, this gives the roots a chance without being unearthed and is also a great place for grubs to hide, so also provides a tasty treat for the girls!

Enjoy them, I sympathise with your escappe problem Dananst. I finally broke this weekend after finding ALL my newly planted lettuces uprooted when I got home and cornered Houdini (our escapee) by tricking her into the shed with some food, and clipped her wings (it took 2 of us, 1 to hold, 1 to cut) I wish I had done it sooner (ie when they were smaller, though I read they do grow back ?? OMG does that mean I will have to do it AGAIN ):

Sat 8-May-10
8:06 am
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helena

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Morning all

Just thought I'd give you an update - she's stopped dipping! The only difference to her environment was the introduction of my lovely Welsummer cockerel called Cogburn. She's great and has not left his side since we introduced him two weeks ago. It must have just been a quirk.

Raenbow - sympathise with your wing clipping problems. It has to be done every year as the flight feathers will grow back. I've always asked the breeders to clip the wings for me as we are new to it and didn't want to mess things up. However, we thought we'd give it a go ourselves with the cockerel. What an adventure - I think at one point he had my husband in a headlock! We also clipped his spurs the same time, so he wasn't too pleased by the time we'd finished, but he's great now - even eating out of my hand.

So thanks again everyone for your quick responses - very much appreciated.

Sat 8-May-10
12:18 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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Helena, I'm pleased that the situation has been resolved for you.  Loved the mental image of your husband in a headlock with the cockerel.  Any chance of a picture of your feathered friends?

I'll try that again!

Sun 9-May-10
1:59 pm
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helena

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I'll try and get one of them when the weather is a bit better. It's tipped down the last few days, and yesterday and today although it's sunny, it's freezing. It's been a bit of a shock for Cogburn who has come from a barn/caged environment to free range, so lots of deep straw on top of their woodshavings in their coop and I've also put in a sun bathing platform full of wood ash which they seem to love. It's quite something to see them all laid out when you walk in.

I'd also like to say thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome.

Sun 9-May-10
2:54 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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That's great, thank you.  I'd love to see them sunbathing, sweet things.  Poor Cogburn, you'll have to give him a hot-water bottle.  Big_Laugh    

It is cold, isn't it?  That north wind is a nasty one, though the weather forecast just said that it should warm   up by the end of the week.  Fingers crossed.    

I'm pleased that you feel welcome here, we are a friendly bunch. Big_Hug

I'll try that again!

Sun 9-May-10
3:32 pm
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brightspark
Wilts

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Toffeeapple said:

I'm pleased that you feel welcome here, we are a friendly bunch. Big_Hug


.............. if a bit off the wall sometimes ............ Big_Laugh   Big_Laugh   Big_Laugh   Big_Hug

"Work for a cause, not for applause
Live life to express, not to impress
Don't strive to make your presence noticed
Just make your absence felt"
Sun 9-May-10
5:36 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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What do you mean - sometimes?RunAway

I'll try that again!

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