Sum up Sunday 13/8/17 

I’ve not been able to do many weekly updates since my iPad has been playing up but I’m able to do so now and it just seems to be that this week has been jam packed! On Tuesday I visited Melton market and I bidded on some Italian quail eggs to hatch out in the incubator. While I was there some pens of bantams caught my eye. So bidding started and the pens of pekins and a pen of four white silkies were all being sold for £17 yet when it came to the four blue bearded silkies I liked they raised to £10, £20, £35,£47,£52! Not including the 10% fee we pay to the market. But none the less the beutiful birds are here to stay an each one of them has there one personality that starts to shine each day. At the moment the silkies are in the temporary housing that the three growers were in, we were going to buy them a large dog kennel and run but it was sold so we are still looking. The growers were moved into the small ark in the run with the larger birds they were inclosed into the arks run because Ronnie was being very aggressive towards them (as a cockerel he wants to be at the top of the pecking order so any new boys will have to back down to him). On Their first night in the run it started to rain so we moved them into the nest box and closed the partition the only problem was that Beyoncè was broody and wouldn’t move out of the nest box and I thought that she may attack them. But in the morning I let them out and the chicks just stood there staring at Ronnie and the chickens below. Beyond ruffled her feathers at the chicks as the brushed passed her and then all of a sudden one of the young cockerels grabbed her on her neck almost pushing her forward so she nearly fell out of the nest box. I rushed over as I did Beyoncè aggressively pecked him for what he had done. I don’t know why he did it either. Maybe he thought he would claim it as his territory so I shooed him and his siblings out. The rest of the day for them was spent in the corner of the run away from everybody. I feel bad for the pullet since she means no harm unlike her boisterous brothers.

 Since the arrival of the young males to the large coop the testosterone levels in the coop have risen and it’s no doubt there’s been some fighting. Pixie had some small scabs on his face but he looked rather well and if he had been in a fight I would suggest he won as he perched high on the broomstick. The only problem with all these young roosters is the unstoppable crowing through out the day hopefully my neighbours like screeching and bellowing that they do every five minutes. 

Last night I candled the quail eggs and I think all of them are fertile and growing so hopefully in a couple of weeks there will little newborn quail 🐥 .

Sum up Sunday 30/07/17

I think it was last week that I put an advert up in my local moles farmer store for the chicks I had for sale. And yesterday I had a phone call from a man asking about them. He asked what they look liked, what food they needed etc. He brought around a box and his family. I belive they hadn’t kept poultry before but were eager to start. They had a look at what we had for sale and we talked about what treats we can give them. How long they live for and they explained their set up . For a house they had a trailer about half the size of our run – Which is 9 meters squared ! And they will be able to free range too once they are settled in. The first hen was chosen by their daughter. It was the female frizzle since she wanted to breed frizzles the second hen chosen was the speckled arucana cross as she may lay a blue egg. Then we visited the younger birds and they liked the look of the two cockerels because of their blue/grey tails but they decided on the older brother (you may know as Betty) then the young brown hen was selected. There was a bit of a debate as the brown hen was smaller and didn’t know the older birds but since they will be in a new large environment she should mingle with them well.  Why not Comment, telling us what you’ve been doing this week 😊

Personal space.

T building a chicken run its hard to determine how much space you may need. But as a rule of thumb at least 1 square meter per bird is adequate although this is a far cry from “free range” farms Where the housing situation upto 9 hens per LkAsquare meter is exceptable. So really what is the perfect “consistency” of chickens through out your coop?

There is no one answer. It all differs. For instance flighty breeds need more space than smaller relaxed pekins and birds in a bland run will need more space than chickens who have lots of things to interactive with (interactive objects should always be provided: see post hentertainment ). I personally would ideally love to have acres of land for my little flock but that isn’t possible, this said I still try to retain at least 1 square meter for each hen. But recently my 9 square meter run is being inhabited by 5 large fowl older hens a pair of seramas and 6 growers this is only 3 birds over limit but still 3 too many any how they seem to be doing fine. I’ve given them lots of logs and branches to climb on and hung treats up to keep them occupied and already one of the cockerels fits in perfectly with the flock. I think you have to find out what is best for you when it comes to a run. More birds in a smaller run means more work cleaning it out and vice versa you’ll find a niche for you and your hens.

Scaly leg

Scaly leg mites are a insect that burrows into your chickens scales on their legs. The Mites form little tunnels in the scales of your birds legs and feet leaving the scales in an upright, sticking out position. To treat this problem you can… 

  1.  in warm water
  2. Dry the feet with a dry cloth to remove the damaged and dead scales.
  3. Then wipe olive oil or vegetable oil into the legs and leave for a muinets then wipe off.
  4. Finally coat the legs in vasaline.

