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LAST CHICKS OF SUMMER......!!!
Sun 16-Oct-11
9:15 am
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Sooliz
Somerset

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Yes I am thank you Nadine, and you too?

We regularly have foxes in our garden, I've seen them several times (and their poo!) and hear them calling quite often.  There's also a weasel! eeek  I have thought about having chickens, but think I'm too much of a wimp really - perhaps it's just as well given the regular fox visitors.

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Sun 16-Oct-11
9:47 am
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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I hope that you manage to keep the foxes away Hattie.  Good to know that you and Sue are feeling better, keep it up!

I'll try that again!

Sun 16-Oct-11
11:01 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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Sue wave, I'm fine now thank goodness, even the cut on my right hand has healed....I cut it on a knife in the sink......Ooooouch...my own stupid fault!

As to being a wimp about keeping chickens, nobody could have been more wimpy than me.....I was terrified of them. My mother always told me they would peck me if I touched them & my father said all birds died in your hands, of fright.......!! It was an old friend who when I was nearly falling overboard into depression who pursuaded me to have a mixed pair of bantams. She promised to take them back if I couldn't cope with them......of course I became so interested in them. I was going crazy after two serious eye operations & had double vision as well, so I wandered around like a demented drunkard. I wasn't allowed to do anything that involved bending ,reading etc. I just watched my pair of chickens & later their offspring. 

It is easy to build or buy a good & safe coop & run. You just have to make sure they are safely locked away at night.

So glad you are better now.smile

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sun 16-Oct-11
11:49 am
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Sooliz
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Despite having lived on a farm when I was a little girl (but then that was quite a long time ago whistlebig_laugh), I know absolutely nothing about keeping chickens, Nadine.  Husband is extremely handy and would have no problem building a coop and run (in fact if I mentioned it to him now, he'd immediately be outside making a start eeek). 

For instance, do you have to have a cockerel?  I am an extremely light sleeper, husband works nights and comes home around 04.00 in the mornings, and would not appreciate being woken up by crowing (we can sometimes hear a neighbour's cockerel and that's bad enough, lol wink).  Do the hens have many health problems? (not sure I could cope with that).  As well as the foxes and the weasel, we have badgers and a snake, and there are numerous cats in the immediate vicinity, so I'd be constantly worried about the hens being attacked, so would presumably have to keep them in a run rather than letting them roam freely.  Which are the best ones to have (from an egg-laying and least problematical - if there is such a thing - point of view)?

Oh dear, sorry for all the questions and hijacking your thread, Nadine, you've really got my mind buzzing now ponder

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Sun 16-Oct-11
12:59 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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I was new to chicken keeping last year and now would not be without them.big_hug

I live in rural France in the middle of no where and have 4 cats. The wild life is prolific including foxes. My chooks are free range and once it gets to dusk they go into their houses and I secure them in well before dark. I am very strict about this. One of my girls had a nasty wound this year which I sprayed with wound wash and kept an eye on it. It took a few weeks but healed well. Sometimes they are off colour but I just give them extra food treats like yogurt, marmite on little bits of toast or greens shredded.chef

You do not need a cockeral to get eggs but obviously you will not get any babies. My big Boris keeps the girls in order and watches over them in the garden.

The only interest the cats have shown was when the chicks first ventured out and were fluttery. catI kept them in a protected run when I was out until they were bigger. Their mother pecked the kitten a few times when she was too closetongue

Trying to enjoy life as it is

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Sun 16-Oct-11
1:04 pm
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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wave Sue, I think chickens are really easy to keep. All the ones I have kept have been strong & healthy & very productive. I have had no birds who got sick other than one cock who died of heart-failure. I don't believe in molly-coddling them so they grow up strong & independant rather than as petting birds. This is because I prefer my birds to live a more natural life because it is more interesting to watch & be part of.

You don't need to keep a cock to get eggs; only for breeding. But you can still raise chicks under one of your un-mated hen if she goes broody.....you just get someone like me to give or sell you some fertilised eggs. I would gladly give you some. They are sent through the post. You just swop the unfertilised eggs under your broody hen for the fertilised ones  & about 21 days later you will have chicks.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/

***an American poultry site but with members from all over the world

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/coopdesigns.html 

***very good ideas for coops & runs of every type you can imagine

 

I think you should read the advice on this site plus a couple of UK sites . Just remember that most Americans use far too many medications & medicated feed on their animals.....I don't because I don't think it does them much good & I certainly don't want it in my system.

However their advice on coops etc is very good as they have seriously dangerous predators over there so as you have a lot of them too you might find their advice useful. I have to warn you that there is a lot of advice on how to kill your surplus chickens for the freezer....this is hard to find on British forums & I found it very useful. These sections are not for the squeamish but they always warn you so you don't have to look at it. If you breed your own birds you are likely to get 50% boys.

However my Dorking chaps are very tasty & they have had a great life up to that point.

It is a good idea to really read up about any animals you intend to keep before you embark on the whole thing. smile

Yes I think you would have to keep them mostly in a run but you could also let them out into the garden when you were out there with them. If you always feed them in the run they will go back in there more easily.  wave  They are easy to train as they like routine.....they will take themselves off to their roosts in the coop as the light fades each late afternoon.....that's really useful as you don't have to round them up.

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sun 16-Oct-11
1:10 pm
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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 waveNo worries about hi-jacking this thread.....!!  devil devil devil  I do it all the time.... monster

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sun 16-Oct-11
1:51 pm
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Sooliz
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Thanks both for all the info.  I always do plenty of research if about to embark on something new, and there's certainly plenty of reading on those links you've given Nadine, as well as all the stuff on here, as so many of you fellow forumites keep chickens. 

I'm not thinking of breeding (or even eating! eeek the hens, although we're not vegetarians), only having them for the eggs and the interest, so it's a relief to know we won't need to have a cockerel.  Although I think I did read somewhere that hens sometimes squabble and the cock keeps them in order?  At least one of the neighbourhood cats is a prolific hunter/killer, so I don't think I'd be happy about letting the hens roam if we're not outside with them.  And then there's the problem of getting a neighbour to look after them if we go away......

Anyway, all this is pie in the sky until we approach our landlady for her permission for us to keep chickens.  Although she did tell me earlier on in the year that she was thinking of doing it herself (she lives next door).  But then she says a lot of things, which don't often come about ponder

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Sun 16-Oct-11
2:38 pm
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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I just had to read this post Nadine. You must be so proud of your girl. Hopefully I will get back to keeping chicks next year. You know how envious I am.

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Tue 18-Oct-11
4:36 pm
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Hattie
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wave Sue,

I don't think you would have a problem with you neighbourhood hunting cat if you keep the hens in a coop & run. You just net the top. My own cat, "Button"is famous for her hunting abilities but she leaves my birds alone. In fact she guards them when they are out & about in the garden while keeping well away from their beaks, The hens stand no nonsense from domestic cats. Of course, like Aly, I would not trust them with fluttery tiny chicks as they are too tempting but a few months ago my previous hatch of young chicks escaped & Button came to fetch me, mewing at me to alert me to their danger. They had gone through a tiny hole into next-door's garden, mother hen was too large to get through the gap & was going crazy with worry. I spent about an hour chasing them around trying to collect them up.  monster  big_laugh

The new hatchlings are doing so well, all strong & healthy, even in this cold weather. I have never had such a late hatch so I am interested to see how well they do. They won't lay until about next Easter so if you want laying birds you are welcome to some of them in the Spring. smile

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

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