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Keeping hens and ducks chat.
edited 27 April 2021 at 11:46PM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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I am sure things will settle down in a few days time!! They are just trying to establish there pecking order. This always happens when new hens are introduced!! Sometimes it looks really awful when they are doing this!! But, there is almost not much you can do to stop it!!! They will certainly settle soon, ours did anyway!!!!
We have a bluebell hen. They can often end up being the boss and also the Black Rock can!!!
Hope that helps.
Ours are shut in a run at night, and are allowed to free range during the day usually. Depends on whether I'm around or not, as we have visits by Mr Fox in the past.
Great thread Edwink! Xx
my diary: time to step up to the plate. SPC#079
So glad you allow your hens to retire, We do the same. I think of it as a thank you for all the lovely eggs they have provided us with when they were laying!!!
Mine have got rather wet today but have still spent time dust bathing as they have a nice dry area in the garden to do this. I do love watching them especially when they wash their necks.
Weather looks horrible here for the whole week!! But, better next week for them I am pleased to say. Mind you my ducks love it!!!
Looking like I have two Roos
Guess sexing chicks isn't an exact science
They were introduced to the grand kids this weekend, took it in their stride, even when being chased for ages. So that's them happy around wee folk and dog.
How old do they be before they start dust bathing? Ours are coming three months and don't seem at all interested in scratching up soil. We made a dry area for them and heaped on sand and shavings but they just sit there pecking at the leaves above them
Also do I need to get their wings clipped. ? And if so how do I go about it? Vets?
I guess also I need to worm them this week. Had them three weeks now. Their run is pretty big plus we poop scoop it daily as well as clean their coop daily
And another question, does their poo indicate health problems? Like I know with the dog by his poo if he's under the weather if you know what i mean. Just there's so many poos, some are white, some are solid and firm , others it's like omg run, she's pebble dashing everything....
Any advice for a very novice keeper?
They should start dust bathing on their own. But, if not like some of the rescue girls we have had. I just sit with them and carefully put the odd handful of dry soil on their backs. They may get up and shake it off. But, try and continue to do this. Once they leave it on there backs you can add some more. Then they will soon get the idea. When one of them grasps it the rest will follow.
With regards to clipping their feathers. this is normally only done if you do not have a roof over them or they start to fly high too much. Most can reach quite a height if they try. Just keep an good eye on them and see who is doing what. It may not be necessary at all. But, if you do feel it is necessary have a look on a reputable hen site to see how it is done. You don't actually clip their wings although it is normally called that. It is their feathers that are cut. We have to do this to 3 of our girls even though we have high fences otherwise they would end up in next doors garden and they have 2 dogs. So I am not going to let that happen. It is easily done if your girls are fairly tame as this does help when you need to handle them to clip their feathers.
With regards to worming there are a few products out there to choose from. Some of the layers pellets that are sold have worming medication already mixed in!! We use Verm-X and have had no problems with it. With Verm-X you do not have to withdraw the eggs. There have been a few posts lately on this thread about worming. Maybe have a refresh on some of the posts about it!! I hope that is some help.
On the subject of hen poo. As a rule they should be firm and not watery. Every now and again they will do one with a white top on it. This is perfectly normal. If you can, try and see which hen is pebble dashing as it could be a sign that she is not well. Just have a good look at all of them. Are they all walking about normally? Are any of them sitting on their own for any amount of time. Their eyes should be bright and not weepy. There nostrils should not have any discharge. That sort of thing to look out for. Also have a look at their bottoms and their bottom feathers. Their bottoms should be clean with no poop stuck on their feathers. If one is doing watery poo's it should show around her bottom. Remember that 80% of their poo is done at night!! Just keep an eye on them and if you suspect that one is not well you may need to separate her from the others for a while. Make sure they are all eating properly. Are they taking treat feed from you yet? If they are this could be a way of seeing if any of them has lost some of their appetite.
Hope some of this is of help to you!! Maybe others will also be able to give you some advice. Always worth having a look on-line about any problems. There is such a wealth of info you can find on there.
I'd wait and see if you need to do it at all.
We've been free ranging hens in a fenced orchard for around 5 years now, and of the 25 hens we've had, not one has flown over the 6' perimeter fence.
The 6' fence between sections of the orchard is a different matter. Some have flown that.
This suggests that among our hens, there's a definite awareness of where it's safe, which surprised me.
my diary: time to step up to the plate. SPC#079
i found the chicken keeping for dummies book really helpful when i started out
Dust bathing seems to be instinctual so they will probably start doing it when they feel like it. I have a deep plastic box in which I put some dry compost, DE and oyster shell grit. Because hens are nosy they jump in to have a look, start scratching around and before you know it they are dust bathing. Like any self respecting girl it can be a lengthy business - they can easily spend an hour in the bath. When I freshen up the box there is always a queue to get in and try out the nice 'clean' bath. Sometimes two hens bathe together, although solo seems to be preferred. But then, on occasion, a girl just can't wait.
It's fascinating watching them dust bath. They lie on their side with legs and wings akimbo, and with one leg scratch up the compost over themselves. They wriggle around and the compost gets into the depths of their feathers. They also close their eyes and 'duck' their heads under the compost. On a warm day with the sun shining they seem to go into a trance of bliss, making this low trilling sound of absolute contentment. It is very relaxing to watch them enjoying themselves so much.
In the winter I put the plastic box under the coop and it keeps dry enough so they can bath all year round.
Sometimes they make their own communal dust bath in their run or in the garden. I posted a photo on the daydream thread - here you are