It is best to repeat this process every week until the issue is resolved.

This is our serama princess with scaly leg mites. You can see in this photo that the scales aren’t smooth and also the dirt and dust that the mites deposit under the scales.

I hope  this helps you to treat scaly legs in poultry and if you have any questions email me at reedhorspool.theurbanhens@gmail.com 😊

Roosters

A rooster is seen as two things in the modern world: A alarm clock and an aggressive monster that preys on little kids at farm parks. This is not true. Roosters are calm and on alert for any danger. They can be vicious toward predators or opposing males. This means that if a cockerel is aggressive toward a human it is likely it feels threatened by them although this crazy rooster could think it is stronger and therefore is trying to dominate you as it would do to a weaker cockerel. Some young roosters are “aggressive” because they  are feuded with testosterone.

Either way an so called mean rooster can be very annoying or worrying when your doing chores with a cock hanging from you but seriously here’s how you can tame your randy rooster…

  1. Never retaliate to a aggressive rooster just stay calm ( I know it’s hard not to run away when there’s a big copper Marans rooster with massive Spurs chasing you!) 
  2. Firmly pick up your rooster with its head facing away from you and hold it.
  3. To establish dominance when your rooster mates with a hen pick him up and hold him again- this is performing what a domminant cockerel would do to a less dominant  male.

Repeat the steps above it may take a month or two and if still you do have a rare persistent mean cockerel then try to rehome him or if this isn’t a option slaughter him.

A young female and rooster. We find that if we pet and tame them while there young they will be peaceful roosters.

Sum up Sunday’s 9/7/17

I’ve not done much this week really. The Heat dosent help with making me want to get up and start doing things but as the phrase says “the show must go on” no mater What the temperature is outside in the sun. And I had a early morning today since I forgot to shut the eglu cubes door so I was awoken by pixie crowing- we usually don’t hear him but because of the heat the windows are all open- so at 4 am he was taken back into bed for a few hours. As I did I heard a loud screech, the 9 week old chicks have started crowing! And I think I have a 50/50 split this year of male to female chicks. That means I have 6 young male chicks that are all going to be screeching until I can rehome them, any one for a rooster? 😂 I’m also hoping to do a open day in the summer holidays so watch this space!

Sum-up Sundays 02/07/17

We started the week off in June then finished it with a warm week end in July. The hot sunny weather allowed me to sit outside in the garden (when I have spare time; which is rarely) with the young chicks holding them and letting them get used to me. This is crucial if I want nice friendly birds to sell (or keep 😉) as well as making sure I have nice roosters. I might actually write a blog on mean roosters and how to tame them, but don’t get me wrong not every rooster is mean just a select few. And I’m not going to lie but usually it’s down to the owners (although I’m not very dominant around a nasty roo. I usually run out of the coop or use the egg door to shield me 😂). I’m also writing a short story about a war so I managed to get abit of that done in the sun today. and I went on a evening walk where I saw a couple of ducks and to finish it off a macdonalds on the way home!

Sum-up Sundays 25/06/17

Recently I’ve been writing a lot of educational posts. When I first started theurbanhens it was really just to share experiences that we encounter with our chickens so I thought I’d bring back weekly updates in the form of sum-up Sundays where each Sunday I’ll summarise the weeks events and gossip from the coop. Wether it be a short catch up or a big essay I’ll be here each Sunday with the latest news from theurbanhens. As our first sum-up Sunday we have a rather sad thing to tell you. Today we lost one of our quail; this morning my mum found the quail Nick-named “funny eyes” (because of her eye deformity that didn’t get her down, she was one of our most craziest and likely  happiest quail) cowering in the corner of the run this afternoon she died peacefully- fly high little funny eyes you may of been tiny but you had a big  personality and will be very missed 🕊.

