Lagging behind again

Lagging behind again

This is a super quick post, an attempt to get up to date!

The Tylan did the trick and cleared up the illness in Polo, Poppy and Snowy.  We currently have the two separate flocks in their respective runs.  The small guys still have the Eglu Go coop, which I now dislike after the red mite drama.  It has way too many hiding places and I can confirm red mites DO reside in plastic coops.  The Nettex Total Mite Kill spray that contains Permethrin did the job and killed them off so I now put a light coat of that on as a precautionaty measure, it stinks though so you have to do it early morning so the smell goes before bed time.

After I’d moved the small guys out of the cages in the temporary hospital as per my last post, I didn’t get round to clearing the cages for about a week.  I found quite a few red mite on the cage that Polo was in, so the shed got a blasting with the Permethrin spray and I hope there aren’t any lurking in there.  The plan with that shed is to use it for storing gardening tools and garden furniture, so I definitely don’t want them horrible little things in there.

I’ve been putting all the birds together as much as I can in an attempt to work towards merging them if possible.  It’s not been so bad.

All together with minimum fuss

The little guys all get along well now despite a stage where Snowy seemed to be picking on Polo.  When they’re all together, the three big guys leave Polo alone unless she gets too close to “their” food, but they quite often show the Silkies who’s boss.  It’s not too bad now though so we might be getting there.  I’d love to have them all together.

Two groups

Polo is still insisting on sleeping outside.  She was settling on top of the Eglu coop, she’s an impressive flyer!  The last few days she’s settled on top of the water barrel.  I have to go and put her in the coop every night, I think it’s tool cold for her to be out now.

Belle has been moulting and looks quite sorry for herself.  She’s also very skittish and runs away if I go near her.  She does have new feathers coming through and it looks like they might be a lighter colour.

Looking tatty

I was working near Nottingham a few weeks ago and popped to a gearbox specialist with my van which needs some work doing.  It was in the middle of nowhere and I came across loads of chickens roaming around on the road!  As I approached they all ran the opposite way to what I was travelling, except one that ended up in front.  She then jumped up and flew over the hedge which was quite impressive!

Birds on the road

A few weeks ago we harvested everything from our vegetable patch.  We had carrots and runner beans which we’ve frozen and cook as required.  They are amazing and we’ll definitely be keeping the vegetable plot going!

Runner beans!

So, everything is ticking over here.  There is still quite a lot more work to do in the garden but I think we’ve settled on leaving the rest until after winter now.  I am quite happy with what we got done this year though.

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And… breath

And… breath

This is just a quick update – I’m conscious the blog has fell behind yet again.

We have had a nightmare.

First we found the red mites in the Eglu coop where Snowy, Poppy and Polo live.  Presuming they came with Poppy and Polo.  We got them under control with the help of Permethrin products.

A couple of days after my last post, so about two weeks ago now, I noticed that Polo was very lethargic, had gunky eyes and nostrils, oh no, our first poorly chicken.  So I separated her into a crate in the shed.

A couple of days on and Poppy had the same symptoms, so I separated her into another crate, also in the shed.

A couple of days later I decided to take them to the vets, he didn’t really know what it was and prescribed some (very expensive) Tylan soluble, which was what I wanted, it seems to be the wonder drug for chickens.

Then another couple of days later, Snowy who was alone in her run, also came down with the same symptoms.

So the three of them have been having Tylan in the beak via a syringe and also in their drinking water for a week each, Snowy has just finished hers and they all do seem better.

Tonight I have just put Poppy and Polo back in with Snowy for the first time in about two weeks.

The three big ones have been fine throughout, no symptoms at all and everything normal.

It was quite stressful in the beginning, having three separate poorly chickens to look after.

Hopefully it is behind us now.

The “hospital”


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Those pesky red things

Those pesky red things

The new guys

The first week with the new guys has been eventful. Thinking back now I can’t believe they’re in with Snowy without much disruption.

We tried merging them all together, interestingly the three big ones weren’t bothered with Polo apart from a couple of light pecks. They were however very interested in showing Poppy that they’re in charge. They left Snowy alone too.

It didn’t go to bad, Poppy was hiding out of shot

New steps and perches

I decided to change the steps that lead to the big coop. The big ones fly up and down but Belle seems to struggle getting down. I don’t think she’s keen on jumping down.

While I was working, Polo jumped up onto the water bucket in the adjacent little run and seemed interested in what I was upto.

She’s very nosey
Wants to be high up

We’d trimmed her feathers a bit more and now that she can see, she’s getting up to loads of mischief! If I put my hands out she will jump on and walk up my arm then sit on my shoulder!

The new steps and perch
New perch in the little run

Bedtime routine

Polo hasn’t gone into the coop of her own choice yet. Poppy has it sussed.

Back on top of the water bucket to sleep

Every night Polo settles on the water bucket or on top of the Eglu and we have to transfer her to the coop.

Those pesky red things turned up

I was routinely cleaning the Eglu coop so opened the rear door and removed the piece of wood that Snowy sits on with the intention of sliding the trays out and emptying them into the compost. As I picked the short piece of 2×4 up and saw underneath I sighed as the clusters of red mite came into view.

I straight away took the piece of wood out of the run and plonked it down on a patio slab.

I was prepared for this, there has been so many reports of bad mite infestations this summer, maybe due to the warm weather. But I mistakenly had a false sense of security with the plastic Eglu coop and other than cleaning it I’d left it unprotected.

The main coop does not have a mite in sight, but I’ve ensured to keep the perches covered with Permethrin powder, which has possibly helped.

I covered the wood with powder to kill off the mites and I’ll dispose of it later. The coop was then given a dosing of powder too.

