Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Worming Time

As the weather is getting better (what planet am I on?) and the ladies have finished moulting and are at their finest, I have decided it is time for a good old purge. I have spent a while mixing some Flubenvet into a 20 kilo bag of layers pellets. I would much rather buy it ready mixed but getting hold of feed with Flubenvet in is like find a mouth full of hens teeth. I have to travel over 30 miles which is silly. Very few people stock it, and I dont see why. You need to be suitably qualified to "dispense" it. If the wormer is already incorporated into a feed which presumably is done in a properly controlled fashion then this has to be safer than me mixing just 24 grams (just about 5 teaspoons) into a 20 kilo sack. As it is, I have to put it into a drum and with my finest washing machine action to churn it backwards and forwards in my efforts to make sure it is dispersed evenly into the feed. Flubenvet is my wormer of choice as a) it kills all known worms - dead and b) you dont have to do it very often. I do it about twice a year. I herbal worm my older chicks as I think that is kinder to their systems and they all get a top dressing of horsey garlic flakes about once a week. Garlic is a good vermifuge (wormer to you and me) and all round good tonic. You can tell they have been eating it when you go into the run cos they all get garlic breath. Lovely!!!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

RIP Lopsided Lulu

A really sad day. Lulu who has already escaped death earlier in the week was found in the pond today....drowned. As she could not fly she could not jump over with enough force to clear the obstacle. I found her floating and this time she was beyond recovery. Poor girl. I imagine she was chased there by a duck and was maybe cornered so she had no option but to risk the pond. Ever since she was hatched I have had a soft spot for her. Although she was not suitable to sell, she would have had a good life with my own laying flock I think. I am devastated. Poor poor Lulu. I can take comfort in the fact that it was good she was one of mine, she would have been culled by any other breeder I would think. Chickens and ponds definitely do not mix.

On a high note, I got 5 eggs today from my laying girls, the most since late October. They obviously know that spring is on the way. I am looking forward to the weather becoming less damp soon, all the rain is getting me down and I have plans for the garden this summer. I am going to hang sails from the pergola as sun shades so I have a nice big area to sit in so I don't get burned. The lobster look is not for me from now on. Once the Jasmine and Kiwi vine is really intertwined in the pergola I can sit out and smell its gorgeous perfume lingering in the air. Bliss.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Yay Lulu

Good News
Fearing that Lulu was overcome by her emergency episode last night I thought that I might come downstairs this morning to find her dead in the cat carrier. However, joy, I went shuffling in the kitchen in my slippers and dressing gown and peered expectantly into the carrier on the floor and she squeeked at me. Yay.

I have had the new shed built today so it has been rather messy in the garden. Lots of tools, chicken paraphernalia and garden fixtures not where they should be so a little chaotic. The 12 weekers spent most of the day hiding in their coop especially as the ducks had free range of the garden whilst we were coming and going. They obviously didn't want to feel the wrath of the ducks again and I don't blame them. They settled in the coop and scattered the nice clean bedding I had just done for them and they surveyed the chaos from a safe distance. We caught them having a crafty dig in the earth where we had been working to see if they could uproot a tasty worm and then when we came out again we found them back in the coop with 7 pairs of eyes peering out as if butter wouldn't melt.

Two of the 12 weekers are boys and they have been practicing their crowing. A very pathetic affair. A bit like an adolescent boy going through pubity where the voice just won't behave. They haven't got any power in the crow yet so no rush to rehome. They are a Black Legbar and a Speckled Ausbar both crested and very handsome they will be.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Ah Poor Lulu

Just had a bit of a shock. It was dark, and a bit drizzly. Keith had just gone outside to make sure the chickens and ducks had all gone to bed. He shouted to me to come down quickly, he added, a duck has attacked a chicken. I ran to get my coat and met him outside to find Lopsided Lulu lying in a puddle on her back with her legs stretched out looking rather dead. I picked her up and she squeeked at me (a good sign) but she was sopping wet and cold and looked very bad. I feared the worst. I took her inside and wrapped her like a burrito in an old towel hoping to dry her out and see if I could revive her. She was breathing heavily but didn't sound like she had taken a dunk in the pond, although she was wet enough to have been in there. She lay in my arms quietly and looked sleepy. I assumed she was in shock so I quietly spoke to her in chick squeeking (I know its mad) hoping she would speak back to me. She didn't. I know when parrots get ill the best thing is to warm them up. Something to do with the heat allows their bodies to overcome what ails them. Once Lulu was warmer I treated her to some corn which she gobbled greedily. Another good sign. I then gave her the ultimate in chicken beauty treatment. A blow dry with the hairdryer. She wasn't too chuffed until she realised it was nice and warm and she allowed me to ruffle her feathers to dry her off completely. She then decided to have a wander round the kitchen squeeking as she went and we had a right old chat. She is now in the cat carrier for the night and hopefully she will join her coop-mates in the morning.

Lulu is so named because she took ages to come out the shell on hatch day and she has a droopy wing. When chicks are slow, they tend to get welded into a curled up position and things like feet or wings or even legs can be so deformed that they die. Lulu could stand and her feet were ok, but she looked like a little hunchback with her droopy side. Lopsided Lulu she became and as such I am very fond of her. She is only 12 weeks old but I wouldn't want to part with her, certainly not yet.

The ducks are not fond of the chickens when they are in duck territory but they don't normally attack. Lulu might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and maybe they did have a go at her. She is timid and at the bottom of the pecking order in her own group of 12 week olds.  I am just wondering if she will survive into adulthood and whether the other adult hens will allow her to live and let live. I do hope so.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Do I ever learn?

Just had new windows and doors fitted, which means the house is in chaos. Not content with that upset, I have then given the builders what amounts to a shopping list of jobs around the house. Keith thinks I am nuts and am sure he is worried about when I am going to say stop, and that I am finally satisfied that the house is just perfect the way it is. But the house is not perfect yet. At least not until I replace my metal ramshackle shed with a nice new wooden one. I now need the builders to shoehorn into a space which will only just accommodate it. We would normally do that sort of stuff but I know that if Keith and I try to build it, we will end up killing each other and providing the neighbours with more entertainment than they can cope with. So I feel it is safer (more healthy for our marriage) if the builders do it. To put the shed where I want it, I need the paving to be every so slightly adjusted so the base will fit. This is part of the paving that was done only last year!!  Then I need to fit shelves in it and cram all the stuff back in. The object of the exercise is to fit in a coop which has been standing on said paving and is in the way. I will now have room for it in its own space and it will give the chickens that live in that coop a patch of earth to dig in. I know they will thank me at least. When that is done, it will only leave the decoration of my new office and floorlaying, redecorate the living room and lay new flooring, and I think I will call STOP right there then. Possibly. Keith is rolling his eyeballs again. Poor man.