Funny eyes with one of the other quail greeting me,as she did every morning.
been a busy weekend aswell yesterday I moved the chicks into the run with the larger chickens, I also wrote a blog about it too https://theurbanhens.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/img_1212.jpg and so far theyve been alright but some times Autumn or Maia will give the chicks the odd peck so I created a safe area for them (I talk about this more in the blog) so they can go and relax without a bully harassing them. But this also has the beneficial factor that I can keep the birds feeds seperate. Since the chicks or should I say growers  have just been moved onto growers pellets mixed with the usual chick crumb (so they can get used to eating just the growers pellets) I can put their food in their safe area so the older chooks won’t be gobbling it down! I also found a worm in the omlet cube whilst cleaning it out, it’s the first time I’ve seen a worm in the chickens droppings. So now I’m going to mix 6 grams of flubevent domestic poultry wormer in 3kg of the adults feed and continue to do this for 7 days. Flubevent also has no egg withdraw meaning I can still eat the eggs. Once I cleaned out the coops I refreshed them with shavings and lavender; this herbs smell is relaxing for the hens and repels insects. I hope you enjoyed the first sum up Sunday if you did why not comment what you’ve been getting up to this week 🐓

Hatching eggs: broody or incubator?

It’s summer and hens are going broody and incubators are just calling to be used but which one is the best? Recently we’ve Been hatching lots of eggs . And it made myself think which ones better? So I’ve decided to channel my thoughts into a blog post… I’ll go over the dis advantages and advantages of both and then I’ll come to a conclusion.

Broody hen


 Advantages 

  1. No need to check humidity, egg turning and temperatures the broody hen will do it all herself.
  2. She’s Eco friendly too: no power needed just food, water and a shelter- she will even give you nice big smelly broody poos for the compost big too.
  3. It’s much more natural for the chicks they can learn to be a proper chicken.
  4. The mum will teach them to drink and eat.

 Disadvantages 

    1. You will need to move her into her own coop even when she’s incubating eggs.
    2. She may leave the eggs especially is she’s a first time mum.
    3. She may break eggs while incubating them.

    Incubator/brooder


     Advantages 

    1. Accurate hatching times as with a hen she gets off to eat drink etc. They might take a couple of days longer.
    2. You get to experience up close a chick hatching.
    3. You can candle the eggs easily (as with a hen she will peck your hand off!) to make sure you have no nasty eggs that may effect the growing embryos.

     Disadvantages 

    1. Once they’ve hatched you need to put them in brooder which needs regularly cleaning out and needs to be inside a Warm room.
    2. You need to regularly dip the chicks beaks in the drinker so they know where the food is, with a broody she will, teach them this herself.

     Conclusion 

    Both! We’ve found its better to incubate the eggs your self then brood them under a hen. You will get better hatch results with a good incubator especially if the hens a first time mum. As you might of picked up with the advantages and disadvantages that with the broody hen her advantages were mostly once the eggs have hatched and her disadvantages were when she was incubating the eggs the Opposite goes for a incubator. You’ll find that there’s nothing better than seeing a chick hatch and then for a affectionate mother hen raise it. 

    So how do you go about doing so firstly once your hen goes broody start to incubate the eggs (I’ve got a two part blog on incubating eggs ) then once they’ve all hatched wait for darkness outside then pop the chicks under the hen in her broody coop. (I also have a blog on caring for chicks) she should take to the chicks straight away when morning comes. Don’t disturb her to much. Leave her to it after all mumma hen knows best.

    The beautiful bond between a mother hen and her chick.


    Integrating new flock members.

    Betty (who we now know is a boy) looking happy in his new pen.
    Chicken math hits you again, you’ve got a flock who get on as happy as Larry and now all hell breaks loose because you’ve added new members. The thought of sharing the coop with the newbies leaves your hens distraught. They have no other choice but to attack so here’s 6 steps to help your chooks become best friends…

    1. If you have brought them from a market or have any worries that your hens might be carting diseases quarantine them until you are sure they are fine (search a healthy hen in the blog post to know what a healthy hen looks like). 
    2. It’s always best to add birds that are the same age or the same size as you’re existing flock for instance a 4 week oldchick and a two year old hen might not go down well. 
    3. If you have birds that may be younger or smaller than your original chickens givethem a space only they can access for instance a shelter with a door only they can fit through, here they can relax and you can givethem food and water in this area incase they are scared to come out for the first day.
    4. Create a distraction such as hanging veg, giving them some chicken toys. (To find out more search hentertainment  for a blog on entertaining/distracting chickens).
    5. Add extra drinkers and feeders to the run so if the original chickens guard the food and water The newbies have a supply too.
    6. Some people suggest keeping them separate for a week in a run inside your original chickens run so they get used to each other although I’ve never tried this.

    Don’t worry (he says as he checks them every five muinets) a peck and a kick is normal and will establish a pecking order. But if any of the flock are being really bullied spray them with anti pecking spray or use beak bits with the bully. These can be found in most country stores or on good old eBay. I hope this helps as it can be a very stressful time mixing birds. Thanks for reading 😊