Firework fright 

As October drawers in November begins and people celebrate 5 November by lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks. As bright and colourful as they can be dangerous to your chickens. Last year one of our hens (Maisey) died after being spooked by fireworks. She was showing signs that she was spooked by not going to roost in the eglu and she wouldn’t move into the cute even when I had thrown some treats into the coop. There are couple of ways to try and prevent this from happening to you such closing your chickens in their coop as soon as it gets dark before all the firework shows kickoff. Another idea maybe to talk to any neighbours to see if they could use pet friendly fireworks. Most birds aren’t affected by them but if your hens i’m showing signs of being spooked by the fireworks keep an eye on them. 

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Five tips to keep your quail safe

I’ve heard many stories where peoples pet quail have been killed by rodents such as rats. So in this blog post I’ll be talking about keeping your Quail safe by building a secure run…

  1. Use a strong galvanised mesh around your run The holes should be no bigger than 4 cm² to prevent any rats squeezing through but small mice May still be able to access inside of the run although these may spread mites and lice they shouldn’t harm your adult quail (seehere on mites and lice). 
  2. Place Stones or paving slabs around the perimeter of the quails enclosure to try and keep any predators digging down into the coop you could even put mesh underneath the rockery and underneath the soil in the run. although our quail have just rocks around the inside and outside perimeter of their enclosure and we have not (Touch wood) had any rodent attacks on our birds.
  3. Raise up the Coop on legs as a bid to prevent rodents climbing up into the quails house but still, Again our Quailrun is on the ground and we have not had any attacks.
  4. Simple husbandry such as making sure there is no leftover food in the enclosure overnight or around the enclosure that may attract rats into the keep this also counts as making sure there is no smells that may attract the rodents so regular cleaning is obviously useful you should also check around the enclosure daily to check there is no breakages or attempted attacks such as scratches and bite marks on the wooden frame of your Coop or any holes around the perimeter.
  5. Traps or poultry safe poison to me should only be used as a last resort as I believe in prevention and humane ways of dealing with things. 

I hope this helps you to either modify or build a safer how’s your quail, If you have any tips on keeping yours quail safe then please feel free to comment on them below.

The lady who brought the quail chicks this summer has built them safe ark style house with a wire bottom.

The death- Layer

I never thought that the two bullets I was given were A rare breed but as they started to befriend and trust me I started wondering what they could be. The white one was likely a arucana or a silkie cross as it was much more inquisitive and laid-back like a silkie and had a crest like an arucana. Furthermore I research into what breed the more flighty and stripey Hen was. It turns out that she was a rare Death-Layer hen! I had never heard of this breed so I thought I would research more and then write A blog post on them.

This breed is known as the death – layer but the real name is Braekel It originates from the Netherlands Where there was to distinctive types of this breed: Larger version were round the marshes of Flanders and a smaller version in the less fertile area of Kempen. The two different types were crossed to create the version that is still around today. Although there is a type called the Campine this “Sub breed” Is a lighter version of the Braekel And has a slightly different weather pattern. The breed is a good layer and there is a old tale that the hens lay an egg every day until they die which gave them the death – layer nickname. 

The bird itself has a distinctive stripey black pattern on its feathers and they can either have a gold or white base colour The base colour is dominant around the head and neck. They also have bright white earlobes and Grey legs and feet. Their combs can be large and very red. The overall shape of the Bird is like that of a leghorn but kmore “relaxed” as they are less upright and large as the leghorn breed.

Off to the market.

Early this morning me and two of the pullets I raised this year travelled to the Melton Mowbray cattle market. We got there very early and were able to book a cage her two young hens. It was easier than we thought as we just had to fill out a quick FORm. Soon lots of other bird started arriving which included geese and ducks as well as turkeys and a few partridges among lots and lots of hens and roosters, There was even a couple of small chicks. Along with the birds came members of the public and breeders, Keepers and owners of poultry. Quite a few people came up to our hens cage. Thankfully they were very well-behaved and want flighty or aggressive like some of the birds at the auction. Not meaning to boast but I think that my two pullets were two of the healthiest looking birds there since there was a breeder who tried to sell loads of dirty, ill, Unhealthy hens (See here to find out what a healthy hen looks like). There was only one chicken chicken I had my eye on she was a healthy, show quality cream legbar pullet. But since I thought my hens would sell for only around 6 pounds without the fees taken off I was only going to bid up to 6 pounds on this chicken.  But sadly the price for her reached £12 once the auctioneer had reached my birds cage he started the bidding at £12 which was surprisingly as most cages were selling for only £4. Nobody placed a bid I was very anxious but I thought maybe they were waiting for a price to drop and it did once it reached £10 a lady bidded on it she was now the owner of the two hens I had bred and reared I was very happy.

Sum up Sunday 24/9/17

This week I’ve been updated on how birds + eggs we’ve sold are getting on…

The quail hAve grown loads. And from some hatching eggs we sold they now have a cockerel with a great personality who loves attention just like his  father pixie. Both customers are thinking of getting more quail from us soon! 

Sum up Sunday 3/9/17

This week we’ve welcomed 11 quail into the flock and they are growing rapidly and are keep jumpers! These will be for sale in about 6 weeks time so if you may be interested in some contact me at reedhorspool.theurbanhens@gmail.com were also painting and re erecting a play house for the silkie chickens and we’ve got plans to build a roof on the big chicken run so check back next week to see how we’re getting on.

 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 😊