I have some Nettex Total Mite Kill spray in stock that I’d bought with the intention of spraying the inside of the big coop as it’s wood and I wanted to proactively prevent mites. This spray is another Permethrin product but the benefit compared to powder is that it gets into all the gaps and crevices and then has a residual effect.

It was a bit late to spray the coops as the chickens were getting ready for bed, so I hoped the powder would help. Later that evening I went to check with the torch and I could see a fair amount of mites walking around the sides and ceiling of the Eglu. Poor chickens.

I wondered if Poppy or Polo had brought the mites in.

The following morning I checked again and there were a few dead mites, so I knew the powder worked. More importantly I soaked the coop in the spray and left it closed so the chickens couldn’t get in. I also sprayed the inside walls of the big coop. Then powdered the chickens.

I was away that evening but Sam reported back that there were no mites to be seen anywhere when it had gone dark.

I’ve also checked myself tonight and there are loads of dead mites and no live ones anywhere.

Tomorrow I’ll jet wash the coop and moving forward I’ll definitely use the spray as a preventative anywhere we have chickens sleeping. I really rate Permethrin for mites now.

She loves exploring

Polo loves exploring, we’d put the big chickens in the outside run and let the small ones in the big run. Polo had disappeared and I found her checking out the nest boxes.

Close up of Poppy

Ground works

I’ve finally finished the block work and can continue the wood work to build the new storage shed where poultry food and consumables will be stored!

The last blocks are fixed in place
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Second day

Second day

The second day with the new pair

Upon looking out of the window this morning we couldn’t see either Poppy or Polo in the small run yet Snowy was out.

The kids were first down there after scrambling to get their wellies on, but still in their pyjamas.

Turns out the new pair were still inside the coop, I’m not really sure why, it’s all new to them though that’s for sure. Once out everything was fine.

An interesting event occurred in that I watched Poppy the Silkie peck Snowy more than once, not aggressively, but definitely to claim her position in the pecking order. Unsurprisingly Snowy submitted and accepted the lower position. I have now seen both Snowy and Poppy do the same to Polo the Polish.

So that seems to be sorted. Poppy, Snowy and then Polo.

I do wonder what would happen if Poppy was introduced to the three big ones, she’s clearly not as timid as Snowy.

This evening we got home when it was dark. So I went to see if they’d found the coop. Nope.

Polo perched on the feeder!
Poppy settled in the corner

I moved them into the coop and wonder if they’ll emerge of their own accord in the morning.

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The decision

The decision

We made the decision

Snowy needed a friend. So on my way home from work this afternoon I took a detour to Pear Tree Poultry near Preston to see what they had. My commute from today’s office is at least two hours and it meant a detour of 20 minutes in the wrong direction. We’ve been to Pear Tree in the past but not bought anything.

I had a look round and saw a Silkie I liked the look of so went to ask a member of staff but it turned out the Silkies I saw were on holiday. Pear Tree offers a boarding service for hens. Further to that, they had no Silkies left!

The backup plan was a Polish hen, but I wasn’t sure about the size, they’re tiny bantams.

The very helpful girl came with me to point out what was what, and to her surprise there was one single Silkie hen that appeared from one of the sheds!

After some thought I decided to buy the Silkie and a black Polish that has a white head.

In the car for the long drive home

These two were from different flocks in different pens but there was no squabbling on the way home.

When I pulled up on our drive, they were just sat resting

I decided to just put them in with Snowy. I’d normally separate any new comers but I checked them over and trust the breeder.

There were no issues at all. Snowy started running around a bit but soon calmed. The new comers didn’t really know what to do.

The kids named them:

Welcome “Poppy”
And welcome little “Polo”

As you can see in the pic, Polo has that many head feathers her eyes are covered. She couldn’t see! I proved this by waving my hands around in front of her and she didn’t flinch!

So we got the scissors out! She was really calm and let us trim them. She’s actually a very tame chicken, which is perfect.

Immediate improvement and she started to explore the area.

We put some corn down and Snowy was wolfing it down, the other two obviously hadn’t experienced it before and weren’t!

With a bit of persuasion, Poppy tried the corn and then seemed to be enjoying it. Eventually Polo did too but Snowy gave her a light peck to show who’s boss. There wasn’t any conflict between Snowy and Poppy.

Snowy and Poppy, quite comfortable together
Polo on my foot!

We watched from the window as bedtime came, the three big ones went into the main coop and then Snowy jumped up and went into the Eglu.

It was gradually getting darker and Poppy and Polo were just mooching about in the run with no sign of looking for somewhere to perch. So I went out to put them in the Eglu.

I put Polo in first, as I lowered her down she started flapping and Spooked Snowy who walked out of the front. There’s a piece of wood inside the Eglu that Snowy perches on, it’s the same wood as the perches she’s used to, I put Polo on the perch but I’ll have to review this as she has smaller feet.

Next I lifted Poppy up onto the platform infront of the Eglu where Snowy was loitering. They just stood there together looking into the run. It’s great as they seem comfortable together, hope it stays like this.

Shall we go in?

Eventually Snowy went back in and got back on the perch.

Polo and snowy were in, but Poppy stayed near the door

I put Poppy through the door and then went back in the house to get the kids to bed.

When I checked, she was snuggled up with Snowy!

I decided to put her on the perch with the other two, easier said than done! But I managed it! Ace.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings

I could have got away with just getting the Silkie, but I’ve always liked the Polish hens and couldn’t resist. When I got home I realised how tiny she really is! Snowy is small compared to the three big ones, Poppy is smaller than Snowy and Polo is smaller than Poppy. She’s like a parrot! She is only 14 weeks old and will grow a bit more, hopefully substantially!

At one point Polo flapped and ran up the side of the run by gripping onto the weld mesh, I’m not sure if she could fly but she can grip onto things!

I’m excited and intrigued for the morning now!

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